After bending forward, refrain from pulling back the handle using your back; instead, push your legs against the pedals to avoid back strain (and get a killer leg workout). As for arms, keep both of your elbows tucked at your sides, pulling until they pass your torso and the rower handle is around an inch away from the bottom of your ribs (or sports bra). Got all of that? Now, perform smoothly in the order of legs, hips, arms, arms, hips, legs. Repeat!
One of the underrated advantages of treadmills and bikes is that they attempt to replicate something with which most people are already familiar—walking, running, or biking. The barriers to entry are low, and the task of planning and completing a workout is a little more intuitive, since most people know what those activities feel like. Those heuristics are out the door with a rowing machine, though. Do you just... pull? How far? How hard? And why does it insist on measuring distance in meters? We asked Caley Crawford, the Director of Education at Row House, for tips on getting started so that, hopefully, your experience doesn't end with you throwing your hands up in frustration and crawling back to the elliptical room.
In 1981, Peter and Richard Dreissigacker, and Jonathan Williams, filed for U.S. patent protection, as joint inventors of a "Stationary Rowing Unit". The patent was granted in 1983 (US4396188A). The first commercial embodiment of the Concept2 "rowing ergometer" (as it came to be known) was the Model A, a fixed-frame sliding-seat design using a bicycle wheel with fins attached for air resistance. The Model B, introduced in 1986, introduced a solid cast flywheel (now enclosed by a cage) and the first digital performance monitor, which proved revolutionary. This machine's capability of accurate calibration combined with easy transportability spawned the sport of competitive indoor rowing, and revolutionised training and selection procedures for watercraft rowing. Later models were the C (1993) and D (2003). 
Another negative point for me is the angle of the seat. Unlike the Concept2, it has a slight backward angle, which makes it easier to maintain good form at the end of the stroke. Given that the Waterrower has greater resistance at the catch, it puts more pressure on the lower back at this point making it uncomfortable for people like myself with lumbar spine problems.
The WaterRower Club is handcrafted in solid ash and stained for color. The wood was chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, especially its ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the WaterRower's quiet performance and smooth operation. Ash, like all woods used in the construction of the WaterRower, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. In addition, the wood is harvested from replenishable forests and is hand finished with Danish oil and urethane for protection.
The WaterRower Xeno Müller Signature Edition rowing machine is handcrafted in solid ash and finished with honey oak stain for color. The WaterRower Xeno Müller Signature Edition has been specifically designed in collaboration with US Olympian and single scull record holder Xeno Müller. This special edition rower features a wider 17" handle and lower footrests for an increased range. Another special feature is Xeno\'s signature included on the rails of either side of the rower thus inspiring you to row like an Olympian!
In the 1950s and 1960s, coaches in many countries began using specially made rowing machines for training and improved power measurement. One original design incorporated a large, heavy, solid iron flywheel with a mechanical friction brake, developed by John Harrison of Leichhardt Rowing Club in Sydney, later to become a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of New South Wales. Harrison, a dual Australian champion beach sprinter who went on to row in the coxless four at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, had been introduced to rowing after a chance meeting with one of the fathers of modern athletic physiological training and testing, and the coach of the Leichhardt Guinea Pigs, Professor Frank Cotton. Professor Cotton had produced a rudimentary friction-based machine for evaluating potential rowers by exhausting them, without any pretence of accurately measuring power output. Harrison realised the importance of using a small braking area with a non-absorbent braking material, combined with a large flywheel. The advantage of this design (produced by Ted Curtain Engineering, Curtain being a fellow Guinea Pig) was the virtual elimination of factors able to interfere with accurate results—for instance ambient humidity or temperature. The Harrison-Cotton machine represents the very first piece of equipment able to accurately quantify human power output; power calculation within an accuracy range as achieved by his machine of less than 1% remains an impressive result today. The friction brake was adjusted according to a rower's weight to give an accurate appraisal of boat-moving ability (drag on a boat is proportional to weight). Inferior copies of Harrison's machine were produced in several countries utilising a smaller flywheel and leather straps—unfortunately the leather straps were sensitive to humidity, and the relatively large braking area made results far less accurate than Harrison's machine. The weight correction factor tended to make them unpopular among rowers of the time. Harrison, arguably the father of modern athletic power evaluation, died in February 2012.
The amount of water in the tank simulates the weight of the boat and crew, the more water in the tank the heavier the boat and crew. The standard Calibration Level is Level 17. If the user is lighter in weight, Level 15-16 can be used. If the user is heavier in weight, level 18-19 can be used. The maximum level to fill the tank is Level 19. DO NOT fill above the maximum level – this could void the warranty.
The WaterRower Classic is outfitted with a Series 4 performance monitor that's designed to balance technical sophistication with user-friendliness. The monitor--which includes six information and programming windows, six QuickSelection buttons, and three navigation buttons--displays your workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, zone bar, duration, and distance. Plus, the monitor is compatible with an optional heart rate chest strap and receiver, which helps you optimize your workout and achieve your exercise objectives.
Piston resistance comes from hydraulic cylinders that are attached to the handles of the rowing machine. The length of the rower handles on this class of rower is typically adjustable, however, during the row the handle length is fixed which in turn fixes the trajectory that the hands must take on the stroke and return, thus making the stroke less accurate than is possible on the other types of resistance models where it is possible to emulate the difference in hand height on the stroke and return. Furthermore, many models in this class have a fixed seat position that eliminates the leg drive which is the foundation of competitive on water rowing technique. Because of the compact size of the pistons and mechanical simplicity of design, these models are typically not as large or as expensive as the others types.
There is much to love about the WaterRower--and I do love it--but I would echo others' comments that although the seat rolls solidly and smoothly on the wood rails, the seat itself is very hard (I use a gel seat pad I bought for my hard fiberglass kayak seat), and the footpads are in need up rethinking and upgrading--the cheap plastic doesn't let you row in socks or barefoot and is not really worthy of a machine that is otherwise a stunning piece of engineering and a beautiful one as well. As one other person noted about his machine, my machine made a clicking noise on the return stroke, so I had to adjust the wheel underneath the top rail that connects to the footpad and pull it away gently from where it was rubbing against another component. Also, be warned: the instruction booklet is in the DVD case. I did not see the little sticker on the case telling me that, thinking I'd wait to watch the DVD until after I'd assembled it. But WaterRower has a copy of the assembly instructions on their website, along with a video (I found the written ones better and easier to follow), so I was able to assemble it with no difficulty.
The weight adjustment calculator can be a helpful tool because it provides a way to compare indoor rowing performances between people of different weights. It shifts focus away from absolute power toward power to body weight ratio. If you have a large friend who always beats you indoor rowing, challenge them to a weight-adjusted race! Continue Reading ›