4 Types of Rowing Machines – Which one is the right one?


Move over Peloton! Hydraulic, Water, Fly Wheel, Magnetic? Which rowing machine is the right rowing machine?

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There are 4 types of rowers for sale from many different brands on the market. A basic rower can start at $200, but they can reach over $2,000 for some of the higher-rated brands. Hydraulic, Water, Fly Wheel, or Magnetic? Which rowing machine is the right rowing machine?

Investing in a rowing machine will be life-changing – I say that, and 100% mean it! Not only do rowing machines provide a solid strength training & cardio workout, but they barely take up any space and some are aesthetically pleasing *ahem* WaterRower’s rower.

Rowing has helped improve my stamina, endurance, and strength. I do kettlebell and free weight workouts about 3-4 days a week at our gym and then I use my rowing machine in our home gym 2 days a week because it gets in my weekly cardio. I used to love running (retired marathon & 5k runner!) but now I hate it. Unlike running, rowing is low-impact, meaning I can still burn a ton of calories and strengthen my muscles without putting added stress on my joints. I just pop on an episode of The Office or Schitt’s Creek and before I even realize it, I’ve been rowing for nearly an hour.

home gym rowing machine

According to the American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA), the rowing stroke is comprised of 65 to 75 percent leg work and 25 to 35 percent upper bodywork. That is incredible!!

Rowing targets 5 major muscle groups:

  • upper back
  • pecs
  • arms
  • abdominal muscles
  • obliques

Rowing also strengthens your leg muscles, including the:

  • quadriceps
  • calves
  • glutes

There are 4 types of rowing machines available and depending on what you are looking for, this list will help you find out which rowing machine is best for you!

water rowing benefits

Water Rowing Machines

This is the type I own. These rowing machines mimic how it would be to actually row in the water. The resistance comes from a “drag” that acts like the water you would be rowing through.

I have the WaterRower club rower and I truthfully cannot say anything negative about it. I find the swoosh of the water extremely relaxing. It’s hard to believe that something that sounds so relaxing can kick your butt in even just 10 minutes. To keep the water looking fresh and clean, I use Aquatabs. Each and every time I row, I like to mix up my speed, time, and stride count – this keeps my body guessing and evolving.


water rowing benefits

The new Hydrow Rowing Machines look pretty neato, too! So modern!!

Magnetic Resistance Machines

The resistance on these machines comes from a magnetic brake system. These rowing machines tend to be silent and give a smooth stroke for the rower.

With 15 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance, the HomeFit rowing machine will fit for the different workout plans for beginners or experts.

Magnetic Resistance Machine

Flywheel Rowing Machines

This rowing machine is also called an air rowing machine. The resistance on this machine comes from how hard or soft you pull back. Your pulling motion spins a flywheel, hence the name.

The NordicTrack rowing machine is a high-capacity rowing machine that has adjustable resistance levels, allowing you to engage in total body workouts customized to your fitness needs. This superior rowing machine allows you to train and target all major muscle groups while building cardiovascular endurance.

Hydraulic Rowing Machines

These rowing machines are great if you are tight on space or want a more budget-friendly rower. Hydraulic rowing machines’ resistance comes from the cylinder inside the machine and how much air or fluid is inside.

I know some people buy hydraulic rowers for their office and use it during their lunch break.

So, which rowing machine are you interested in? Do you own one already – do you love it?

different types of rowing machines

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