While the actual mechanism of a rowing machine won’t differ too much between different types, users have the option to fine tune their rowing workout with the type of resistance their machine uses. Each type has its own benefits and differences, and while it’s possible to get a great workout no matter what rowing machine you’re using, it’s worth keeping in mind these differences to find the best machine for your workout.
What is Resistance?
Resistance relates to the amount of force that is required from the user in order to operate the machine. The level of resistance is generally tied to the intensity of the workout, requiring more work from the user to keep the machine moving.
Probably the most common type of resistance is the magnetic rower. For these machines, resistance is applied to the flywheel by the use of magnets. The closer the magnets are to the wheel, the greater the amount of resistance is applied and the harder it is to row. This is a good option for those who want precise control over the amount of resistance they’re getting, and want to track an incremental progression as they improve. These have the advantage of being quieter, have fewer moving parts and are smaller. This makes them an ideal home rowing machine, especially in small or quiet places.
The second type is a water rower, which features a tank filled with water. As force is applied, blades in the water tank are spun, creating a natural and exponential increase in resistance in line with the amount of force the user is applying. This type of dynamic resistance means you’re always getting a workout that’s proportional to your fitness level. It also means you can perform exercises that involve variations in intensity, such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). There’s something unmatchable about the experience of being able to actually paddle through real water, and the unique resistance it creates. Users also love the sensory experience of the sound of flowing water in their workout, creating a much more realistic workout. An important consideration in choosing a water rower is the maintenance involved, as the user will be required to change out the water regularly, as well as additional cleaning of the tank.
The air rower is similar to the water rower, in that it uses dynamic resistance that adjusts according to the amount of force the user applies, but using a different method. The resistance is created by the air in the internal flywheel as fan blades are spun at an increasing speed. This provides all the benefits of dynamic resistance, while also being more convenient in cleaning and maintenance than a water rower. Lifespan’s air rower is also a hybrid that uses both dynamic and adjustable resistance, utilising air and magnets. This has the advantage over air only rowers which offer less natural resistance. This rower is the comprehensive machine, as it allows the user to combine the precise control of magnetic resistance while adding in the dynamic resistance that adjusts according to user force. This provides greater access to exactly the right level you’ll need for your workout.
Which type of rower is right for you?
Dynamic resistance rowers (water or air) are beneficial for allowing you to change resistance throughout an exercise without having to stop, creating an experience closer to real rowers. Water resistance, is favoured by many users for the sensory experience and the added enjoyment that can bring. Dynamic rowers are recommended for most users, providing a tailored workout with numerous benefits above and beyond a magnetic rower. The benefits of an adjustable resistance (magnet) rower include the ability to accurately track progress as you work your way up through the resistance levels, as well as the set resistance being consistent throughout the workout. Magnetic rowers are also comparatively easier to clean and maintain, and provide good option for price conscious customers.
Rowing exercise machines are a fantastic tool for elevating your personal fitness, and many users integrate them as part of their regular workout. Take the time to find out which rower will be best for you and your workout, and if you’re still unsure, don’t hesitate to speak our staff and we’ll get you set up on your fitness journey.