For a great cardiovascular workout that also tones the upper and lower body, few pieces of equipment can compare to a rowing machine. Rowing is a very demanding task. Have you ever tried to row a boat by yourself in the water? It’s not easy! A rowing machine will burn calories like nothing else and tone that flab into pure muscle.
Because rowing involves pushing and pulling, you are able to work your calves, thighs, arms, shoulders, and back. If you are in the market for a piece of exercise equipment that will help you build and define your muscles, read the following buyer’s guide and consider the purchase of a rowing machine.
Can the Average Person Use a Rowing Machine?
Many people incorrectly assume that rowing machines are meant for off-season rowers. While it is a beneficial piece of equipment for them to use, anyone can use one to develop his muscles. The motion of rowing is a natural one, so anyone can learn quickly how to use the machine. Because it is a low impact exercise, it is generally safe and will not cause injury to joints.
What are the Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine?
Rowing machines offer a cardiovascular workout without high impact. This means your heart and lungs will work hard without causing a lot of unnecessary strain on your joints, as other exercises often do. Many models are available with various resistance levels (which we will talk about later) that will enable you to get the best workout for your needs. When it comes to a total body workout, rowing machines offer just that. It has been reported by experts that only swimming offers a better total body workout. However, since not everyone can afford or find the space for a swimming pool, a rowing machine is often the most feasible choice.
How Much Will it Cost to Purchase a Rowing Machine?
It is helpful to understand what expense you are looking at before rushing out to buy a rowing machine. By having a general idea of the prices, you can determine how much you are able to spend, and you can narrow your search to brands and models that fit your budget. This also helps withstand the pressures of salespeople who may only have sales in mind and not your best interests. The last thing you want is to be pressured into spending more than you can afford. A quality rowing machine will sell anywhere between $600 – $800. While some models sell for less, it is important to carefully check the quality of those machines. Like most things in life, home fitness equipment is no different – you get what you pay for. On the other end of the spectrum, the best rowing machines sell for as much as $2,000 or more. Don’t assume that to get the best rowing machine you have to spend that kind of money. You can buy a very nice, high-quality rowing machine for much less. Your fitness goals, budget, and your expected daily use of the machine should dictate how much you spend and what brands and models to consider. You may be able to spend $2,000 but after you assess your needs and do a little research, you may discover that you can find a machine that is perfect for you for as little as $800!
Understanding Resistance in Rowing Machines
The main thing to look for in a rowing machine is its resistance type. Standard models come with one of four resistance types: piston resistance, magnetic resistance, air resistance, and water resistance. It is important to understand each type of resistance offered before buying a rowing machine or you could end up with a machine that doesn’t give you the workout you expected.
Piston Resistance comes from hydraulic cylinders that are attached to the arms of the rowing machine. Because of the compact size of these pistons, these models are typically not as large as other models. Many fit under beds for storage, so you dont necessarily have to find a permanent place for your machine. They are also less expensive than most other models, so you dont feel as much of a dent in your wallet. However, they often do not offer as accurate a rowing motion as other types of resistance models. While you will still get a good workout, the motion is not as smooth as it is with other types.
Magnetic Resistance is obtained by powerful electromagnets that control the resistance of the rowing machine. These machines are similar to the piston resistance models, but they offer a smoother motion and are nearly silent. One advantage of a magnetic resistance model is that you can adjust the resistance, changing it to provide the perfect workout for you. One disadvantage, however, is that they are not as easy to store as a piston resistance machine. Magnetic models have a long main rail that cannot be folded up for compact storage. This machine is best for someone who wants the benefits and has ample space to make use of it.
Air Resistance models are the rowing machines most often used by off-season rowers. The resistance comes from your own pace, with resistance increasing as your pace increases. This allows you to have some control over your workout. However, this model is not for everyone since it can be quite noisy. In addition, it has a longer main rail that often cannot be folded for easier storage. While the longer rail is beneficial for taller users, it is not conducive to compact storage.
Water Resistance rowing machines provide a good emulation of actually rowing. As your pace increases, so does the resistance. In addition, you are able to adjust the resistance and pressure by adding or removing water in the resistance tank. This allows you to somewhat customize your workout. While this may appear to be a good choice because it allows some flexibility, you should weigh the disadvantages as well. These machines are not as noisy as air resistance models, but they are second in noise level. Also, this model is best for someone who has ample space to allow the machine to stay in one position. Because the resistance comes from a tank full of water, the machine is extremely heavy.
What About Extra Features on a Rowing Machine?
Most rowing machines come with basic features such as rowing functions, speed, time, distance, and calories burned. Other models offer various methods of monitoring. Consider the advantages along with the extra cost before jumping into a purchase. In addition, some machines come with the ability to do other exercises. Do not spend the extra money to have this feature if you do not plan to use other exercises besides rowing.