TOP 21 Best Rowing Machines for Your Home Gym [Beginner’s Guide & Reviews 2019]

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Are you down to erg? I think you are or you wouldn’t be here.

Erging is rowing using a machine as opposed to being on the water or OTW. Rowing machines are also sometimes called ergs.

Whatever you call them, they captured the attention of CrossFitters, Bodybuilders and are finding their way into more and more gyms for a good reason.

Why?

Because erging is efficient, engages every major muscle group, and blasts away calories at sonic speed.

Erging is not easy. It’s a serious cardio workout.

But it’s also pretty low impact, and fast.

I will get into the benefits of rowing in a minute. I will also cover which muscles rowers work, how to choose the best ergometer for you, and start with reviews of 21 of the best rowing machines of 2019.

Contents

TOP 21 Best Rowing Machines of 2019

WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood

Review: This water rowing machine is as close to an actual rowing experience that you can get from the comfort of your own home.

This is a hefty model, weighing in at over 100 pounds. It’s sturdy and built to last. It comes with a comprehensive monitor that will allow you to track your heart rate and even your workout intensity.

Resistance: smooth and self-regulated water resistance.

Body and Foot Support: 15’’ ergonomic handle and ergonomic saddle.

Pros

  • Handcrafted.
  • Replicates actual rowing feel.
  • Quiet.
  • Series 4 performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and more.

Cons

  • High price point.
  • Non-regulating foot support.

Takeaway

A handcrafted piece of art that has a place in your home gym. A beautiful rowing machine that will get you in shape in no time.

WaterRower GX Home Rowing Machine

Review: This model is similar to the natural rowing machine made by WaterRower, but it’s more budget friendly.

Rather than being constructed entirely from wood, this model features an aluminum metal rail.

Aluminum is light, making this rower easy to move around. It does not fold but, it’s easier to transport to a different location if you need to free up some floor space.

Resistance: adjustable resistance levels with water like rowing feel.

Body and Foot Support: real-life feel saddle and ergonomic grip.

Pros

  • Patented WaterFlywheel.
  • GX monitor that displays time, distance, total calories burned, stroke rate, and more.
  • Easy storage, lighter than other models.

Cons

  • High price point.
  • Foot placement can’t be adjusted.

Takeaway

Hands down, one of the best water ergometers on the market. The realistic feeling of rowing in water is amazing. You won’t regret this investment.

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Review: This minimalist design air resistance rowing machine is an excellent choice for people who need to save space in their home gym.

It gives you a quality rowing workout without the bulk and weight other rowers have. When you don’t need it, this model folds up compactly and has caster wheels so you can roll it away.

Resistance: adjust resistance by changing airflow.

Body and Foot Support: 14-inch seat height with adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle.

Pros

  • Flywheel design minimizes noise.
  • Tracking monitor with an adjustable arm.
  • Good quality build.
  • Compact, folding, has transport wheels.

Cons

  • High price point.

Takeaway

A perfect rowing machine for your home if your tight on space.

Plus, it is sturdy and delivers a challenging workout. This is the best rowing machine of 2019, no question.

Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower

Review: If you are in the market for a magnetic rower and you want the best, you’ll love what Stamina has included in this Avari design.

It features a fitness monitor that allows you to track your stats and progress and is preloaded with 12 workouts.

Resistance: adjustable resistance by changing settings on the monitor.

Body and Foot Support: large footplates and molded saddle.

Pros

  • 12 workout programs including 6 cardio programs.
  • Monitor tracks time, count, distance, calories, strokes per minute, pulse and watt.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • Quiet.

Cons

  • Saddle could be more comfortable.

Takeaway

If you want to follow a workout program and track results over time, this machine is for you. It’s good quality at a reasonable price.

Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine

Review: Hydraulic rowers are very compact, and that’s part of what makes them so appealing. This rower features two hydraulic cylinders to provide adequate resistance and an ergonomically designed seat for your comfort.

It’s fully programmable and comes loaded with monitoring capabilities, so you’ll be able to see what you’ve accomplished as you’ve rowed.

Resistance: hydraulic, with 50 resistance levels for a wide variety.

Body and Foot Support: comfortable saddle and pivoting footrests.

Pros

  • Display tracks Time, Distance, Energy Consumed, Strokes, Pulse Rate and Frequency.
  • Good price point.
  • Quiet.

Cons

  • Problematic assembly.

Takeaway

Some hydraulic rowers lack resistance. However, this hydraulic rower has 50 resistance levels to choose from, so you will always be challenged.

Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower

Review: This rowing machine offers a drum magnetic resistance control system, allowing you to easily control the tension electronically.

It’s foldable when you need to put it away, and it’s made of lightweight, but durable anodized aluminum.

It comes with a heart monitor that straps to your chest to accurately measure your heart rate and calories burned.

Resistance: adjustable resistance with DMC System.

Body and Foot Support: molded saddle and ergonomic footrests.

Pros

  • Electronic tension resistance control.
  • Affordable.
  • Easy to fold and store.
  • Monitor for resistance and workout tracking.

Cons

  • Uncomfortable saddle.
  • Footrests could be bigger.

Takeaway

Best home rowing machine in this price range. Easy to adjust, easy on the budget, easy to love.

BodyCraft VR500 Commercial Rower

Review: This air rower is designed to be exactly like the ones you’ll find at upscale gyms. It incorporates 32 levels of magnetic resistance combined with fan resistance for a hybrid air and magnetic workout.

This commercial rower is ergonomically designed, making it easier to use for extended periods of time.

It folds up and even features a child lock. This one is perfect for homes with children.

Resistance: the resistance is smooth and easy to adjust. It’s electronically controlled and a hybrid of air and eddy current magnetic force.

Body and Foot Support: deluxe adjustable heel rest with quick adjust foot straps.

Pros

  • Excellent built quality.
  • Black mask LCD w/LED backlit display and keys.
  • Folds for storage in less than 3 seconds.
  • Handlebar with 4 Button IR Remote Resistance Controls.
  • Up to 4 user profiles.

Cons

  • High price point.
  • Relatively large footprint.
  • Nylon belt might wear out.

Takeaway

Yes, it’s not the least expensive machine you can find, but boy does it deliver. If you are looking for a lasting investment, this is it.

WaterRower Club Rowing Machine with S4 Monitor

Review: With WaterRower’s rowing machines, you aren’t just working out – you’re actually learning to row effectively.

If you closed your eyes, you would swear you were in a boat with the sound of water swooshing around you.

This machine is created with the latest technology performance monitors on the market and is made of high-quality ash wood.

Resistance: self-regulated resistance with water flywheel.

Body and Foot Support: ergonomically designed saddle with sufficient padding; truly comfortable handle.

Pros

  • Handcrafted.
  • Replicates actual rowing feel and sound.
  • Performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and more.
  • Great build quality.
  • Construction absorbs sound and vibration.

Cons

  • Foot placement can’t be adjusted.
  • Relatively large footprint.

Takeaway

Have you ever been on a boat? Well, this water rower will give you that sensation. It is just what you need for the best rowing machine workout.

Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rower

Review: This rowing machine is a beast. It’s one of the most heavy duty air rowers you’ll find anywhere.

It’s lightweight, easy to move and even comes with floor protectors to prevent damage to your home gym floor.

The seat and glide track are both oversized, allowing anyone of any size to use this machine rower to its maximum potential.

Resistance: resistance adjusts slightly with a harder rowing motion.

Body and Foot Support: large, adjustable footrests with straps; smooth glide on the rail gives more comfort.

Pros

  • Monitor displays speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
  • Rowing motion is smooth.
  • Accommodates large riders.

Cons

  • Foam padded molded could be more comfortable.
  • Technically not adjustable.

Takeaway

A great heavy duty air rowing machine that is worth the investment. The company has taken into account all of the feedback and made it a high-end quality machine.

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine

Review: The biggest difference between the much sought after Concept 2 Model D, and this model E is seat height.

The model E design accommodates athletes with mobility issues and/or heavy riders in the 250 lb plus range.

Resistance: based on rowing effort, this machine uses a flywheel and a spiral damper to adjust airflow and the “feel” of the row.

Body and Foot Support: 20” seat height, one of the highest in the industry.

Pros

  • Quiet smooth ride.
  • Sits 20” off the ground, easy to get on and off.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Gym quality machine.

Cons

  • Couple hundred dollars more than the Concept 2 Model D, but those with mobility issues say it is worth it.

Takeaway

The ideal rower for mobility impaired athletes who want the rower with the best reputation on the market.

First Degree Fitness Indoor Water Rower

Review: Row like a Viking with this mighty ergometer. The Viking II uses adjustable water resistance, constructed with stunning ash and solid metal parts, with a robust performance monitor to track your erg session.

Resistance: variable with 4 levels of adjustable resistance. The resistance remains consistent through the row.

Body and Foot Support: textured seat surface prevents slipping. Adjustable foot pedal height.

Pros

  • Performance monitor tracks time, strokes, calories, distance and heart rate.
  • Resistance adjusts with the turn of a dial.
  • Consistent resistance through the entire stroke.
  • Smooth maintenance-free belt drive.

Takeaway

Smooth, consistent and maintenance free water rower.

Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine

Review: The Lifecore R100 rower is a belt driven air resistance model with adjustable magnetic resistance.

The system is compatible with the Polar HR monitor and includes programs that are based on your current heart rate.

Resistance: uses both air and magnetic resistance.

Body and Foot Support: 13” seat height, angled foot rests.

Pros

  • Folds up for easy storage.
  • 16 levels of resistance controlled magnetically.
  • 600 lb max user weight easily accommodates larger athletes.
  • Large, wide saddle.

Cons

  • The included HR monitor and calorie count are not as accurate as other rowers.
  • Some owners mentioned problems with clutch bearings.

Takeaway

Hybrid of air and magnetic resistance set this ergometer apart from the others.

Xebex Air Rower Conditioning Pack

Review: The Xebex air rower is similar quality compared to the Concept 2 Model E, it also sits high off the ground, nearly 24” to be exact, Plus it is less expensive and easier to stow and move.

I am surprised it is not more popular.

Resistance: uses air resistance.

Body and Foot Support: molded well-formed comfortable seat. Adjustable foot pads.

Pros

  • Easily folds up to store, unlike many others, plus it has front and back transport wheels.
  • 24” off the ground, easy to get on and off of, does not feel like sitting on the ground.
  • Well packaged, well built, and easy to assemble.

Cons

  • The console programs are not intuitive.

Takeaway

Seriously easy to move and store, commercial quality rower. This rower will not let you down.

First Degree Fitness Newport AR Rower

Review: If you want true water resistance, this Newport AR rower has it. Not only does it feel like rowing on the water, but the onboard console also allows you to connect with online racing against other online rowers.

Resistance: adjustable water resistance.

Body and Foot Support: heel support adjusts to your foot.

Pros

  • Resistance remains consistent thru the entire stroke.
  • Quiet belt driven operation, with a pleasant water swoosh sound during each stroke.
  • Stores upright without leaking.
  • Seat glides smoothly on ball bearings.

Cons

  • Sits low to the ground.
  • Not made of wood, like many other water rowers.

Takeaway

Superb, smooth, quiet, easy to store water rower. If you are looking for an inexpensive water rower this is one of the best rowing machine for home use.

LifeCORE Fitness R90 Rowing Machine

Review: LifeCore R90 sets itself apart from the competition, as it offers both air and 6 levels of magnetic resistance, sits 19.5” off the ground, almost as high as a standard chair so those with mobility issues, or those who simply like sitting up off the floor, will benefit.

Resistance: both air and magnetic resistance.

Body and Foot Support: adjustable foot rest with heel supports. 10-degree bend in the handle support ergonomic hand and wrist movement.

Pros

  • Belt drive and magnetic resistance make for a quieter row.
  • Console with 7 data metrics displayed, plus workout programs, including a race program.
  • Sits 19.5” off the ground for easy exit and boarding.
  • Easily folds and stores.

Cons

  • No HR monitor or ANT+ connection.

Takeaway

High seat height and dual resistance mechanisms make this rower a good choice for your home gym.

Kettler Coach E Rowing Machine

Review: The unique top-center placement of the rowing cord open this machine up to exercises that go beyond rowing because it is set up to function as a cable machine too.

Using the back pad, you can perform crunches, bent over row, single arm row, standing, seated or reclined bicep curls and more.

Resistance: resistance is displayed in watts. Resistance is provided by a brake system and the Ergometer also has frictionless electromagnetic resistance.

Body and Foot Support: seat glides smoothly on ball bearing rollers. Adjustable Velcro straps secure feet to a pivoting footplate.

Pros

  • German made, with high quality electronics by Siemens.
  • Polar HR monitor included – plus includes HR controlled workout programs.
  • Stands on end for storage.
  • Allows for additional cable exercises.

Cons

  • Because it is German made, some materials may not be in English.

Takeaway

Superior on board electronics, included Polar HR monitor and the ability to perform cable based arm exercises make this German made rower a winner in my book.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Rowing Machine

Review: This is a great entry-level model. This compact magnetic rower folds up when you aren’t using it, helping you store it away.

You get eight adjustable resistance levels, and a monitor console that will help you track your workout time and calories burned.

Resistance: magnetic tension system with eight adjustable resistance levels.

Body and Foot Support: large anti-slip foot pedals and a fully padded seat as well as non-slip grip handlebars.

Pros

  • Foldable.
  • Monitor console displays time, calories, total count and more.
  • Great price.

Cons

  • Noisy slide mechanism.
  • Build quality good, but not excellent.

Takeaway

Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. If you just want to get your workouts done on a reasonably priced rower, this machine is perfect.

Merax Water Rowing Machine

Review: The first thing you will notice about this Merax water rower is the incline position of the water bowl. This incline position allows greater resistance and makes this machine a calorie burning powerhouse.

This rower is smooth and steady, ultra quiet.

But the best part?

It is way less expensive than other water rowers on the market.

Pros

  • Ultra quiet.
  • Costs way less than other water rowers.
  • High resistance thanks to inclined water bowl.

Cons

  • Resistance is adjusted by adding more water.

Takeaway

Best water rowing machine in this price range.

Sunny Health & Fitness Water Rowing Machine

Review: Sunny also makes an inexpensive water rower and one of the best budget rowing machine out there.

This water rower is smooth, quiet and makes a peaceful moving water sound as you row.

This rower is inexpensive, but don’t let the price throw you off, it is solid, can hold the advertised 300 lbs max user weight, no problem, and can stand up to intense rowing like a champ.

Can also be stored upright without leaking, making it one of the best home rowing machines out there.

Pros

  • Budget priced water rower.
  • Smooth quiet operation.
  • Ample resistance.
  • Solid – leak-proof construction.

Cons

  • LCD monitor is inaccurate.
  • Must maintain water with anti-algae tabs every 6 months.

Takeaway

If you want a water rower, this is the best rowing machine under 500.

Body Xtreme Fitness Tri-Base Rowing Machine

Review: This rowing machine is unique in the way it adds resistance. A water rower or flywheel-based rower usually offers more resistance the faster you row.

Not so with this magnetic rower.

The resistance is adjusted with a dial and remains constant, regardless of how fast or slow you row.

This rower is very light and one of the best compact rowing machines you can get for your home gym.

Its light aluminum frame can be folded and stored away when you are not using it.

Pros

  • Light, portable and foldable.
  • Resistance remains constant regardless of rowing speed.
  • Magnetic resistance.

Cons

  • Only holds riders up to 250 lbs.

Takeaway

Best magnetic rowing machine for under $300 dollars

Merax Magnetic Rowing Machine

Review: This quality Merax magnetic rowing machine deserves a look if you are on the hunt for the best rowing machines for home gyms.

It has 8 easy to adjust levels of resistance, a comfy padded and smooth gliding seat and the glider is at a 15-degree angle, giving your legs a bit more of the resistance than a flat rower will.

The best feature of this rower?

I really love that it folds up and can be stored in a corner or closet without getting in the way.

Pros

  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance – easy to adjust.
  • 15 degree angled seat – good leg workout.
  • Folding frame with wheels for transport.

Cons

  • Resistance is not very high.

Takeaway

An affordable home use rowing machine that is great for beginners.

Rowing Machine Buyers Guide

Follow my guide and I promise you, not only will you find the perfect rowing machine, but once you start using it, you will crush all of your fitness goals in no time.

Rowers may seem complicated, but many personal trainers are quick to sing the praises of the power of the rowing machine…

…AND THERE IS A GOOD REASON FOR THAT!

The best rowing machines deserve praise.

Erging is one of the quickest, most thorough full-body cardio workouts you can get.

The 2 most challenging things about rowing machines are perfecting your form, and deciding which one to get.

Full Disclosure: The truth is, a max effort 500m row is the most challenging thing about rowing. But I assume you have not tried that… yet.

So you have something to look forward to!

The kind of machine you choose makes a difference!

It would be a shame to invest money in a piece of workout equipment that isn’t quite right.

Consider this your ultimate shopping guide for the best rowing machine for home.

woman doing cardio workout on rowing machine

Why Buy a Rowing Machine?

Investing in a rowing machine economically. When you workout on a rower, you’re engaging your upper body, lower body, and core simultaneously.

Erging is a speedy workout that hits every key zone. Rather than buying multiple pieces of separate equipment and trying to get in a few separate sessions, the rower can do it all in one.

Still need convincing?

This 2011 study evaluated ergometers as tools for training and conditioning MMA fighters and wrestlers.

The study judged rowers an excellent tool for emulating the intensity of a fight, improving upper and lower body coordination, increasing aerobic capacity and power output.

Bottom line:

Any athlete who benefits from increase aerobic capacity and power output (aka ENDURANCE) will benefit from erging or rowing

Now STOP and Think About This…

How often can you access a canoe and lake? How long does it take to prepare for a rowing trip?

It’s a lot of work, and owning a rower makes a rowing workout accessible and uncomplicated.

Rowing Machines are Low Impact

The best rowing machines also provide a low impact workout, which is surprising when you consider the intensity they bring to the table.

There’s virtually no impact on your joints when you row. You’re building muscle and shedding pounds in the process, all without the risk of impact-related injury.

Rowing Machines Save Space

Rowers are a great option for people with small home gyms who may not have room for large equipment. Rowers have a small footprint and can replace several pieces of gym equipment, maximizing your investment.

NO! ROWERS DON’T TAKE A LOT OF SPACE.

Many rowing machines are designed to fold up when they aren’t in use, making their use of space even less.

A rowing machine is practical, powerful, and useful.

Woman athlete exercising on rowing machine at home gym

How to Find the Best Rowing Machine?

Picking the right rowing machine may seem tricky at first, but the process becomes a lot easier when you know what you’re looking for. Some rowing machines are made with a quick workout in mind.

They’re great for cardio, and a little bit of muscle toning.

Other rowing machines are heavy duty, and the resistance will provide you with intense muscle building.

If you’re looking for a rowing machine that can do it all, it may be worth spending a little more on a premium model.

When you think about the other equipment you won’t have to buy, the investment practically pays for itself.

THINK LIKE THIS: WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU!

If you are in the market for a new rower, it is likely you are looking for some additional equipment to your home gym or maybe a rower is the first piece of equipment for your home.

In this case, you may be asking yourself…

What is the best indoor rower?

The rowing machine you are looking for can be simple. The best indoor rowers are often the same ones you see in the gym. For example, the Concept 2 rower is indeed one of the most popular rowers found in the gym and in home gyms and is well known as the “CrossFit Rowing Machine”.

The main thing is understanding the differences between rowing machine styles.

Two young sportsmen training on rowing machines

What Are The Different Kinds or Styles of Rowing Machines?

What is the difference between an air, hydraulic, magnetic and water rower?

Every style of rowing machine is a little different, though they all provide a similar rowing experience.

Machines with fixed handles will generally cost you less money but will be the same as rowing on water.

While the workout will be mechanically similar to real-life rowing, the handles prevent it from engaging muscles the same way.

READ CAREFULLY AND LEARN THE DIFFERENCES.

The four different types of rowing machines are:

  • Water resistance rowing machine
  • Air resistance rowing machine
  • Hydraulic resistance rowing machine
  • Magnetic resistance rowing machine

Once you understand how different rowing machine types work and how they create resistance, it will be easy to select the machine and experience you desire.

Water Flywheel Rowing Machines

Water rowing machines provide you the most authentic experience any rowing machine can give you.

The handles are attached to paddles suspended in a tank of water.

Adjusting the amount of water in the tank can help you customize your resistance. Like real rowing, the resistance will naturally become higher as you row faster.

Because of this, you won’t have to worry as much about adjusting your resistance – you’ll naturally learn to row harder and faster, making your workout more intense as you learn and progress.

OK GREAT! BUT HOW DO I STORE A WATER ROWER?

Water Rowers are much heavier and a bit more difficult to store, but if you have space, these are top-of-the-line. Many can be stood up on end without leaking water.

Air Flywheel Rowing Machines

With an air flywheel, you’re basically powering a large fan. They can get a little loud, but the workout is great.

Like the water rowing machine, the air rower will offer you more resistance the faster you go.

Depending on the model you select, you may also be able to manually set the intensity by adjusting a valve that directs airflow to the wheel.

You’ll be able to naturally acclimate to the higher intensity simply by practicing and rowing faster.

Is the best type of rowing machine the air powered rowing machine? ARGUABLY, YES!

Many professionals say that this is the best type of rowing machine there is, and even some Olympic athletes choose to work out with air resistance rowing machines like the Concept 2.

man using rowing machine

Hydraulic Resistance Rowing Machines

These rowers are powered by hydraulic pistons, which are affixed to the handlebars. While hydraulic rowers may be adjustable, the way the pistons are attached makes the handlebars immovable.

For example, the Kettler Favorit Rowing Machine has 50 resistance levels to vary your intensity and add challenge to your work out.

Hydraulic rowers are best for arm workouts – they focus more on your arms and less on legs and core.

Hydraulic rowing machines are generally less expensive, but they don’t offer as much versatility.

If your main concern is building up your arms, however, you may find that a hydraulic rower is the one you’ve been looking for.

Magnetic Flywheel Rowing Machines

Magnetic resistance is a popular style of resistance on rowing machines. They require no air, no water, and the resistance remains constant throughout the stroke.

These magnetic flywheels use complex electromagnets to provide the resistance necessary for an intense workout.

In most cases, the resistance is adjustable, so you can amp up the resistance as you gain experience using your rowing machine.

With less expensive magnetic rowers, the resistance may not be very high, and you may outgrow the machine quickly.

If you decide to opt for a magnetic rower, make sure the one you’re getting can be customized to suit your needs.

people working out on rowing machines in CrossFit gym

How Easy or Hard is it to Maintain a Rowing Machine?

It depends on the type of rowing machine you choose.

How to Maintain a Water Rower?

If you have a water resistance rowing machine you might need to change or add some water from time to time. Generally, you change the water in a water rower every 6 months.

Several models listed in the reviews above will not need a water change for many years. There are also maintenance free models if that is important to you.

Need more info? Check out this quick WaterRower maintenance video.

How do I Lubricate a Rowing Machine?

The rolling and sliding parts of each rower should be lubricated in order to keep the motion smooth and working well.

Everything else depends on how you use the machine. Use it right, and there should be no significant problems with any of the models I have reviewed!

Here are some specifics on how to maintain your rower. This video takes you to step by step and shows you how to clean the rail, maintaining and oiling the chain and more.

Is There a Way to Reduce the Noise on My Rowing Machine?

Not really!

If you are looking for a quiet piece of equipment, you might want to consider a water resistance rowing machine. They are known to be quieter than any other types of rowing machines.

You can try and reduce the vibration the machine creates by placing a stable piece of fabric under the legs of the rowing machine.

people in CrossFit gym

How You Can Get the Most out of Rowing and How To Use

Erging is a technical movement, and if you want to get the most out of rowing, you must learn to row correctly.

Here are some tips to get you on track.

  • You row in a two to one ratio. Take 2 beats to slide up the track, and one beat to slide down. Get this rhythm down and you will be off to a good start.
  • Your hands need to stay level, and above your knees as you row. If your hands are bouncing up and down in order to clear your knees your stroke is misaligned.
  • Your hands should stay on the same plane. If they have to jump over your knees when you come up the slide, your stroke is off. The movement progression is as follows.
  • As you row, do not curve your back.
  • Pull the rower handle to your chest, pec height.
  • Keep arms outside the knees and keep legs straight.

Need more guidance?

This video will show you how to erg:

Looking for Rowing Machine Workouts?

This follow along workout is 20 minutes where the intensity increases each minute followed by a decrease in the same increments.

This is a mid-level workout designed to allow beginners to learn while still getting a decent workout. The workout is designed for the Concept 2 Rower but can be adapted for other rowers.

This interval rowing workout mixes things up by alternating rowing with push-ups, lunges, squat thrusts and more. It even uses the seat of your rower for squat thrusts. It’s really a killer workout!

Just so you know, British Rowing, has many great rowing workout videos just as good as the one above. Check them out!

Rowing Machine FAQs

Is a Rowing Machine Good Exercise?

Don’t let the fact that the first few minutes on a rower are easy, give it a minute or two more and it will kick your butt.

Rowing is intense! Yes, it burns calories, yes, it burns fat. It is an excellent cardio workout and it also strengthens the muscles used.

If you feel like you are not getting a challenge try a 2000 meter time trial. If you don’t feel it then, check your stroke rate and be sure you are pulling hard.

Try to stay near 20 strokes a min and focus on having an energetic pull.

What Muscles does a Rowing Machine Work?

Lots!

Nearly your whole body.

Specifically…

Leg Muscles used:

  • Gastrochnemius
  • Soleus
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes

Core Muscles Used:

  • Rectus Abdominus
  • Erector Spinae
  • Internal and External Obliques

Arm Muscles Used:

  • Triceps
  • Biceps
  • Rhomboids
  • Deltoids
  • Trapezius
  • Pectorals Major
  • Wrist Extensors and Flexors

Are Rowers Bad for Your Back?

There are a few rumors going around that the rower is bad for your back.

Let me clear that up.

Two things you need to know about the rower is that:

  • Form is everything.
  • Don’t crank it up to 10 just because you can’t feel it.

If you crank up the resistance because you cannot feel the workout, either your form is off, your speed is off, or you have not been at it long enough.

Think of it this way…

Nearly everyone can run their heart out for 20 meters, but how many can maintain that speed for 2000 meters?

It’s the same for rowing. It feels easy at first.

Also, cranking up the resistance while you have bad form, is a recipe for back problems. That is why some people say it hurts your back – because they are doing it with bad form.

Pro TIP: I really recommend watching this video. Good Rowing form will not come without practice and knowledge.

Is a Rowing Machine Worth It?

Yes. If done right, the rowing machine is one of the best cardio and full body workouts ever. You won’t regret having and using one.

Which is Better, Treadmill or Rowing Machine?

The truth is, whether you choose a treadmill vs a rowing machine depends on what your fitness goals are and what you actually like to do.

Both are great cardiovascular workouts and each has different benefits!

Keep in mind that running is more likely to cause joint and foot injury.

While both burn a ton of calories, running is harder on the joints than rowing.

Some say that running burns more calories… debatable, I know…

…However, if you use your rowing machine for HIIT or Interval type of training you’ll be able to burn a ton of calories without a doubt.

woman doing exercises on the treadmill

How Good is a Rowing Machine for Weight Loss?

To lose weight, you have to burn calories. And you have to burn more than eat!

The great thing about a rowing machine is that you can offset calorie overages or create a deficit quickly.

This means you can use a rowing machine to exercise with a HIIT type of workout. HIIT workouts are amazing for burning calories and losing some of that extra weight.

Rowing also uses the most major muscle groups at the same time and is an efficient calorie burner.

How Much Does a Rowing Machine Cost?

The cost of a rowing machine varies a lot. Like anywhere from 200 dollars to 1500 dollars. The most popular rowing machine, the Concept 2 rower falls between these two extremes and runs a little under 1000 dollars, while the Velocity Rower, which is a great rower too, is about half the price of the concept 2.

So you really need to do your research and consider your budget before you choose.

There are different quality rowing machines in all price categories which means you can simply follow my recommendations to find the one that fits you and the size of your wallet.

REMEMBER! QUALITY COMES AT A PRICE.

I have tried out different rowing machines ranging in a price range from a couple of hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars, and speak from experience.

What Rowing Machine Should I Get?

Before making the decision you should consider a couple of things:

  • How often will you use the rowing machine?
  • What is your price range or budget?
  • How often do you plan to work out?
  • How many people will be using it?
  • Do you want to track your progress?

Finding answers to these questions will allow you to find the best rowing machine for your home gym.

Be sure to check out my list of 21 rowing machine reviews above. The list covers all price ranges and styles of rowers available.

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