Noise level is another large factor that tips the scale more towards water rowers. Air rowers make a fairly loud “whooshing” noise every stroke, which makes them bad for people who like watching TV, have sleeping children, live in apartments, or like working out early in the AM. Water rowers do make some noise but the splashing of water in the tank is a lot quieter and more soothing than the fan noise produced by air rowers.
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While the rowing machine is an incredibly efficient, full-body workout that allows the athlete to build aerobic endurance and muscular strength at the same time, a lack of proper technique and training is common among gym-goers and can lead to injuries and misuse. So we asked experts from the number one collegiate men’s crew team in the country at the University of California – Berkeley—Head Coach Mike Teti and Associate Head Coach Scott Frandsen—to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about the rowing machine. Both are Olympic medalists (Teti is both a medalist as an athlete and a coach) who know exactly what it takes, in the gym and on the water, to get in gold medal-winning shape.
The Apollo Pro 2 water rower is a commercial grade, natural wood rowing machine, perfect for group training or high-end home gyms. This rower’s water resistant design, meditative motion and integrity of construction sets it apart from its competitors. Handcrafted from the finest quality American Ash wrapped around a stabilising steel frame, this steadfast indoor rower offers a standout performance even in the harshest of fitness applications.
While the rowing machine is an incredibly efficient, full-body workout that allows the athlete to build aerobic endurance and muscular strength at the same time, a lack of proper technique and training is common among gym-goers and can lead to injuries and misuse. So we asked experts from the number one collegiate men’s crew team in the country at the University of California – Berkeley—Head Coach Mike Teti and Associate Head Coach Scott Frandsen—to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about the rowing machine. Both are Olympic medalists (Teti is both a medalist as an athlete and a coach) who know exactly what it takes, in the gym and on the water, to get in gold medal-winning shape.
In the patent record, means are disclosed whereby the chain/cable take-up and handle return are accomplished without the use of a spring or elastic cord, thereby avoiding the stated disadvantages and defects of this broadly used method. One example is the Gjessing-Nilson device described above. Partially discernable in the thumbnail photo, it utilizes a cable wrapped around a helical pulley on the flywheel shaft, the ends of this cable being connected to opposite ends of a long pole to which a handle is fixed. The obvious disadvantage of this system is the forward space requirement to accommodate the extension of the handle pole at the "catch" portion of the stroke. The advantage is that, except for small transmission losses, all of the user's energy output is imparted to the flywheel, where it can be accurately measured, not split between the flywheel and an elastic cord of variable, unmeasured resistance. If a similar system were installed on all rowing ergometers used in indoor rowing competitions, consistency between machines would be guaranteed because the variability factor of elastic cord resistance would be eliminated, and this would therefore ensure that the monitor displayed actual user energy input.

In the 1970s, the Gjessing-Nilson ergometer from Norway used a friction brake mechanism with industrial strapping applied over the broad rim of the flywheel. Weights hanging from the strap ensured that an adjustable and predictable friction could be calculated. The cord from the handle mechanism ran over a helical pulley with varying radius, thereby adjusting the gearing and speed of the handle in a similar way to the changing mechanical gearing of the oar through the stroke, derived from changes in oar angle and other factors. This machine was for many years the internationally accepted standard for measurement.
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Rowing is one of the few non-weight bearing sports that exercises all the major muscle groups, including quads, biceps, triceps, lats, glutes and abdominal muscles. The sport also improves cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. High-performance rowers tend to be tall and muscular: although extra weight does increase the drag on the boat, the larger athletes' increased power tends to be more significant. The increased power is achieved through increased length of leverage on the oar through longer limbs of the athlete. In multi-person boats (2,4, or 8), the lightest person typically rows in the bow seat at the front of the boat.
If you are anything like me, you read the negative reviews to see what some of the complaints could potentially be...I have found none that match with my machine or experience so far. The boxes it came in were a little bunged-up but everything on the inside was perfect. Only took about 15-20 minutes to build (first time building a row machine) and another 5-10 to fill with water. We used it for a little while before we added the danish oil.
There’s no denying that this machine will work your arms, but the majority of your drive should be coming from your legs. While the arms should be constantly, well, rowing, your legs should be taking on most of the work by bending and pushing your body back up. Generally our legs are much stronger than our arms, so it makes sense that they should be doing more than the rest of your body—especially in the case of the rower. And be sure to use them to drive straight back, not upwards—lest you fall out of the seat (ouch).
Ergometer tests are used by rowing coaches to evaluate rowers and is part of athlete selection for many senior and junior national rowing teams. During a test, rowers will row a set distance and try to clock the fastest time possible, or a set time and try to row the longest distance possible. The most common distances for erg tests are 1000, 2000, 5000, 6000 or 10000 metres. The most common times for erg tests are 3 min, 5 min, 20 min, 30 min, and 1 hour.
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).

Comparing the rowing machine to the stationary bike, the rowing machine is superior in terms of calories burned. Yet, it’s important to note that the stationary bike is also easy on the joints and only includes the lower body. So, if you have any upper body problems then the stationary bike will be a much better choice. In 30 minutes of cycling 12-13 miles per hour, an 125lb individual will burn around 225-250 calories.
Rowing machines are often used by people who are looking to get a full-body workout, and also by rowers to stay in rowing shape during the off-season. According to Men’s Total Health, rowing is a natural motion, and is therefore fairly easy for anyone to pick up and do properly. Also, rowing is a low-impact exercise, meaning that the potential for injuries to your joints is lower than on such machines as treadmills, for example.
Rheological fluid resistance: In the patent record various exercise devices, including rowing machines, are depicted and described utilizing flywheels in which rotational resistance is controlled by varying the viscosity of a magnetically or electrically reactive fluid (magnetorheological or electrorheological fluid). It seems probable therefore that at some time commercially available rowing machines will include those with flywheels containing variable viscosity fluid.
If you're looking at a WaterRower, you're probably also considering the Concept2. They're both great machines, but which you choose depends on your needs. I think the WaterRower is ideal for most people, but not everyone. The WaterRower has a number of advantages vs the Concept 2 - it is quieter, the mechanism up front is lower profile, it has a comfortable seat, it is much better looking, it's easier to stand up when you're not rowing and it's just ... zen-like. There is something about the smoothness of the WaterRower that makes it a joy to use, and because it's quiet you can easily stream your favorite binge-series without cranking the volume too high.
Just as your arms, back, and legs need to be positioned a certain way, so do your hands. It might not seem important, but the way you hold onto the handle could affect the way your arms move and work throughout your set. Avoid using an underhand grip and go for the overhand. Your knuckles should face forward, with your thumb placed on the underside of the handle. Keep your wrist flat—not leaning outwards. If you find that your grip strength is subpar, move your thumb to the top of the handle along with your other fingers to build strength. Just don’t grip so hard that you rough up your palms.
Don't let chronic lower back pain deter you from giving the rowing machine a try. Done properly, this is a great exercise for strengthening your back, and as a bonus, it rarely leads to the type of chronic knee, ankle, and foot injuries that can plague runners. If you have a temperamental back, be sure to keep your core braced, and that you're not laying too far back at the conclusion of each stroke. (Here, closer to 11 o'clock than 9 o'clock.)
The Water Rower comes partly preassembled in two large boxes. The assembly instructions are reasonably good, and as long as you take your time and follow them carefully (read all the text) it takes about 45 minutes from opening the first box to trying it out. I bought bottles of distilled water to fill it, which made it easy to fill using the included funnel & hose.
Concept2 CTS will be on site at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, September 23–October 1. The Concept2 CTS trailer will be located in the athlete area where the CTS regatta service team will be available to competitors who need oar repairs and service. There will also be a CTS booth in the spectator area, where people will be able to try out the new BikeErg, as well as Concept2 indoor rowers and SkiErg, when not watching the competition.
It's been nearly 30 years since John Duke, a former Yale University and USA National Team oarsman, set up a small shop in Rhode Island, USA to begin fine-tuning his innovative water-resistant rowing machine. With its beautiful design and unmatched feel, the WaterRower quickly gained a cult-like following of both on-water rowers and fitness enthusiasts that had found their perfect piece of workout equipment. As word spread of the new product that simulated the feel of on-water rowing, WaterRower transitioned from simply a one-off product found within the occasional boathouse to an established brand in both the rowing and fitness world.
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A third non-elastic handle return strategy is disclosed in US patent, "Gravity Return Rowing Exercise Device" (US9878200 B2, 2018) granted to Robert Edmondson. As stated in the patent document, the utilization of gravity (ie: a weight) to take up the chain and return the handle eliminates the inevitable variability of handle return force associated with an elastic cord system and thereby ensures consistency between machines.


All rowing-machine designs consist of an energy damper or braking mechanism connected to a chain, strap, belt and/or handle. Footrests are attached to the same mounting as the energy damper. Most include a rail which either the seat or the mechanism slide upon. Different machines have a variety of layouts and damping mechanisms, each of which have certain advantages and disadvantages.
Assembly was challenging. One of the rails could not be attached because the embedded screw in the cross-beam was too crooked to fit into the hole on the rail. I had to place a nut on it to protect the screws and tap until it was true enough cap nut to be attached. The foot board is slightly wider than the top board. I will sand this to match when I reapply the finish. This will need to be done because the wood has a dry, ashy appearance. The wood is beautiful and mostly uniform. This rowing machine is a nice product, but the build quality of the unit I received was disappointing. I felt lucky that the gashes in the carton did not damage the product as the packaging was optimistic. The leading competitor I use at the gym seems to provide slightly more resistance. It is beautiful and useful, but with room for improvement.
Storage is also a plus point for the Waterrower series as they are all designed to stand upright with the tank acting as ballast for stability. In this position they only take up around two square feet. Again, great if you are planning on training in the living room. However, if you have small children, I would advise fixing the top to the wall with a hook and strap.
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