Best Rowing Machines and Reviews of 2017

Chances are if you have not seen a rowing machine in several years that you are going to be surprised how much they have changed over time. Just like all fitness machines, they develop and improve over time, and help to maximize your exercise routine so you can lose weight and tone muscles more easily. The rowing machines have become popular once again, both with the average consumer and professionals alike. These rowing machines are appearing in gyms across the country, as well as many new exercise videos and workout routines. Designed to simply mimic the positive effects from water-based rowing, the rowing machine provides the user the opportunity to focus on multiple fitness components at the same time.

How Does the Rowing Machine Work?

The rowing machine is a piece of fitness equipment designed to give you all the benefits of rowing on water. This piece of fitness equipment usually comes with a monitor to track your speed, distance, calories burned, and power exerted. The basic design of the machine is comprised of a long frame that sits relatively low to the ground, brake flywheel at the front of the frame, handle attached by a long rope. The handle is pulled back towards the user, mimicking the motions utilized when rowing a real boat on the water. The seat slides forward and back each time the user pulls back on the handle, allowing the user to also engage their lower body during the exercise. The resistance created by the flywheel can make it easier or more challenging to make the motions, important as you begin developing your muscles during this intensive workout. The harder the handle is pulled back, the greater the overall resistance.

The Rowing Machine Exercise

In order to simulate the motions of actually rowing a boat on the water, the rowing machines provide the user the ability to make four unique movements that will help tone the body. The first position is the “Catch”, basically the starting position with knees bent and arms and shoulders relaxed. The “Drive” position is the power move that pushes the boat forward. In this one movement, the user pulls the handle toward the chest while extending the legs until the knees are straight. The “Finish” move puts the users fists at the cheat, torso leaning back, legs fully extended. The last move is the “Recovery”, the controlled movement of returning the legs to the bent position, leaning forward, and releasing all resistance.

Benefits of the Rowing Machines in Your Workout

1. Improving Cardiovascular Fitness

When you choose to workout on rowing machines, you are incorporating a more sustained exercise routine that helps to increase your breathing volume and heart rate. This cardiovascular fitness routine is not only great for the lungs and heart, it helps your body to engage all the muscle groups at the same time. This means your heart needs to pump more blood, delivering nutrients and energy to all your cells. During this powerful exercise, your body is also working hard to flush away lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Each time you use the rowing machines in your workout, your body adjusts so the next workout is slightly easier, in turn improving your cardiovascular fitness.

2. Increasing Endurance and Muscle Strength

Muscle endurance and strength are two completely different things. While muscle endurance is how many times you can lift a particular amount of weight, muscle strength is how much weight you can lift. The rowing machines give you the opportunity to increase both muscle endurance and strength at the same time. When you incorporate rowing into your exercise routine, you are repeatedly pulling and pushing against resistance throughout the entire time that you are on the machine. Increasing the resistance over time will help you to develop muscles and increase strength.

3. Low Impact Exercising

Unlike running and jogging, exercising on the rowing machines is extremely easy on your joints. Your feet will stay in contact with foot pads and the hands with the handle, eliminating any impact on your hips, shoulders, ankles, and knees, all prone to injury. Exercising on a rowing machine is perfect for those who are currently nursing an injury, or have difficulties during weight bearing exercise. This will allow you to work out longer without experiencing significant pain in the joints.

4. Working Out in a Group

Unlike the rowing machines of long ago, many gyms now have rows of exercise machines equipped with monitors designed to track the progress of the user. Similar to water based rowing events, now you have the opportunity to exercise with other users on the same pieces of equipment. Instructors can help motivate the group by playing pumping music and getting everyone involved with the choreographed routine. This fun option allows users to get the full benefits associating with rowing exercises in a fun atmosphere.

5. Low Cost Equipment

Compared to the price of other types of cardio equipment, the rowing machines are relatively inexpensive. The top of the line Model D Indoor Rowing Machine is only $850, compared to an investment of $1,900 or more for high-end treadmills or elliptical trainers. Excellent quality rowing machines are available on sale for under $300 in many online outlets, and will last you many years without issue. The newer style machines are built with high quality components that can handle daily abuse from any level exercise routine. Compared to the price of a gym membership, you get a better quality workout for a fraction of the cost when you purchase your own new rowing machine.

6. Accessibility to the Water

Not every person has easy access to a row boat and a lake or river, not to mention having to deal with frigid or extremely hot weather conditions. The rowing machines give you access to the benefits of rowing right in the comfort of your home. Once your new machine is up and running, you don’t need to worry about a life jacket or swimming lessons, just sit down and get started in any weather conditions.

Exercising on rowing machines is an excellent way to build up your muscle strength and control your training at your own pace. If you have never exercised with a rowing machine, be sure to take things slow at first and follow along with a trainer to ensure you are using that piece of equipment properly. Start slow at first until you build up the experience, then you can increase your workouts accordingly.

Paul Hickman is the creator of and writes reviews about rowing machines. You can see the most updated stuff on his website about rowers and other fitness equipment. These days it's difficult to choose the right machine out of so many options, so an honest review is all what we want.