Which Rowing Machine Is Best For you?

Rowing machines may just be the underdog of fitness equipment as many are unaware that using a rowing machine uses up to 86% of your muscles. This rowing machine buying guide will take you through air rowers, pro-form rowers, and magnetic rower.

As it takes your entire body to mimic the act of rowing, using a rowing machine will be sure to increase your heart rate and get a good sweat going.

Before we get into the buying guide, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a rowing machine and why they are perfect for cardio and strength training.

Benefits of a rowing machine

Full body workout

Rowing machine workout

Everyone knows that the muscles in your arms are getting the primary workout when you use the rowing machine, but what if we told you that it actually takes your entire body to efficiently row. Contrary to popular belief, the workout is broken up into roughly 75% leg work and 25% upper bodywork.

The main muscles that the rowing machine benefits are the upper back, pectorals, arms, abdominal muscles, obliques, calves, glutes, and quads — talk about a full-body workout!

The leg muscles are the driving force of this machine as they will be engaged when pushing off the foothold which increases the strength and endurance in your legs. By using the rowing machine, you are combining cardio and strength training, meaning that you will get double the benefits with one exercise. A win-win in our books!

Available for all fitness levels

Low impact rowing machine

There is no base fitness level needed for this one; whether you are a beginner or a pro athlete, you will find an exercise routine suited to your needs. Using the console, you can set the resistance level and customise the routine so that you will get a beneficial workout without fear of injuring or doing damage to your body.

Not only is it great for people of all fitness levels, but this is an ideal machine for those with visual impairment. A study from 2015 that evaluated the effects of indoor rowing exercises on the body composition and the scoliosis of visually impaired people concluded that using the rowing machine can be helpful and have a positive impact on physical fitness.

Low impact

Rowing machine

Using a rowing machine will burn a lot of calories without the added stress on your body and joints. This is beneficial if you have an impact injury but don't want to lose your current fitness level. It's also a great alternative to high-impact trainers such as treadmills. As you can change the resistance on the machine, you can control how much pressure you put on your joints in the pulling motion.

Buying Guide

Now that you know some of the benefits, we have chosen four different rowing machines and will look at which one will be beneficial for you to purchase.

Hit Fitness Air Rower

Air rower

The state-of-the-art commercial Hit Air Rower uses a chain drive to provide a smooth feel and a digital LCD that allows you to measure your workout time, the distance of each row, total distance, and rowing time per minute. This machine is completely wireless and uses air resistance to replicate the feel of rowing on water closely. You can control the resistance by rowing faster or slower. The quicker you row, the more resistance you will encounter.

That's not all this rower has; if you don't want to use the air resistance, you can change it using the gear stick. With eight adjustable levels, the Air Rower really is a machine that tailors to your needs.

The footrest is easy to adjust, and the durable frame can handle any type of intense workout. It is foldable for easy storage and will not take up much room in your home.

It comes with four customisable rowing programmes and six quick start programmes if you want a tailored workout. There is also the option to free row if you want to get a quick workout in.

The Air Rower is perfect for anyone that wants an easy-to-use rower with hybrid settings, that is suitable to all needs.

Hit Fitness Air & Magnetic Rower

Air and Magnetic rower

The Hit-Air & magnetic rower, unlike the previous two mentioned, is a semi-commercial rower that offers value for money. The console has quick button access to recovery, start/stop, reset, and an option to change resistance. It also features distance, calories, total rows, and time. All of this will help keep you on the right track during your workouts.

This rower makes use of air and magnets to intensify your rowing— meaning the faster you row, the higher the resistance. It works by using magnets that get closer to the flywheel the more intensely you row which creates a higher resistance.

This budget-friendly option of rowers uses a belt drive instead of a chain to make your workout nearly silent. There is a folding option and wheels for easy transport and storage, along with an ergonomic seat and handlebar, giving you a smooth row every time.

This rowing machine is perfect for a beginner that wants added variety in their workout.

Impulse Ski Row 

Ski Row

The Impulse Ski Row gives you the best of both worlds. This machine can change between a skiing machine and a rowing machine. Change the Ski Row into an upright position to use as a SkiErg.

The Ski Row is designed to give a powerful workout and is low impact so you can get a full body workout without putting extra pressure on your joints. The Ski portion of the rower is great for toning and uses your arms, glutes, and core to use it. While using the rowing machine is ideal for cardiovascular strength.

This machine is the one to go for if you want a two-in-one deal without having to buy two different machines.

Pro-Form R600 V1 Rower

Pro-form rower

The Pro-Form R600 V1 Rower is another air and magnetic resistant rower on this list. There is an option to change the resistance with a sliding handle that will open and close the vents on the flywheel, allowing you to control the airflow.

One of the fantastic features of this rower is the space-saver design. While the other three rowers mentioned in this guide fold or separate for easy storage, the Pro-Form takes it to the next level. Easily fold this machine in half in one easy step. The folding mechanism of this machine makes it compact to fit in a small space.

It has a large LCD monitor so you can track your training, keeping an eye on your speed, time, distance, rpm, and calories burned.

That's not the only benefit that comes with this rower. With the Pro-Form R600 V1 Rower, you receive a 30-day free trial of iFit , giving you access to personal trainers, an expansive library of workout classes, and customised goals all through the iFit app.

This rower is great for any fitness level and is budget-friendly.

Proform R600
Hit Air & Magnetic
Hit Air Series
Impulse Ski Row
Grade Standard Home Standard Home Commercial Standard Home
Dimensions (LxWxH) 220cm x 55m x 66cm 215cm x 54cm x 95cm 252cm x 52cm x 108cm 244cm x 61cm x 36cm (Seat)
Dimensions Stored (LxWxH) 73cm x 55cm x 130cm 110cm x 54cm x 140cm 132cm x 52cm x 155cm -
Weight 39Kg 35Kg 50Kg 26Kg
Max Weight Capacity 115Kg 135Kg 150Kg 227Kg
Resistance Air Resistance Air & Magnetic Resistance Steel Fan Air Resistance Air Resistance
Foldable Yes Yes Yes Yes
Colour Black with Red Legs Black with Lime Green Detail Black and White Black
Rubber Feet For Stability Yes Yes Yes Yes
Console LCD Display LCD Display LCD Display LCD Display
Transport Wheels Yes Yes Yes Yes