When it comes to your fitness routine, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up. For a workout that is low-impact (a.k.a joint-friendly) but has a high payoff, consider rowing. It might just be the total-body workout you’ve been looking for.
“Indoor rowing is an excellent low-impact option for improving cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance,” CITYROW Go lead instructor Hollis Tuttle previously told Men’s Health. “Since it is a low impact sport, rowing reduces the risk of damage to weight-bearing joints, such as hips, ankles, and knees, which tend to be prone to injury and soreness when doing high-impact sports.”
But rowing is not only great for cardio. A good rowing workout can also help to build strength more than you might expect.
“The rower is basically the horizontal version of the deadlift and uses similar muscles,” says Creighton. “On the drive, the main focus is on the posterior chain—the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and spinal erectors are all being used. In the pull, the quads, forearms, biceps, and lats are used as well.”
Not to mention, rowing is just plain fun. In the market for an at-home rowing machine after hearing all the perks? Here are our top 20 picks for the best rowing machines to add to your at-home setup.
Related: The Best Rowing Apps To Download
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The top-rated Ergatta Rower (and Men’s Health Fitness Awards Winner) is all performance, complete with game-based workouts that challenge you daily. The rower is made for all body types, holding up to 500 pounds and frames up to 6’8″. Made of cherry wood, this sleek rower is a looker so you definitely won’t mind having it on display in your space.
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Created for commercial gym usage, you know the AssaultRower Elite will withstand even your toughest workouts. With a solid steel frame and parts that can take a beating, this thing will take your worst—and give you a full-body workout to make your body its best.
NordicTrack RW900 Rower
Want group fitness workouts in the comfort of your own home? This rower from NordicTrack has you covered. The RW900 has a 22-inch touchscreen, which allows you to take classes on-demand and automatically adjusts your resistance level according to the trainers’ preferences. You’ll even be challenged to go beyond just cardio, with strength training and yoga classes, too.
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Hydrow Connected Rower
Want the experience of hitting the water in the comfort of your own home? The Hydrow is another smart connected rower—but the focus here is on recreating the on-water experience, rather than that of an indoor fitness studio. Take live or on-demand classes or take an unguided “journey” to explore the water without leaving your house.
Men’s Health x Women’s Health Bluetooth Rower
$449.00 (18% off)
This MH-branded rower is a solid choice for beginners looking to get started with home rowing workouts. The rig has 14 levels of resistance, Bluetooth connectivity for data tracking and guided classes, and a fold-up design to keep its footprint small.
Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine
This compact machine from Schwinn is built to handle everything from basic workouts to intense training sessions. The rig has 10 levels of magnetic resistance to keep you challenged as you become a stronger puller.
Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
Thanks to magnetic resistance operation, you’ll enjoy a smooth ride with this pick from Velocity Exercise. Oversized non-slip pedals keep your feet securely in place, while a molded-foam padded seat offers maximum comfort. Fold and stow once you’re done.
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
The Concept2 Model D is one of the best-selling indoor rowing machines out there, for good reason. You’ll get a smooth ride with minimal noise, plus adjustable footrests and an ergonomic handle for maximum comfort. Once you’ve finished your workout, it separates into two pieces for easy storage.
Stamina ATS Air Rower 1403
Score a quality indoor rower with the Stamina ATS Air Rower 1403. As a bonus, the rower handle allows you to perform upper-body strength exercises, like bicep curls and triceps kickbacks. Built-in grip sensors measure your heart rate and display that info on an LCD display, along with speed, distance, time and calories burned. And if you’re tight on space, it has folding capabilities.
Merax Water Rowing Machine
$499.99 (12% off)
This unsubtle water rower doesn’t make any efforts to hide its tank. The company claims that its inclined position makes for a more powerful form of resistance to your pulls.
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Stamina ATS Air Rower 1402
Nab a smooth ride with a rower powered by wind resistance. The Stamina 1402 rowing machine also offers a sliding padded seat, adjustable nylon foot straps, and floor protectors to prevent slippage mid-workout. Fold it up for easy storage when not in use.
Life FitnessRow GX Trainer
The Life Fitness Row GX Trainer provides a total-body workout for users of all fitness levels, collapsing to store away when not in use. The rower guarantees a smooth ride and top-notch quality, as this rower is also made for fitness club and studio use.
Water Rower Club Rowing Machine
This indoor rower mimics the dynamic motion of rowing through real water. Customize resistance by filling the water tank with more or less water, as desired. The wood finish helps you feel more at home than you might at the gym, too.
ECHANFIT Foldable Indoor Rower
This folding magnetic rowing machine has 16 resistance levels that allow you to customize your workout. It’s also equipped with
an adjustable console, ergonomic handlebar, and anti-skid pedals for a smooth workout.
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JOROTO Magnetic Rower Rowing Machine
This rowing machine is designed to be super quiet, with a high-quality solid aluminum flywheel, aluminum slide rail, and no-touch magnetic resistance with up to 10 levels. Plus, the digital
monitor tracks the time, count, and calories.
Echelon Smart Rower
$849.99 (15% off)
This rower has some pretty sweet user-friendly details. Its device holder swivels 90-degrees and flips 180-degrees, and the resistance controls are located on handlebars for easy adjusting. (It also has a whopping 32 levels of magnetic resistance.) You can also subscribe to the Echelon Fit membership to get access to on-demand and live classes.
Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Bluetooth Magnetic Rower
$289.19 (11% off)
This rower connects via Bluetooth to track your workouts and give you access to classes in the My Cloud Fitness app. But this 14-level magnetic resistance rower also doubles as a resistance machine for other exercises like curls, upright rows, bent over rows, front raises, shrugs, triceps extensions, standing shoulder presses, and more
Mr. Right Oak Wood Water Rower
This 100% oak rower is for the sustainably-minded exerciser. It was designed to mimic a real ship but delivers all the tech of a modern-day rowing machine, thanks to its Bluetooth monitor. You completely control your resistance by adding water to the rower. The more water you put in, the more resistance you’ll get when you pull. It also comes with an electric water pump.
ProForm 750R Rowing Machine
ProForm 750R rowing machine has an oversize cushioned seat for extra comfort and 24 digital resistance levels that allow you to customize your workout. It also has a multicolor display that keeps track of your important stats like distance traveled, time, and estimated calorie burn.
SNODE Water Rowing Machine
$429.99 (14% off)
SNODE’s water rowing machine is designed to make it feel like the real stroke on the water. It has a large LCD console that displays time, calories, strokes, SPM, and distance so you can track your stats. It also has transport wheels for easy maneuvering, along with foam-covered handlebars and adjustable foot straps for superior grip and stability.
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