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Rowing Machines

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An indoor rowing machine allows you to maximize your workout by engaging a large number of muscles in your upper body and legs simultaneously. The result is a multi-faceted total body workout that helps to develop your cardiovascular system and burn calories while minimizing stress and impact across your body.

Take some time to learn about these different rowing machine types; you may even find your new favorite piece of exercise equipment among them!

Air-Resistance Rowing Machines

Air rowing machines are unique primarily because of their use of wind as resistance medium. This is accomplished through the use of a flywheel mechanism which is activated as the user commands a pulling motion. In effect, the harder your pull, the more resistance you’ll receive and the more strenuous your workout on this indoor rowing machine will become.

Out of the several rowing machine types, air-resistance rowing machines place a heavy emphasis on variability in their output. This is because its degree of resistance is constantly adjusting based upon how hard and fast the user draws on the core flywheel. The resulting ability to adjust intensity without changing any settings has made these models popular with HIIT (high intensity interval training) and CrossFit practitioners.

Out of the primary rowing machine types, air-resistance models are often hailed for their smooth operation and ability to similar in-water rowing on land. This quality has made them a favorite of professional and amateur rowers who are seeking a more affordable option when compared to water-resistance rowing machines.

If you're going to check out an air-resistance rowing machine, consider giving the Body-Solid R300 a look. As one of the most popular air-resistance models on the market today, you’ll find this model everywhere from local gyms to professional training complexes. This is likely due to this model’s ability to minimize operational noise while remaining durable enough to withstand year after year of heavy use.

Water-Resistance Rowing Machines

As you may expect, water-resistance rowing machines are designed to perfectly replicate the feeling of realistic rowing by using water as the resistance medium. These machines don’t require a huge pool of water, though; instead, they often use a purpose-built water chamber in order to house the all-important resistance medium in a compact, low maintenance set up.

As a result of its primary resistance medium, water-resistance models are unrivaled in their ability to mimic the experience of live rowing on the water. This experience is primarily a result of the strength needed to overcome the chambered water’s drag, which other rowing machine types cannot simulate one-for-one. Also, most water-resistance models operate silently, save for the rhythmic whoosh of water inside the core chamber as you complete each stroke.

Water-resistance rowing machines are also unique in their method of increasing its weight-based resistance. Just as you add additional weights in order to increase your bench press resistance, you can increase your workload on these machines by adding more water to the core chamber. Doing so makes the simulated rowing craft heavier, requiring the user to “push” more water in order to impel the craft forward.

The Life Fitness HX Rower is one of the best home rowing options you can reach for in this class. Other rowing machines of this type tend to be expensive. But this model maintains a respectable price point while providing all of the quality of pricier models. This includes a majority-wood frame with a reliable core water chamber that won’t leak due to high-intensity workouts.

Magnetic-Resistance Rowing Machines

As its name suggests, a magnetic-resistance rowing machine uses a unique system of magnetic mechanism to simulate the resistance associated with live rowing. Like an air-resistance rowing machine, a user’s effort on these machines engages a central flywheel. However, rather than producing wind, this type of flywheel is magnetic, causing it to gain more resistance depending on how close or far out the machine’s secondary magnetic components are adjusted.

Many modern magnetic-resistance rowing machines operate smoothly, though they generally cannot compare to the performance output by water- and air-resistance models. That being said, magnetic-resistance models are certainly the best option for folks who fully want to engage with the benefits of rowing-type exercises without any intention of ever applying them to a real-life rowing scenario.

Out of all three rowing machine types, magnetic-resistance models tend to provide the most affordable price range. As a result, this type of rowing machine is favored by folks who are merely experimenting with the exercise type or have begun using their rowing machine exclusively for a specific fitness regime like CrossFit.

The Bodycraft VR400 Rowing Machine is one worthwhile option in this class that prospective rowers like you shouldn’t overlook. This model’s magnetic braking and diagnostics system is particularly user-friendly due to its digital interface. Moreover, this model’s combination of thick padding and top grade rollers provide a comfortable and smooth performance overall.

Which Type of Rowing Machine is Best?

When it comes down to it, no one rowing machine type can be crowned the best overall option. Due to variable factors such as resistance style and price, each prospective user should choose their new rowing machine based upon their individual needs and budget. Testing out the three different kinds of rowing machines in our store is also the best way to learn what type of rowing machine you like best.

As you select which rowing type is best for you, consider how you intend to apply what you gain from engaging a rowing machine. If you intend to take your gains to the water and apply them to a realistic rowing scenario, an air- or water-resistance model will serve you best. Otherwise, you may consider a magnetic-resistance model if you’re simply looking to build your aerobic stability or a quiet smooth rowing machine.

In the same vein, if you’re looking for a model that simulates the sounds and experience of live rowing with precision, then you cannot pass up the chance to own a water-resistance rowing machine. However, if you’re shopping for a rowing machine on a budget, you should certainly consider a model with an effective warranty to prevent the need for a costly replacement down the line.