Rowing is the perfect cardio for your home gym. It’s one of the most efficient cardio exercises that engages your whole body. Some rowers also come in a smaller footprint and can be easily tucked away when not in use. There are a lot of choices to make when you pick your rower and it’s difficult to wrap your head around all the variety. We’re going to make the choices a little bit simpler to help find the right rowing machine for you.
Rowing At Home
Rowing as an exercise is an exceptional full body workout. With proper technique this is an exercise that is kind to your joints and also engages both your upper and lower body. The force for the motion starts in your legs and finishes with your back and arms. If you’re thinking about getting into rowing then a rowing machine is by far more accessible than taking a boat out on the water. It closely simulates the resistance you would experience from stroking your oar through the water. Most rowers can track your workout metrics like time, speed, distance traveled, and in more advanced machines calories burned and pulse. For a great in home workout just strap your feet in and set a distance, 500m to start or maybe 1km. Work your way up to greater distances like 5km. The difficulty of the row depends on the resistance and this is where rowing machines differ significantly.
Magnetic Rowing machines use a resistance mechanism not unlike a spin bike. The force you exert with every stroke is transferred to an internal flywheel which spins as you row. Resistance is applied to the flywheel with a powerful magnet. Moving the magnet closer to the flywheel increases the resistance and forces you to exert more effort to complete each stroke. Likewise moving the magnet away decreases resistance and difficulty. These rowers are typically the quietest with few moving parts thanks to the frictionless magnetic resistance and a quiet belt drivetrain. They also frequently feature a compact design that lets you unlock and fold the rower in the middle of the frame for easier storage. This is the rower you want for a smaller, quieter space.
If you want to get closer to the real deal then go for a water resistance rower. These rowers feature a tank filled with water to offer the most natural feeling resistance possible outside of the river. Every stroke spins a set of blades in the water. The resistance is natural and exponential. It responds just like water to match the effort you put in. A small amount of effort results in only a small amount of resistance and likewise a lot of effort creates resistance to match all the way up to the maximum effort you’re capable of exerting. The one caveat of a rowing machine like this is that it’s not as quiet as the magnetic rower, and typically doesn’t fold down. This is the machine you need to feel like you’re actually rowing on the water.
If you want the best of both worlds then a hybrid rower is your best friend. The magnetic resistance rower is smooth and offers you adjustable resistance whereas the water resistance rower is responsive to the effort you put in. The hybrid rower uses both systems to create a resistance that is both adjustable and responsive to your efforts with potentially limitless resistance. The Rower-800F uses an air resistance system but the premise is the same. Fan blades spin as you row creating natural, exponential resistance from air pressure. This resistance is compounded with placement of the magnet in relation to the blades as they spin. This style of rower is the most versatile offering both a smooth, adjustable workout and a potential for limitless resistance.
Row Your Boat
There are a lot of variables to consider when buying a rower for your home gym. These largely come down to personal preference. Each style of rower has different benefits but you can be sure you’ll experience an intense workout regardless of what rower you get. You only get out what you put in.