Unlike high impact exercises, which can damage knees and the connective tissues of the lower body, rowing's most common injury site is the lower back. Proper technique is a necessity for staying injury free, with a focus on both mechanics and breathing, as correct rhythm, exhaling on the drive and inhaling on the recovery, is a stabilizing force for the upper body. Non-rowers commonly overemphasize the muscles of the upper body, while correct technique uses the large muscle of the thighs to drive much of the stroke. Also, good technique requires that the angle of the upper body is never too far forward, nor too far back, both of which jeopardize the lower back and compression injuries on the knees and hip flexor muscles. Proper technique however, can only be achieved if the design of the exercise equipment enables proper technique. The ubiquitous rigid, single-piece handle does not follow the natural movement of a user's hands, wrists, and forearms as the stroke progresses. It does not ensure or enable the bio-mechanically correct alignment of the hands, wrists, and forearms with the direction of the applied force. Typically, the user finishes the stroke with the wrists in an angulated position. It is incorrect to criticize this as "bad technique", when the equipment itself is the cause. Through no fault of their own, regular users of indoor rowers equipped with the standard single-piece handle, are prone to repetitive strain injury and chronic wrist pain (see more on this in "Rowing Technique" section, below).

The WaterRower Classic is handcrafted in solid American black walnut, which may vary in color from rich brown to purple/black. The black walnut 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. Black walnut, 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 three coats of Danish oil to give it a deep luster and warmth.


Row for 1 minute applying as much power and force as you can, then take 1 minute of very light strokes for rest. That’s one rep. Complete 5 reps and then take a short break, no more than a few minutes, before moving on to the next set. Similarly, the goal is to hold the lowest split possible in the hard pieces. The prescribed stroke rates are 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 for the first set; 20, 22, 24, 26, and 28 for the second; and 22, 24, 26, 28, and 30 for the third. 
These three machines are the top of the lot for a home gym, with one editor’s note: keep an eye out for the Hydrow, a rowing machine currently on Indiegogo that was funded in just four minutes. I tested one and can attest to the smooth ride and easy to store platform. The pricing on Indiegogo is unparalleled, but you won’t get delivery of the machine until May 2019.

This isn't like running, where the treadmill spins at a certain speed and you have to match it. The rowing machine gives back only what you put in, so if the workout seems easy, you're not working hard enough yet. One helpful point to remember is that each stroke should be about 60 percent legs, 30 percent back, and only 10 percent arms, and that the ideal ratio of time for drive (the pull) versus recovery (the release) is 1:2. Think about using your legs to push in an explosive manner with each stroke, almost like you're doing a squat or a deadlift.
Press through your heels and use your legs to forcefully start a stroke. Once your legs are fully extended and your torso is perpendicular to the ground, explosively pull the handle toward your sternum. Focus on keeping the handle’s chain straight. Then hinge at your hips to lean your torso back to the ten- o’clock position. The handle should be just below your ribs.

Choosing an exercise program can be overwhelming, especially if you're a newbie. Getting in shape doesn't mean you have to scale mountains or hit the pavement for a strenuous run. Using a rowing machine is a great way to improve your overall health, plus it's low impact and easy for all ages and fitness levels. A rowing machine is essentially a piece of exercise equipment that mimics the motion of rowing a boat in water, making it a full body workout!
No matter the resistance we set or the power we applied, the machine remains sturdy, centered, and even. We amped up the intensity for 2000m sprints and found that the C2 supports consistent effort in a way water resistance can’t. The machine assists in keeping your intensity uniform, because it stores up remaining energy in the spinning flywheel. Comments about the ride feel of both Concept 2s were noticeably brief. As one tester put it, “It’s unremarkable because it’s good,” and leaves you free to focus on the effort you’re putting into your workout.
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Most competitions are organized into categories based on sex, age, and weight class. While the fastest times are generally achieved by rowers between 20 and 40 years old, teenagers and rowers over 90 are common at competitions. There is a nexus between performance on-water and performance on the ergometer, with open events at the World Championships often being dominated by elite on-water rowers. Former men's Olympic single scull champions Pertti Karppinen and Rob Waddell and five-time Gold Medalist Sir Steven Redgrave have all won world championships or set world records in indoor rowing.
There is some minor maintenance. Because it's made out of wood, which can expand and contract, the bolts need tightening every few months or so. It's easy and takes only a couple of minutes. That, and putting in a fresh water purification tablet every six to twelve months, are about it for regular maintenance. The only problem I've had with the rower (the reason for 4 stars instead of 5) was a squeak that developed after about 6 weeks. It took me some time to determine the source of the squeak, which was a metal bracket connecting the footrest board to the horizontal boards above the drum. I had to partially disassemble the top section and tighten four bolts, but that fixed the problem and it's been quiet ever since.

The Concept2 Model D is the ultra-popular air rower that you’ll see at most gyms. It is one of the best home indoor rowers you can buy period. Expertly constructed and ergonomically unequaled, this rowing machine looks great and rows smoothly without so much as a jarring catch. As an air rower, the Concept2 employs air baffles to create the resistance. A nickel-plated chain pulls the flywheel and you get your workout by pulling against the increasingly higher air pressure that the fan is creating.

Most competitions are organized into categories based on sex, age, and weight class. While the fastest times are generally achieved by rowers between 20 and 40 years old, teenagers and rowers over 90 are common at competitions. There is a nexus between performance on-water and performance on the ergometer, with open events at the World Championships often being dominated by elite on-water rowers. Former men's Olympic single scull champions Pertti Karppinen and Rob Waddell and five-time Gold Medalist Sir Steven Redgrave have all won world championships or set world records in indoor rowing.
Outside of resistance type, we found the number-one arbiter of ride feel to be cord quality. Water ergometers tend to employ nylon cords, while air ergometers feature metal chains — a durability factor we anticipated would result in our favoring air. But while all three water rowers aced our expectation of smooth, high-tension strokes, perfecting the chain seems to be more difficult: Some tug with just a slight rumble, others feature bouncy, grinding chains that are incredibly loud, something akin to angry snoring. As for nylon, the best wind and unwind like elastic silk — no slack, no sound, no catching, just perfectly even tension throughout the stroke.

The recovery phase follows the drive. The recovery starts with the extraction and involves coordinating the body movements with the goal to move the oar back to the catch position. In extraction, the rower pushes down on the oar handle to quickly lift the blade from the water and rapidly rotates the oar so that the blade is parallel to the water. This process is sometimes referred to as feathering the blade. Simultaneously, the rower pushes the oar handle away from the chest. The blade emerges from the water square and feathers immediately once clear of the water. After feathering and extending the arms, the rower pivots the body forward. Once the hands are past the knees, the rower compresses the legs which moves the seat towards the stern of the boat. The leg compression occurs relatively slowly compared to the rest of the stroke, which affords the rower a moment to recover, and allows the boat to glide through the water. The gliding of the boat through the water during recovery is often called run.

In the rowing machine category, there are a lot of models to chose from. They range in price from under $100 to well over $1500.  As you can imagine, you’re getting a different type of row machine at those ends of the spectrum, but within that variety there’s something for everyone.  To help guide you, we’ve listed our favorite row machine models and brands by price below:


Unlike its WaterRower Natural cousin, the WaterRower Club is designed for high-traffic areas, such as commercial gyms, studios, and rehabilitation clinics. Its dual black rails have been styled to prevent scuffing, while the other wood components are finished in an attractive rosewood, which is more resistant to soiling than the Natural model. Other details include four corner wheels on the rails that increase seat stability and reduce the amount of sweat buildup; a frame that flips upright for handy storage; and a weight capacity of up to 1,000 pounds. The WaterRower Club measures 84 by 21 by 22 inches (W x H x D), weighs 117 pounds (with water), and carries a one-year warranty on the frame and components (WaterRower will upgrade the warranty to five years on the frame and three years on the components with the completion of a registration form).
Performance is meaningless if you can’t or don’t want to use the equipment, and that’s why the Wave Water rower was built for comfort and convenience. With a wide, molded seat to accommodate users of all sizes and a padded, textured rowing handle, you can build your strength and endurance in ease. When setting up the rower, the leveling endcaps with a dial ensure stability. After your workout, storing your Wave Water rower is easy – just fold the frame and roll the rower into a closet or corner.
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