Rowing Machine Buying Guide

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Rowing machines provide a pretty much unique workout. With a rowing machine (or rower) you get an excellent cardiovascular workout combined with a strength workout. Rowers exercise pretty much all of the body. Have you ever looked at an Oxford or Cambridge rower and wondered how they get so fit and well built? Yes, they'll train in the gym but most of their exercise is in rowing.

Rowing machines let you exercise your upper body muscles like your biceps and triceps, back muscles like your lats, core muscles (abs) and leg muscles including the calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes – all in one piece of equipment. Add the benefits of a cardiovascular workout and the rower soon becomes the most important piece of fitness equipment you'll ever buy. Depending on you goals, regular exercise on a rower can improve you BMI score, help you lose weight, help you gain strength and improve overall fitness quickly.

A rowing machine is a great fitness tool for men and women alike. When used at a less intensive level, a rowing machine is great for overall fitness, tone and weight loss. A twenty minutes workout on a rower like a Waterrower should soon give good fitness results. If you don't want to push yourself too hard, a rowing machine can cater for that. On the other hand, if you want to train more intensely for peak fitness gains, you can also do that too. For serious rowers we recommend the Waterrower and Concept 2 Rowing Machines for durability and ultra smooth feel. Both of these excellent rowing machines also have unique sounds which is a sometimes overlooked factor but makes the rowing experience more pleasurable.

When you are making a purchase there are several things that you need to take into consideration about rowing machines.

Warranty - As with any other piece of home fitness equipment be sure to check the warranty on the rower before making your purchase. Most rowing machines will come with at least a one year parts and labour warranty with manufacturers of higher quality rowing machines offering a two or even three years warranty.

Space – Rowing machines are usually longer than other pices of fitness equipment. The size of your rowing machine will depend on your personal preferences; if you have long legs then we recommend looking at rowing machines with a good length seat rails, whereas for a shorter user we recommend a shorter length seat rail which will mean your selection of rowing machines will include the more compact models. We recommend that before making your purchase you take some time to measure the space you have available and compare it to the dimensions of the rowing machines you are considering before making your choice. If you have a limited amount of space for a rower, there are some machines available which fold away for quick and easy storage.

User/Users - It is important to consider who will be using the rower before making your purchase. Different types of users may have certain requirements. Tall users will require a rowing machine which has a long seat rail and possible even be higher off the ground such as the Waterrower HiRise rower which make it easier for taller people to get on and off their machines, whereas a shorter user would be more suited to a rower which has a small seat rail.

Rowing machines offer a low impact, cardio workout which makes them suitable for most types of users. (For those who are overweight, and/or who have not exercised for a while, or who have any medical conditions we recommend that you consult your GP before undertaking any new fitness regime). Rowing machines are ideal pieces of fitness equipment for those who are looking to improve suppleness and posture and those looking to improve both their endurance and strength.

Types of Resistance – There are three main types of resistance options in modern rowing machines: air, magnetic and water (the fourth option of using hyrdaulic cylinders on a rower is a lot less popular these days).

Air Rowers - Air rowers are sometimes referred to as flywheel and fan rowers. Air rowers are powered by the resistance of moving a fan against air. The resistance on some rowing machines can be altered by adjusting a damper, such as the Concept 2 range, but on most other air rowing machines the intensity is increased by rowing faster, as you would if you were rowing on water.

The most popular air rower is the Concept 2 Indoor Rower. The Concept 2 Indoor Rower delivers proven performance and fitness benefits. Introduced in 2003, the Model D can be found in homes, health clubs, schools and training rooms and fitness gyms around the world.

Magnetic Rowing Machines - Magnetic rowers are designed to give you a smooth rowing action throughout your workout with the option of selecting variable resistance. They are generally a lot quieter than other types of rowers.

Water Rowers - Water rowers are designed to emulate the dynamics created by a boat in water. Waterrower were the first company to produce the innovative water-based rowing machine in 1988. The Waterrower uses a unique design to create resistance that replicates real rowing much more realistically that most other rowing machines available today.

As you use water resistance when using a Waterrower, you get a super smooth, realistic action that gets harder the more your push and the longer you exercise, just like rowing in real life. You'll also find the build quality to be superb on your Waterrower.

Each variation of resistance has its own advantages and disadvantages but it really just depends on your preference and fitness requirements.

Controls and Programmes - Rowing machines usually do not have workout programmes though some newer models with electromagnetic resistance systems (which may mains power supply) are carrying this feature.

PLEASE NOTE: Before starting a new fitness programme we recommend that you consult your GP or medical adviser
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