A buyer's guide to rowing machines
The rowing machine is one of the most complete aerobic activities, and for this reason it is a piece of fitness apparatus that offers numerous and varied benefits:
- · Workout is guaranteed with mild impact on the leg joints.
- · Tones the muscles, strengthens the cardiovascular function and increases stamina.
- · Involves a large part of the body: shoulders, arms, glutes, legs, abs and back.
- · Provides high level calorie burning and is an excellent complement to a weight loss programme.
- · Builds up stamina intensely and efficiently when practising any activity.
- · Like all aerobic exercise, it improves lung capacity, the heart and circulation systems.
- · Allows performance monitoring and adjustment of training rhythm.
- · Does not apply tension to the back or to the joints.
- · Increases the amount of endorphins released in the body, thus reducing stress.
- · Improves mobility and develops a correct posture.
When purchasing a rowing machine, we have to bear in mind certain technical aspects of the machine as well as the characteristics and functions, such as:
- 1) Rowing type according to brake type
- 2) Rowing type according to structure
- 3) Dimensions
- 4) Maximum Weight
- 5) Console and Programs
1) Rowing Type according to brake system
Hydraulic Rowing Machine: the brake of a hydraulic rowing machine is activated by fan with blades that is submerged in a water tank. As you pull the handles back to workout, these blades turn and generate resistance, also providing a real rowing sensation. You can fill the tank with more or less water to adjust the resistance.
Air Rowing Machine: for an air rowing machine braking is activated through a flywheel similar to a fan blade. When you pull the handles, this wheel turns and produces wind resistance. Therefore, the faster and harder you row, the greater the resistance you generate. So you can always control the training resistance. As with the hydraulic rowing machine, a real rowing sensation is achieved.
Magnetic Rowing Machine: the brake of a rowing machine with a magnetic brake is generated by magnets that provide braking resistance in a flywheel, obtaining constant, silent and smooth exercise. In this type of rowing the resistance is adjusted by the distance between the magnets and the flywheel.
2) Rowing Type according to structure
Central Pull Rowing Machine: central pull rowing uses a single pull technique, as you pull inwards with a sole movement. The lever movement is not guided and ensures a symmetrical pull and great fluidity in the workout.
Cross Pull Rowing Machine: the cross pull rowing machine uses a technique with two rowing levers, and the movement is crossed. The movement is partially guided, as the run of the levers is predetermined. Its main aim is to perfect the rowing technique.
Crossed and Circular Pull Rowing Machine (Scandinavian): the Scandinavian rowing machine, just like the crossed pull rowing machine, uses a technique with two rowing levers. The difference between them lies in the movement being completely guided, as the run of the levers is also predetermined. In this case, the aim is also to simulate rowing on a boat.
Central pull rowing machines are designed for complete cardiovascular exercise and to be included in every training plan, while cross pull and Scandinavian rowing machines aim to simulate rowing in boats and to train for competitions. Therefore, according to the purpose of your exercise, you may choose one or another.
Before opting for one model or another, you should check the dimensions to ensure that you have enough room for it.
Some models, even foldable ones, are extremely robust.
4) Maximum user weight
As with other cardiovascular apparatus, rowing machines also have a maximum weight limit.
It is very important to respect this limit to guarantee long term good use, and to ensure that the work is as efficient as possible.
5) Console and Programs
The console provides relevant information such as: length of the exercise, rhythm, strokes, number of calories burnt, etc. Information that will enable you to monitor your progress in the workout. The console of a rowing machine also includes different workout programs to make the exercise enjoyable and more attractive.
Information and programs vary according to the model of rowing machine.