Often people associate the thought of losing weight with grinding out a tedious run in miserable weather like we have here in England. Therefore people will often look to join a gym to have access to a wide variety of equipment such as weights and some cardiovascular equipment. However the easiest way stay consistent with your fitness goals is to have the equipment at home, where you can quickly burn some calories and carry on with your day in the shortest possible time. Don’t be one of the post Christmas gym goers who soon slips back into old habits and instead get toned at home.
I built my own home gym however the majority of people just want to lose a bit of weight. Therefore you will only really need a cardiovascular machine such as a treadmill, exercise bike or rowing machine to begin with. It is obviously rather expensive if you decided to buy one of each, so I looked at which piece is most beneficial and went with that option, which is the rowing machine. I spent countless hours crawling the internet looking for rowing machines so here are a few I would recommend.
Rowing Machine Benefits
Burns the most calories
I live on a farm and if I’m going to run or cycle I would rather be outside doing it and I don’t want to waste my time, so it is important to me that when I am doing cardio I am burning the maximum amount of calories I can. Rowing machines burn more calories than the other two options. Rowing burns 377 calories in 30 minutes (185 Lbs individual) whereas treadmills burn approximately 325 calories and an exercise bike burns about 310 calories.
Help tone and increase strength
Unlike using a treadmill and exercise bike, rowing machines hit almost all the major muscle groups in the body making it a full body workout. Rowing mainly hits the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, core, shoulders, back and arms. This helps to tone the entire body and increase your strength, whereas treadmills and exercise bikes only really hit the lower body.
Improves cardiovascular fitness
Regular physical activity helps to improve your cardiovascular fitness meaning that your heart and lungs can supply oxygen rich blood to your body. Rowing machines are a great form of activity that will drastically help to improve your overall fitness and health.
Low impact so reduced chance of injury
Rowing machines are also very low impact which helps to prevent injuries occurring through issues such as joint pain which can be quite common in activities such as running.
Most people who have a 9 – 5 office job find themselves hunched at their desk for hours on end. This can lead to your back muscles becoming lazy, but by performing rowing exercises you can help correct your posture and strengthen those back muscles.
In the gym in recent years you will have seen spinning classes take off! But there is a new trend becoming ever more popular which uses rowing machines instead of exercise bikes. The rowing machine makes the workout a more “complete” workout as it hits a larger range of muscles than you do with an exercise bike.
Different types of rowing machine
A rowing machine works by making resistance against the athlete. This resistance varies as the harder the athlete rows the greater the resistance from the rowing machine. This is unlike a treadmill which has a set speed and will maintain that speed even if the athlete has walked off. That may sound a bit confusing but once you use one it will become clear. There are a few different types of rowing machine so I will briefly look at each type and what the difference is:
Air Resistance Rowing Machine
These rowing machines use a fan blade to move air through the machine. The athlete pulls on the handle spinning the blade. The faster/ harder you pull the handle, more air will be moved making a harder resistance. Some models also have an option to adjust the flow of air through the machine allowing you to make the resistance harder as you can vary the flow of air to the blade.
This type of rowing machine is by far the most common type and can almost certainly be found in any local commercial gym.
Water Resistance Rowing Machine
This type or rowing machine is similar to the air resistance rowing machine in the sense that you are turning a blade to create a resistance, however instead of air you are moving water. The water is contained in a tank on the front of the machine. This is another popular type of rowing machine as it is similar to the air resistance version.
Magnetic Resistance Rowing Machine
Magnetic Resistance rowing machines sound very complicated but are actually quite simple. This rowing machine uses the force from the athlete to create a magnetic field from an electromagnet which resists against the force being generated by the athlete. Therefore the athlete has to work to keep the electromagnet working.
Piston Resistance Rowing Machines
This form of rowing machine involves having hydraulic pistons attached to two handles (paddles) on the machine. These pistons create a resistance to the athlete as they act as a brake as you are basically compressing the air or fluid inside the cylinder. Some of these rowing machines are adjustable but these tend to be the cheapest of all the different types of rowing machine. The seat on this type of rowing machine is often fixed in one position so you don’t get the same work rate with the other options as you won’t be using your legs as much.
Folding Rowing Machine
If you are pushed for space around you home but want to get a rowing machine then it may be worth investing in a rowing machine that can be folded up to save on space.
Rowing Machine Reviews
Best Rowing Machine
Concept 2 Model D Rowing Machine
Out of all the rowing machines that I have tried my favourite one has to be the Concept 2 Model D rowing machine. They have this model of rowing machine in my university gym and always managed to give me a good workout leaving me with nothing left. The concept 2 rowing machine is recognised in competitive rowing as the standard for indoor training. The most noticeable thing about the concept 2 compared to other rowing machines has to be its monitor.
Best Rowing Machine Under £1000
Bodymax Infiniti R100 rowing machine
If you are a fan of the Concept 2 rowing machine but are a bit put off by the hefty price tag then the Bodymax Infiniti R100 rowing machine may be the perfect machine for you. It is built to a standard you would expect of a commercial rowing machine such as the concept 2 but costs a fraction of the price.
The Bodymax Infiniti R100 has a long glide rail, so if you are a taller person there is no worry of running out of room and only doing half a stroke. The display is nice a clear and easy to read loaded with all the features you would expect plus 42 workouts, you also control the resistance of the rowing machine on the display unlike most other rowers. You can also get an extra of a heart rate monitor for a minimal cost. Besides tracking your heart rate it is also possible to make the rowing machine adjust its resistance to maintain your heart rate at a certain level, which I found a fantastic extra definitely worth the expense.
This has to be the best value for money rowing machine on the market!
Best Rowing Machine Under £500
Kettler Stroker Rowing machine
The Kettler stroker rowing machine would be my recommendation if you are looking for a good quality rowing machine that won’t use up all your pocket money. This is a magnetic rowing machine that has 8 stages of resistance that have to be set manually. Being a magnetic rowing machine it is very quiet compared to some of the other rowing machines at this price. It is a very comfortable machine to use as I sometimes find I get a numb bum after 10 minutes of rowing on cheaper models, but this isn’t the case on the Kettler Stroker rowing machine.
Best Rowing Machine Under £200
Body sculpture BR3010 rower & gym
The body sculpture BR3010 rowing machine isn’t exactly the kind of rowing machine you would find in a commercial gym. But what do you expect for a 6th of the price! It has some nice features that are a great place to start on your journey to losing that wobbly bit of muffin top and toning up.
This rowing machine also has a fairly uncommon feature whereby it has a “gym function.” The gym function refers to their being two pulleys instead of one. This allows you to have two individual handles so that you can perform different exercises. You can therefore isolate certain muscle groups and exercise them such as arms, back, chest, shoulders and abs.