We picked the brains of rowing coaches, fitness experts, and physical therapists to learn what features make for an exceptional rower. Based on their input, we searched the market for air and water resistance rowing machines, then tested the best for ride feel and design. We found one model of each type — air resistance and water resistance — that felt truly superior to the others.

* While there is nothing to adjust from row to row on the WaterRower, it is possible to increase or decrease the level of resistance by changing how much water you put in the drum. The monitor is pre-calibrated to match 17 liters of water, but you can change that if you want. More than 17 liters = more resistance, up to the max fill line. This is not something you'll want to change frequently, it's more of a set-it-and-forget-it thing.
Water machines are generally quieter than air rowers - you can still hear the water moving in the tank, but users tend to find this a pleasant ambient noise. Water rowers also tend to require little maintenance. Because there's a tank full of water involved, however, these can be very heavy, and larger than most other rowers: if you have a smaller home, a less-than-permanent workout space, or you move frequently, these might not be best for you. And because they're so high-performing, they do come at a high cost.
The WaterRower Natural is handcrafted in solid ash and stained honey oak for consistency of color. The wood was chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, especially its ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the WaterRower's quiet performance and smooth operation. Ash, like all woods used in the construction of the WaterRower, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. In addition, the wood is harvested from replenishable forests and is hand finished with Danish oil to provide a deep luster.
There are 4 main rowing machine types that are classed according to its utilized resistance mechanism. Having an exercise workout needs to have resistance against the movement in order to provide to the muscles and the cardiovascular system a good change. This can be provided by the rowing machine whenever you pull its handle and then slide back to the seat. Having low resistance works on the cardiovascular system can make you row fast easily. Having high resistance means that it provides you with the anaerobic session, working with the muscles harder, also having a slow stroke rate because of the harder pull.
For a third option, you can look to hydraulic machines, which use pistons to generate resistance. Hydraulic rowers are quiet, and they also tend to be smaller and cheaper than other kinds of rowing machines, but you won’t get the same smooth rowing feel, or the consistency of resistance, that you would get with an air or water rower. What's more, reviewer after reviewer has found them unreliable and high-maintenance.

The OMNI T1X next-generation, cutting-edge, gold standard touring class open water and coastal rowing shell is available for purchase spring 2015!   The new OMNI T1X is 19' long with significant design updates to row and track well on flat water as well as be the ultimate performance and safe rowing shell rowing through chop, wake and swells found on magnificent large bodies of water.   We've modeled the OMNI T1X after the best features of U.S. manufactured open water shells and built-in the efficient, self-bailing open transom found in all European built Coastal Rowing Shells. The OMNI T1X is a versatile, adjustable shell accommodating both tall and short rowers of varying weights.  You'll find the slightly uplifted bow shape slicing through chop with ease, the self-bailing open transom efficiently shedding water against the roughest conditions; the long, tapered built-in keel tracking well and the hull shape & stabiity necessary to catch, lock-on and drive past the competition in the roughest of open water stretches. Meeting the maximum length for Open Water Competition Touring Class shells at 19', the new OMNI T1X is light, stiff and ready to deliver optimal performance for our most competitive endurance rowers and a boat to last a life-time for recreation and fitness rowers. 
Get the WaterRower Indoor Rowing Machine w/ S4 Monitor - M1 HiRise for your home gym! This exercise equipment targets compound mus...cles such as arms, legs, back, and glutes. It's the perfect workout as if you're actually driving a boat with oars. Its construction features an aluminum makeup with powder-coated finish--giving it high durability. Moreover, it boasts a patented water flywheel responsible for its natural rowing dynamic. Enjoy self-regulating resistance levels--making it suitable for individuals with joint concerns, along with little maintenance required by replacing the chlorine tablet every 3-6 months. Other specifications include maximum user weight and height of 700 pounds and 38-inch inseam. What's more, it comes with the S4 performance monitor that displays intensity, Kcalories/hour, Stroke Rate, Heart Rate, and more! So avail a WaterRower Indoor Rowing Machine w/ S4 Monitor - M1 HiRise today! read more
As with any fitness activity, it’s important to exercise with proper technique, however. The big muscles in the legs are where most of the workout action should be. Injury to the lower back can occur from bending too far forward in the row. It’s best to maintain a upright 90 degree angle to the rowing machine’s seat and slider bar. Using the legs for the motion rather than relying as heavily on the back or arms can help reduce the chance of muscle pulls or other related injuries. Always check with a physician before starting any new fitness regimen.
The First Degree Fitness Challenge AR (Adjustable Resistance) is designed and engineered by professional rowers and craftsman using only the highest degree of quality components – ensuring complete satisfaction in function, performance, and reliability.  With its patented Fluid Technology, First Degree Fitness has incorporated the truest emulation of sensation, sight, and sound of real on-water rowing captured in the private setting of your own home.
Rowing machines were first used in Archaic Greece. Chabrias, an Athenian military general in 4th Century B.C., invented wooden rowing simulators for his inexperienced oarsmen. This enabled them to learn technique and timing before stepping foot on actual water crafts. And it must have worked — Chabrias successfully led numerous naval attacks against the Spartans.
Wood is used for its unique visual appeal, but also for its ability to absorb sound vibration for smooth, quiet operation, as well as it's stable longevity. The Club edition rowing machine is handcrafted in solid ash wood and stained for color. It has been designed for high traffic or commercial areas, and its black rails have been styled to prevent scuffing. The other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which is more resistant to soiling than the Natural model. Each machine has also been hand finished with Danish Oil and Urethane for protection.
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Unlike most other non-combat sports, rowing has a special weight category called lightweight (Lwt for short). According to FISA, this weight category was introduced "to encourage more universality in the sport especially among nations with less statuesque people". The first lightweight events were held at the World Championships in 1974 for men and 1985 for women. Lightweight rowing was added to the Olympics in 1996.

The advantages with air rowers is that there is smooth action; there is only small wear and tear to its mechanism; its automatic feature adjusts according to your rate of strokes; and there is a wide range of the resistance readily available in replicating the feel of rowing through the waters. The only disadvantage of this machine is that it tends to be noise indoors.

Assembled dimensions: 83L x 24W x 20H inches. Total body aerobic - plus resistance - exercise. Folds for easy storage. Easy-to-use... monitor keeps you on track. American black walnut frame, some assembly required. Assembled weight: 143 lbs.. Manufacturer's warranty included (see product guarantee). American black walnut frame is handsome and sustainably harvestedWater tank ensures smooth-gliding motion and is easy to maintainEasy-to-use training monitor tracks stroke rate, intensity, distance, and timeFast assembly with only a 5mm Allen Key wrench (included)Smooth-gliding seat wheels mounted on durable rails for stable, easy movementHandlebars, seat, and footrest are comfortable and durableWorks 84 percent of muscle mass for maximum resultsCombines aerobic workout and resistance for whole body reshapingManufacturer's warranty included: see complete details in the Product Guarantee areaDisclaimer:WaterRower will not provide support or documentation for any product transported outside of the original country of purchase. read more
Both competitive and recreational rowing are unique in comparison to most sports because they exercise all of your major muscle groups. Everything from your legs, back, and arms are engaged while rowing. In addition, rowing is a low-impact sport. When executed properly, the rowing stroke is a fairly safe motion, providing little room for the serious injury often found in contact and high-impact sports. 1

The first known "modern" rowing races began from competition among the professional watermen in the United Kingdom that provided ferry and taxi service on the River Thames in London. Prizes for wager races were often offered by the London Guilds and Livery Companies or wealthy owners of riverside houses.[10] The oldest surviving such race, Doggett's Coat and Badge was first contested in 1715 and is still held annually from London Bridge to Chelsea.[12] During the 19th century these races were to become numerous and popular, attracting large crowds. Prize matches amongst professionals similarly became popular on other rivers throughout Great Britain in the 19th century, notably on the Tyne. In America, the earliest known race dates back to 1756 in New York, when a pettiauger defeated a Cape Cod whaleboat in a race.[13]
The WaterRower Natural is handcrafted from solid Ash wood, finished with a honey oak stain and danish oil. The WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel has been specifically designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving though water and is unsurpassed in its simulation of the physical and physiological benefits of rowing. WaterRower will not provide support or documentation for any product transported outside of the original country of purchase

Flywheel sits in enclosed water tank to provide smooth, quiet, self-regulated resistanceSeries 4 performance monitor tracks workou...t intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and moreHandcrafted rowing machine with "water flywheel" that replicates actual rowing feelStores upright; measures 83 x 22 x 21 inches (L x W x H) and weighs 108 poundsNo impact and Non-Load Bearing, perfect for users with Joint concerns read more


If you are anything like me, you read the negative reviews to see what some of the complaints could potentially be...I have found none that match with my machine or experience so far. The boxes it came in were a little bunged-up but everything on the inside was perfect. Only took about 15-20 minutes to build (first time building a row machine) and another 5-10 to fill with water. We used it for a little while before we added the danish oil.
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