Rowing machines aren’t the most common piece of cardio equipment in the gym. Yet, they may offer the best full-body cardio workout. When compared to cardio machines like treadmills and recumbent bikes, the rower outperforms.
There are different types of rowing machines that can alter the tracking stimulus. Picking the right one for your home gym is imperative for your enjoyment, motivation and success!
Benefits Of Rowing
Rowing machines have a different movement pattern than most cardio machines. Instead of using pushing musculature, like running and biking, rowing uses more pulling muscles. Your lower back and lats get a great workout during a rowing session!
Also, your upper body and lower body are both activated throughout the range of motion. Using more muscles to move means a higher potential for calorie burning.
Rowers aren’t your typical piece of cardio equipment. They are typically long and skinny, making them easy to fit in a home gym as long as your room isn’t tiny. Many of them fold or tip-up when not in use, making your workout space more flexible as well.
Last, but not least, rowing machines are less stressful on your joints than high impact exercise like running on a treadmill. Lower impact exercise allows for high intensity but lower injury risk for your knees, ankles, and hips.
Various Types Of Rowing Machines
Magnetic Rowing Machine
Magnetic rowing machines create resistance with magnets. These rowers tend to be quieter than others, like the air rowers. The rowing motion is typically smooth and the resistance is variable.
If you need a quite rower for early morning workouts before the family is up but still want high quality, magnetic rowers are for you.
They don’t offer as realistic of a rowing experience as air rowers. Still, they are great for those looking for more of a general cardio workout than actual sports training.
Folding Rowing Machine
A folding rowing machine allows the unit to be folded to save space when not in use. Heavier duty models just tip up as a whole unit instead of folding while still offering the space-saving design.
More room in your exercise space means you can fit in more equipment. A change in the type of exercise you do is great from time to time, so you don’t want your rower to take up an entire room all the time.
Compact Rowing Machine
Compact rowers offer the flexibility of being lightweight and using a small footprint. They can be Hydraulic or Air Rowers that fold and store easily.
They tend to be more budget-friendly but also don’t offer the professional versatility of higher-end models. Still, those looking for a good piece of cardio equipment at home would do well with a compact rower.
Portable Rowing Machine
Portable rowing machines are almost always hydraulic. They are very light, can fold, and be taken with you wherever you may need a good sweat!
They are inexpensive and useful for those who have a fluid space where they sometimes workout and use it for other things at other times. You can create an entirely portable gym with cardio and resistance training equipment if you plan right!
Wood Rowing Machine
Wood rowers have a different look than traditional metal and plastic rowers. All wood rowers are water rowers but not all water rowers are made with wood.
The wooden water rowers are the top of the line water rowers. They use water as resistance instead of magnets, hydraulics, or air.
Hydraulic Rowing Machine
Hydraulic rowing machines are the budget friendly option for rowers. As mentioned earlier, they tend to be compact, portable, and lightweight.
If you have never used a rower before but want to try it out without spending hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars, a hydraulic rower is a good starter.
It won’t offer the same longevity or quality as the high end rowers, but it still provides a good workout!
Water Rowing Machine
Water rowers are based on using water as resistance through the range of motion. They tend to have a tank full of water that utilizes a fan to move the water.
The sound and motion are supposed to be as close to rowing on the water as possible. That’s why many rowing athletes train on water rowers if they can’t hit the lake.
Water rowers are typically more expensive than other types of rowers, so those on a tight budget will be looking elsewhere. But, if good quality is what you are after, a water tower is worth looking at!
Air Rowing Machine
Air rowing machines use the power generated from your row to propel a fan. These machines are typically low tech and low in maintenance as well. You can find a good unit while staying in your budget or find an expensive one that offers everything you could ever want.
They offer a close feel to real water rowing, making them a preferred choice for rowing athletes. Also, the faster you row, the larger the resistance becomes, making it a good choice for interval workouts.
Rowing For Weight Loss
Rowing machines offer a large calorie burn due to the whole body working during the exercise. Instead of isolated movement, like on an exercise bike, the rowing machine works your body from top to bottom.
This increased potential to burn calories makes it a good choice for those looking to lose weight. But, weight loss is due to calorie expenditure being higher than calorie intake. A diet is the best way to lose weight but rowing can aid in the process.
Finding the right balance of strength training, a calorie deficit, and cardio training will ensure lasting weight loss.
It’s Row Time!
Rowing machines offer a lot more than most cardio machines. The full-body workout and the use of pulling muscles instead of pushing muscles is a welcome change-up. There is a huge range of prices so any budget can make a rower work.
I also love to have my gym equipment neat and organised, for me it provides me with a workout motivation boost so I highly recommend allocating some space for home gym storage, so you are always ready for the next home cardio session.
If you choose the right machine based on your goals and needs, you won’t be disappointed. The workouts can be grueling but the results are worth it!