Ultimate Rowing Machine Comparison Guide

Time: 8 Minutes


Rowing Machines

Experience a smooth, natural row every time with our quality home rowing machines. Find the best rowing machine for you with a range of different machines from water resistance, air resistance to magnetic resistance.

In stock

RRP $579.00 $386.10

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In stock

RRP $1,299.00 $799.00

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Shop In Store

Head over to our showrooms and authorised dealers to view and try a wide range of our current Lifespan Fitness Rowing Machines. Our friendly staff will be able to run you through different features and will help you find the best Rowing Machine for your training needs. See our Locations page for more details.

Australia Wide Shipping

We provide Australia-wide Shipping and different delivery services to suit your needs. Our Rowing Machine range can be delivered to your front door with easy, 3-step assembly instructions. We also provide installation services at an additional cost for most areas. For more information, please see our Delivery & Pick Up Information Page.

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We offer a wide range of payment options online and in-store. Need a payment plan? We also offer payment plans from providers ZipPay and OpenPay. Get your product first and pay later!
Our friendly team are here to help

Need help choosing? Our team are here to help!

Feel free to call us on 1300 169 600 or chat with our team on the Online Chat. You can also send us an email on info@lifespanfitness.com.au.

You may also find your questions answered on our FAQ's.

Rowing Machines FAQ

Rowing machines have an impressive ability to train the entire body. The catch is that without maintaining proper form, you won’t be getting as much as you could from your rowing workout. The key to a good rowing workout is making sure the upper and lower body are working together. To get you up to speed, here’s a breakdown of everything you need to get going.

Sit down on the rowing seat, secure your feet on the foot rests with straps provided. If your machine has adjustable resistance levels, make sure to set it appropriately, towards the lower end if you’re starting out. To start, straighten your legs out in front of you and pull the handle in close to your chest. Place your hands on the outside of the oar, with pinkie fingers hanging off and thumbs resting on top. Push your shoulders back and down to open up your chest, keeping your back straight. On the drive forward, first extend your arms as far as they’ll go. Only bend your knees once your arms are fully straight. As you bend, keep your knees aligned with your chest, not dropping them off to the side, and maintain straight arms throughout. Push back by straightening your legs, only bending your arms back once your legs are fully straight. Again, bring the handle in close to your chest as you pull back.

To begin with, you may want to practice by isolating the arm and leg movements before you pull it all together.

For an optimal rowing machine workout, keep your strokes per minute to around 30 or less, and aim for a split time (the amount of time it takes to row 500 metres) to 2 minutes or less.

Remember rowing machines work best when focusing on power, not speed, so keep your focus on maintaining a strong and stable form to make sure you’re getting the best workout possible.

Rowing machines are probably the closest a single device can come to providing a full body workout, allowing access to most major muscle groups, and allowing the user to simultaneously improve cardiovascular health while maintaining muscle mass. The compound effect of working both the upper and lower body when utilising proper rowing technique means you expand a greater amount of overall energy in your workout. This makes them extremely effective at increasing intensity, and ensuring you’re always maximising the exertion of each exercise.

This is great news for those looking to lose some weight, as weight loss is all about increasing the energy you exert.

While there are many fantastic tools out there to help with weight loss, such as treadmills or spin bikes, rowing machines will maximise your calorie-burning potential. The great thing about rowing is that you don’t necessarily need to increase speed to see maximum benefits. Rowing is more about the power and force that you can apply. It will be more focused on how hard your muscles are working to keep you moving and in a stable position.

It does all this while simultaneously maintaining muscle mass and developing the functional strength of the major muscle groups. All these benefits combined make rowing machines one of the most efficient tools for toning and sculpting body mass and muscle in one convenient exercise.

As rowing machines tend to utilise a similar motion to pull ups, especially in the arms, some might wonder whether they can swap out one for the other and still reap the benefits.

First, what muscles does a pull up actually work? There are a range of muscles at play in this exercise, but are useful for building a stronger back, as well as developing muscles in the shoulders, arms and core. They are a type of vertical pull exercise, while a rowing machine is a type of horizontal pull exercise.

While both can be used to great effect, there are many reasons to prefer the latter. This includes extra protection for the shoulders, and greater core activation for added stability. This is compounded by the reduced tension on the joints, as the hands will be in a more joint-friendly position.

Rowing machines are a good alternative to pulls ups as they will target the full range of back muscles that pull ups are good for, while being easier on the joints and better for your posture and form. The horizontal motion of a rowing machine exercise is gentler on the wrists, shoulders and back, providing less irritation as you accelerate your exercise.

This means you can take on a greater amount of resistance and intensity in your workout without having to worry too much about excess muscle tension, allowing for a more comfortable progression than might be possible with pull ups.

What makes rowing machines such impressive tools are their ability to incorporate both the upper and lower body into a single workout, and target multiple major muscle groups at once. On top of this, rowing exercises are shown to simultaneously improve functional strength while giving you a comprehensive cardio workout.

The full range of motion of a rowing machine workout allows the user access to a range of muscle groups, working mostly the lower body and spine on the drive forward, and then the upper body and arms on the pull backwards.

The hamstrings, glutes, calves and spinal erectors are the focus on the drive forward, as the legs and spine are engaged to stabilise the body throughout the movement. On the pull back, the quads, biceps, forearms and lats are activated as you drive against the resistance from the machine. Throughout this, your core is working hard to maintain form, power and stability.

While this appears to cover most major muscle groups, the strongest focus will probably be in the legs. The leg muscles are comparatively larger, and as such can take on a greater amount of resistance, and will play a larger role in the movement of the exercise. It’s usually said that rowing exercises are 60% legs, 30% core and 10% arms, but don’t expect a rowing machine to go easy on the upper body. Once you perfect your technique, you’ll be burning just about every muscle in the body, and seeing impressive benefits in no time.

Rowing machines really are an all-in-one package, offering one of the most efficient uses of your time, ensuring you’re getting the most out of every second of exercise.

Many rowing machine users want the closest experience they can get to actually being out on the water. This is one of the reasons why dynamic resistance machines, such as the water rowing machine, are increasingly popular. This type of machine will respond to the amount of force exerted by the user, and increases resistance accordingly, either by a fan or plastic blades in a water tank. The water tank rower provides not only that dynamic resistance, but also the sensory experience of rowing in water. The added noise created by the blades in the water simulates the experience of real rowing.

However, if you’re working with an adjustable resistance machine, such as a magnetic rowing machine, you might wonder what setting will provide the most accurate on-water experience. This won’t be a straight forward answer, as the amount of resistance you’re working against out in the water will depend on a range of factors, including the force you exert, your speed, the water conditions and your own personal ability. Ultimately, finding the most accurate resistance level will be finding the level that provides you with enough resistance to challenge your whole body, without feeling like you’re peddling through mud.

A resistance level of around 4-6 will provide probably the most equivalent drag factor of water. However, this will also depend on the machine and the number of resistance levels that are available, so make sure to check what you’re working with and adjust accordingly.

Rowing Machine / Rowers

Row machines are a unique tool for creating a true full-body workout. Rowing exercises are one of the few training modalities to work both the upper and lower body simultaneously, as well as improving aerobic endurance and muscular strength. The best thing is that it’s able to do all this while creating an enjoyable experience that you’ll want to make a part of your regular routine. The great benefit of a rowing exercise machine is that you can really make it your own. Lifespan fitness offers a range of home rowing machines to suit every type of user, so that you can choose the best rowing machine for you. This includes cheap rowing machines, all the way up to high grade rowers.

There are three main types of rowing machines, each with their own benefits and differences that are worth keeping in mind. These three types differ based on the type of resistance provided, via either air, water or magnets. These will fall into the broader category of manual or automatic resistance. Probably the most common is the magnetic rowing machine. For these machines, resistance is applied to the flywheel by the use of magnets, and come with a maximum of 16 levels of resistance. 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, having fewer moving parts and being smaller in size. 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 is popular with those who want an experience that more closely resembles the act of rowing in water, not just in the type of resistance, but in the sensory experience of blades churning through actual water in front of them.

The third type is a hybrid rower, that utilises both a fan that’s responsive to applied force, as well as a magnet that can be adjusted to increase resistance. This rower is the comprehensive rowing machine, as it allows the user to fine tune the resistance to exactly the right level they need, and offers a greater degree of control to suit their training. Lifespan’s hybrid rower will also feature adjustable damper levels, which controls the amount of air that can be let into the fan, affecting the amount of work it takes to spin the flywheel. This is different from resistance level, and mainly affects how the flywheel feels to spin, closer to gears on a bike.

Lifespan’s rowing machines use high grade materials to produce the highest quality experience. The rowing cords of all of Lifespan’s row machines are made of polypropylene fibre and latex. This produces a tough, resistant rowing cord that can handle the extensive stress and tension that your home rowing machine will go through when used regularly. The belt drivetrain on our magnetic rowing machines is made of high-grade materials to reduce noise and create a smooth rowing experience, making them suitable for your home fitness space. The machines will have a frame made of either tubular steel, or an option for an oak-wood timber frame for one of our water rowers. Our machines will feature spacious and adjustable foot pedals to suit every user, as well as innovative groove patterns to ensure a stable grip and comfortable foothold. Glide securely with either a 4 or 6 roller system on an aluminium rail that uses commercial quality materials and design, ensuring a smooth, secure and quiet slide throughout your workout.

You can also accelerate your rowing workout further with pre-set programs that guide you through a range of dynamic and effective exercises. Some machines will have the option to design your own personalised program to suit your fitness needs and get the most out of your workout.

While they may not look it, rowing machines are actually great space-savers for a small workout area. As rowing machines lay flat along the ground, they won’t take up as much height space, helping them to blend into most living spaces. All of Lifespan Fitness’ rowing machines are foldable and are usually able to be stored conveniently in the upright position. A foldable rowing machine allows you easily integrate your machine into your fitness space or to store away when not in use. It also allows for convenient transportation if you intend to use it in different spaces.

A rowing machine is a low-impact workout undertaken in a seated position, and is known for being easy on the joints. This gives you the best of both worlds as it can deliver a high intensity training session without creating unnecessary tension. This makes them a great option for those with joint pain, especially if you take the time to perfect your technique and form.

One of the most appealing aspects of a rowing machine workout is the ability to target almost every major muscle group in the body. The drive forward will work mainly the lower body in stabilising the legs, including the glutes, calves, hamstrings as well as the spine. While the pull backwards will shift focus to the upper body to drive against the machine’s resistance, including the forearms, biceps, shoulders and core. It does all this while being much easier on your joints and actively reducing muscle tension, meaning you can progress in intensity with a greater deal of comfort than other forms of functional strength training. Rowing machines are also fantastic weight loss tools, as they maximise the amount of energy exerted throughout the entire movement. The integration of all major muscle groups means that you’re expending much more energy, leading to a higher calorie burn.

Once consigned to the back of the gym and treated as more of a specialist workout, rowing machines have increased in popularity in recent years. Many users from different training backgrounds have found tremendous benefit in the dynamic, comfortable and comprehensive workout that rowing provides, all while being great for your posture, joints and muscle tension.

Speak to our friendly team today and we’ll help you choose the right machine for you.