Rowing is one of the best exercises for a full-body workout. It works your core muscles, as well as your upper and lower body. After a good rowing exercise session, you'll have worked out your deltoids, lats, quadriceps and abdominal muscles. Rather unfortunately, rowing tends to require a large body of water and a boat, not always the most practical of things to have access too.
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Thankfully, there is a massive market of home rowing machines that'll allow you to work out to your heart's content without even having to go outside. A rowing machine will help you build lean muscle and burn fat, so it's a great idea to introduce one into your fitness regime. We've put together a guide on what you'll need to look for when buying a rowing machine, so you can find the perfect one for your home exercise regime.
Best home rowing machines
1. Hydrow Rower
The Hydrow Rower is one of the best rowing machines not just for its smooth ergonomic design, but for being simply top quality. Hydrow has re-engineered the rowing machine with patented technology, making it feel like you're really out on the water. It comes with a 22" touchscreen display and front-facing speakers to really immerse you in the experience, keeping you motivated and enthralled. It's silent, comfortable and built to last. It comes with a one-year home use warranty, plus you can access thousands of live and on-demand workouts, virtually row through waterways and experience yoga, pilates and strength training workouts for just £38/month.Hydrow's Euros deal is perfect for anyone interested in getting started, as you can get £200 off with the code EURO200 until 11 July.**Pros:Immersive rowing experienceTop of the range technologyAll-access membership to keep you motivatedCons:**Expensive
2. Topiom Rowing Machine
A premium option, this handmade rowing machine is great looking. Made of wood so it blends in with other furniture, this rowing machine will make a brilliant addition to your home when not in use. The water tank allows for better resistance, helping you make the most of your exercise. It also includes an LCD screen to keep check of your strokes, calories and distance. You can even pair your phone to it with BlueTooth and track your performance.Pros:Looks fantastic when in use or in storageGreat build qualityQuiet operationCons:Expensive
3. Dripex Magnetic Rowing Machine
Offering 15 different resistance settings, this rowing machine will be perfect for anyone, regardless of their ability. The near-silent sliding rails are great, as is the shock-absorber that will make sure you are comfortable as you exercise. It also comes with an LCD monitor so you know how your exercise session is going.Pros:Very adjustable Silent operationCons:Not great for small-footed people
4. Opti manual rowing machine
Offering 12 tension settings, this rowing machine is a great option no matter your ability. It's one of the more compact options and can be folded up when not in use. It's suitable for anyone, regardless of their height, meaning even Andre the Giant could use this with ease. A faux leather seat offers greater comfort, meaning you'll be able to exercise for longer. A small console keeps track of your strokes, minutes, time and calories burnt. Pros:Great value for money One year warranty FoldableCons:100kg weight limit
5. Life Fitness row GX trainer
A great premium option, the GX rowing machine is designed to be perfect for both beginners and experts. With a smooth mechanism, it is easy to use which means you can go for longer in comfort. The quality is outstanding, even if the monitor is battery-intensive. Pros:Great quality Cons:An expensive optionGoes through a lot of batteries
6. JLL R200+ rowing machine
This rowing machine from JLL is a great option if you have limited storage options. The folding design of this rowing machine means it'd one of the more compact rowing machines and a perfect choice for a smaller home. Pros:Compact designGood quality Cons:Fewer resistance settings than other rowing machines
How do I choose a rowing machine?
When looking for the right rowing machine, there are several things you need to consider. First and foremost, think about your own height and weight. Some rowing machines have limits on these and it can potentially be dangerous to operate them if you exceed these limits.
Also, think about how much free space you have. Most rowing machines fold away when not in use, just be sure that you'll have enough room to use it safely. Nobody wants to put an elbow through their wall because they haven't got enough space to workout properly.
Finally, think about what options your chosen rowing machine has. Adjustable resistance is a must, and any machine that doesn't let you adjust it should be avoided. A monitor showing your stroke count, distance and calorie count is a nice touch.
How much should I spend on a rowing machine?
The great part about a home rowing machine is that it works out every part of your body, meaning it can easily become a central part of your fitness routine. Because of this, you can spend a bit more on a rowing machine safe in the knowledge that you won't be needing to buy more equipment to get a full workout.
Most basic models still offer calorie counters and adjustable resistance but are often louder to operate and are bulkier than premium options. Still, if you stick in a pair of headphones and get a good workout playlist on, you should avoid the worst of the noise.
How long should I row for?
How long you spend on a rowing machine depends on your intensity. For a standard workout, 15 minutes vigorously or 30 minutes at a more moderate pace will be sufficient. If you're looking to lose weight or gain muscle mass then it's a good idea to follow the same guidelines, but extend them slightly.
If you want to increase your stamina, then it'll be best you work for longer (up to 90 minutes) but don't go insane on the intensity (unless you like cramps).
What is a rowing machine good for?
A rowing machine is ideal for exercising almost every part of your body. It also helps with some of the muscles that can be hard to target, namely your abdominal muscles.
It is important to understand how to use a rowing machine properly to avoid injury and get the most from your exercise. Your rowing machine should come with a guide on how to correctly use it, so as long as you follow those instructions, you should be fine.