How to Buy a Rowing Machine

A rowing machine (or rower) provides an effective cardiovascular workout that increases stamina, upper body endurance, strength, and flexibility. The latest rowers have a chain or cable that wraps around a flywheel. The chain is attached to a handle you pull in a smooth movement toward your chest as you straighten your legs and slide the seat backward. These new rowers do a much better job of capturing the feel of rowing on the water.

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Forget the rowers with two arms that you pull toward you as you slide the seat backwards. You can never get the tension in the arms quite even, and the entire rowing movement feels sticky and unnatural.

Here are a couple of rowing machines to look for:

  • Concept II makes an excellent rower that is available through dealers around the country and sells for under $1,000. This machine is so good that the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team trains on it during the off-season.

  • Water Rower makes a good machine that costs a few hundred dollars more. The flywheel churns through a tub of water and makes a sound that’s relaxing.

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