Types Of Rowing Machine

Types Of Rowing Machine

It is a mystery why rowing machines at the gym are often unoccupied. This kind of exercise equipment is known for giving one of the best full body workouts every session. These machines don’t just raise your heart rate but also tone all the important muscles in your body. Yes, that means the machine works both your upper and lower body.

Why do people still prefer to separate their cardio and muscle toning routines if there is one machine that cuts down your gym time without messing up your progress?

Is it because the machine is known to produce a loud noise? Is it because it takes a significant amount of effort and hard work to use the machine? Is it because it takes up too much space in your home gym?

Is it because you’re not sure about the benefits of using the rowing machine? If those are the reasons why you’re not using the rowing machine for a full body workout routine, it is time to change your mind. In fact there are several types of rowing machine to cater to your body’s needs.

Different types and what they offer:

The Air Rowing Machine – AKA Flywheel Rowing Machine

As the name suggests, this type of rower uses air or “wind” to build up resistance. To create the resistance, a user has to pull the handle which spins the fan flywheel. When the flywheel beings spinning, it moves the air in front and sideways. This creates a drag or air resistance which requires force to overcome.

When a user rows faster, the flywheel moves faster and hence moves more air. The increased amount of air creates more drag which requires more force to move. In other words, when you want to feel more resistance, you just need to row faster.

Air rowing machines have a damping setting which controls how much air enters the flywheel chamber. Having this control of air help control the resistance on the flywheel. Low setting will only allow a small fraction of air into the flywheel housing. On the other hand higher setting will give access to large volumes of air into the chamber.

It is important to note that damper setting is not the same as resistance setting. The setting does not affect the resistance but only varies the affects how the rowing feels depending on how convenient it feels to a user, that is, the user is able to set how light or heavy the rowing strokes feel. There is an excellent article which explains this in great detail by Concept2.

The Concept2 Model D and the Concept2 Model E are both air rowers. This type of resistance rower is favored by Olympic athletes so you know it’s a great workout.

The Hydraulic Rowing Machine

This type of rowing machine is the best for people who are looking to save some space at home. They are compact and also very affordable.

It works by using the tension created by the amount of air or fluid being compressed by a cylinder or by a piston. The tension or resistance is adjustable in these machines to give users the chance to build up their stamina and strength.

The problem with the hydraulic rowing machine is that they do not allow the user to pull in a straight line. This can be a problem when you want to synchronize your arm and leg movements.

The Magnetic Indoor Rower

Another popular type of home rower is one that uses a magnetic force as resistance. They are best for people who have sensitive hearing and prefer a machine that is quiet.

The machine allows for a smooth and silent rowing experience. The quietness of the machine is due to the magnetic resistance, which does not create enough friction to be noisy.

Rowing machines that use a magnetic resistance are a bit more expensive than hydraulic rowers, but it is worth it to have a silent workout.

The Water Rower

Rowing is a motion usually done when you are on a boat and floating on water. Therefore it makes sense for a rowing machine to use water as its source of resistance. These types of rowing machine emulate the strength and effort needed to row on water, which means it provides a more natural rowing workout.

The drag caused by the water inside the tank is similar to the drag on the open water. Rowing machines that use water for resistance are also adjustable. Add more water into the tank and you will feel more resistance and get a better workout.

A water rower is also a machine that is relatively silent. Since the drag is caused by water, users usually just hear the swishing of the water when they are rowing. The downside to this type of rowing machine is the preparation and cleanup.

Since you have to add water to the tank this can turn messy if you haven’t mastered the trick to filling it up. Storing a water rower will also require users to empty the tank, which is another step in cleanup that not everyone has the patience for.


There are different types of rowing machine that you can use at home with ease. Choosing one will depend on your needs, the space available, as well as your budget. Don’t worry, with a little bit of research and effort you can find the perfect rowing machine to cater to your needs.

If you aren’t sure about getting a rower for your home gym, try one at your local gym first. Get the feel of how effective the machine is at providing a full body workout. This way you can have a better expectation of what the machine can do for your body.

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