Rowing Machine Buying Guide

A home rowing machine is a great way to expand your home gym and give your family another option for staying fit. This rowing machine buying guide will help simplify the selection process.

Rowing Machines 101

You don’t have to be an Olympic rower to experience the benefits of rowing. With a home rowing machine, you and everyone else in your family can add regular rowing workouts to your fitness routines. Rowing is a highly effective exercise because it burns fat and provides a full-body workout. When rowing with good form, you're working the muscles of your legs, core and back. To a lesser extent, you also activate your shoulders and arms. There are several different types of rowers. Your fitness goals and the amount of space you have available are two of the factors you'll need to consider in choosing the machine that's right for you.

Types of Rowing Machines


Free Motion Rower

Free motion rowers allow you to extend your arms as you row, simulating the actual motion experience of rowing a boat in the water. Some free motion rowers come equipped with monitors that will track the number of strokes and calories burned, and even keep a total stroke count accumulated on the machine over time. Most models will also allow you to adjust the seat and pedals to improve your comfort and optimize your rowing.  

Rower/Recumbent Bike

With a combo rower/recumbent bike, you get two exercise options in one space-saving machine. Both rowing and cycling provide a cardio workout that are considered low-impact exercises, so you could choose either on any given day depending on how you feel. Varying your exercises also helps to keep your workouts fresh, which can inspire you to work out even more. A rower/recumbent bike is also a good choice for families because it gives each member of the household more options to get fit and stay healthy.

Home Gym

A home gym system gives you several workout options in a single station, and many models include a rowing machine. With a home gym, you can easily mix up your routines, incorporating rowing as one of your exercise choices. The great thing about a home gym system with a rowing machine is you get all the benefits of owning a rowing machine, but you also have the other equipment you need to do a full-body workout.

Types of Resistance


Air Resistance Rowers

Air rowers create resistance through the use of a large flywheel with attached fan blades. Some models have flywheels that permit adjustment of the resistance level. For the rower, a side benefit of air-resistance machines is that they produce a cooling breeze throughout the workout. 

Hydraulic Resistance Rowers

For space-savvy and budget-conscious buyers, hydraulic resistance rowers can also be a good choice. These rowers are generally smaller than other types, which makes for easy storage in an apartment or office. Hydraulic resistance rowers also usually cost less than other types of rowers. The rowing action on these models does tend to be a bit choppier or less fluid than with other rowers.

Magnetic Resistance Rowers

Magnetic resistance rowers offer the smoothest rowing action of all the rower technologies. Another major advantage of this type of rower is that it's quieter than other rowers. 

Water Resistance Rowers

Water resistance rowers create resistance through the use of water pressure. If you're looking to recreate the experience of rowing an actual boat, this type of rower will get you closer than any other. Water resistance rowers are often used by competitive rowers in their training routines. A downside of water resistance rowers is they can be noisy during operation.

Rowing Machine Safety Tips:

• Never wear loose fitting clothing while using a rowing machine as it may catch on the moving parts
• Always inspect the machine carefully before use
• Never allow unsupervised children to play or tamper with your rowing machine
• If the machine malfunctions stop using it immediately: consult your warranty options or have it repaired professionally

Rowing Machine Features

Bar or Handle +

The bar or handle is the part of the rowing machine that you grip and pull toward yourself to create the rowing motion. The handle is attached to the rower by a cable. When shopping for a rowing machine, you should consider how the grip will feel in your hands as part of your selection process.

Flywheel +

The flywheel is part of the mechanism that creates the resistance you encounter during rowing. The different types of rowers use a variety of different methods to produce the actual resistance. Many machines allow you to control the level of resistance by adjusting the drag on the spinning flywheel.

Saddle or Seat +

The saddle or seat of a rowing machine is a key to user comfort and performance. Some seats are stationary while others slide back and forth. A sliding seat enhances the aerobic aspect of your workout.

Console +

Some rowing machines feature a digital console that tracks various aspects of your workout. Depending on the model, the console could track one or more of your stroke rate, speed, time, calories burned, distance rowed and heart rate.

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Rowing Machine Maintenance Tips:

• Use a cloth and disinfectant spray to clean your machine thoroughly every few weeks
• Spray the pedals directly to get rid of dirt or grime
• Wipe down the handles and seat after every use
• Lubricate all moving parts with a spray lube
• Tighten any loose bolts and screws regularly

Avoiding Injury

In order to avoid injury when learning how to row, you should consider working with an experienced trainer or rower. When leaning forward or backward, ensure you keep your upper body straight. Be sure to power your initial stroke with your legs rather than your back. This is a common mistake that can lead to injury. 
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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