For a truly all-round workout, there's nothing like using a rowing machine. Perfect to work on your breathing and for toning muscles, it is a really efficient device. Read our tips for choosing the right rowing machine for you.
Before you choose which machine you want, here are some good reasons for investing in one
This machine, which allows you to replicate the rowing experience, provides a versatile and complete workout. Additionally, it allows you to:
work out nearly all of your body's muscles
simultaneously combine cardio training and body training
quickly achieve satisfying physical results
increase your body's flexibility and build muscle evenly
Taken together, these qualities make rowing machines a key staple of fitness gyms. However, while it seems relatively simple to use, it's important that you perform the exercise routine correctly to avoid over-straining your back, which can lead to injury. For this reason, rowing is not recommended for those suffering from lower back problems.
Which rowing machine for which use
Each rowing machine is designed to provide an ideal level of comfort based on the desired target objectives. Therefore, your intended use is the number one factor that should influence your selection of a rowing machine. Are you seeking to experience the full sensations of rowing in the comfort of your home? Are you looking to take up a full and well-rounded workout experience? Do you wish to perform more intense workouts as part of a sports training programme?
Rowing machines are differentiated by the type of pull system they use. There are two different systems that provide two different ways of rowing, each with their own set of objectives.
The "Scandinavian/Latin" pull system:
This is the recommended type for those seeking a sensation that is as close to actual rowing as possible. This system seeks to reproduce the motion used in rowing as faithfully as possible. It fully works out the entire back. Please note that the "correct" motion requires excellent coordination and is fairly difficult to master especially if you have never done rowing before.
Are you looking for a full and well-rounded workout experience? Or are you looking for a more intensive (athletic) workout? The advantages of the central pull system have made it the most widespread type of rowing machine both for home and gym use. It provides a symmetric pull and a very fluid movement. This makes it easier to focus on positioning your body correctly (back straight, abs tight, etc.) for a workout that is both comfortable and effective.
Features and their respective benefits
There are two main types of resistance:
Magnetically-driven resistance: this system is very easy to use and the quietest. Turning a wheel pulls on a cable that brings a magnet closer to the fly wheel, increasing the resistance and the difficulty level of the pull. There is no friction involved, which makes it silent! This is especially useful for rowing without disturbing the neighbours or waking sleeping children.
Air-driven resistance: This type of system has the advantage of allowing you to very gradually increase the level of difficulty of your exercises, with a near infinite number of resistance settings!The harder you pull, the greater the amount of resistance. The amount of air entering the pneumatic chamber can be regulated, regulating the level of resistance.
Most consoles provide the same basic information: speed, distance travelled, exercise time, average calories burned. An accurate heart rate reading can be displayed using a heart-rate belt, which may either come with the machine or as a separate option. Lastly, certain models provide built-in training programmes.
Fitting it into your home
Compact: some rowing machine models have a clever fold-down mechanism for easy storage. This can prove very useful for those with limited space at home.