Rowing is a full-body workout that has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its effectiveness in improving cardiovascular fitness, increasing muscle strength, and promoting weight loss. One of the main attractions of this exercise is the rowing machine, a piece of equipment that simulates the action of on-water rowing. However, with the rise of connected fitness, many rowing machines come with subscription models that can increase the overall cost of ownership. These subscriptions usually provide access to on-demand or live workout classes, performance tracking, and social features. But not everyone needs or wants these extras. Some people prefer a straightforward piece of equipment without any ongoing costs.
With that in mind, we’ve researched and analyzed three top rowing machines that don’t require a subscription: Concept2 Rowerg, Assault Rower Elite, and JTX Freedom Air.
Benefits of Rowing
Rowing is an excellent form of exercise that provides numerous health and fitness benefits. It’s a low-impact workout that engages all the major muscle groups in your body, including your legs, arms, back, and core, making it a great option for full-body strength and toning. Additionally, rowing is fantastic for cardiovascular health. It gets your heart rate up and increases oxygen uptake, thereby improving your overall cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
Because rowing is such an intensive exercise, it’s also highly effective for weight loss. It can burn up to 600-800 calories per hour, making it one of the top exercises for calorie burn. Moreover, rowing is a great stress reliever. The rhythmic nature of the exercise can have a meditative effect, helping you clear your mind and reduce stress.
What to Look for in a Rowing Machine
When purchasing a rowing machine, there are several factors you should consider. The type of resistance the machine uses is important – air, magnetic, water, and hydraulic resistance all offer different experiences. You should also consider the build quality of the machine. A well-built machine will be more durable and comfortable to use.
Comfort factors like the seat and handlebars are also crucial. An uncomfortable seat or handlebars can make your workouts a chore rather than something to look forward to. Noise level is another factor – some machines are quieter than others, which might be important if you live with others or prefer to watch TV while working out.
Finally, consider the size and storage options of the rower. If you’re short on space, a compact or foldable model might be best. And of course, price is always a factor. Make sure to choose a machine that fits within your budget but also meets all your other requirements.
How to Use a Rowing Machine Effectively
Using a rowing machine properly can maximize your workouts and prevent injury. Start with your legs bent and your arms extended, holding the handle. Push back with your legs first, then lean back slightly and pull the handle towards your chest. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
Make sure to keep your back straight throughout the exercise to avoid strain. Also, remember that power comes from your legs, not your arms. Your arms should simply follow through after your legs have pushed off.
The Concept2 Rowerg is a high-end indoor rowing machine renowned worldwide for its outstanding build quality and performance. It’s often the go-to choice for professional athletes and Olympic rowers, which speaks volumes about its reliability and effectiveness. One of its standout features is the PM5 performance monitor. This advanced monitor provides immediate, accurate data on each row, allowing you to track your progress and stay motivated. It displays a wide range of information, including pace, watts, stroke rate, and calories burned.
Moreover, the Concept2 Rowerg is designed with user comfort in mind. It features adjustable footrests to accommodate a wide range of shoe sizes, an ergonomic handle that reduces strain on the hands and wrists, and a contoured seat that glides smoothly along the monorail. Despite its numerous benefits, the Concept2 Rowerg comes with a hefty price tag. However, given its superior features and robust build, it offers excellent value for money to those willing to invest in a high-quality rower.
Assault Rower Elite
Next up is the Assault Rower Elite, a commercial-grade rowing machine built to withstand intense workouts day after day. Its solid steel frame and industrial-grade parts ensure durability and longevity, making it an ideal choice for gyms, health clubs, and serious home fitness enthusiasts. The Assault Rower Elite uses air resistance, which dynamically adjusts based on how hard you row. The harder you pull, the higher the resistance, giving you a personalized workout every time.
JTX Freedom Air
The JTX Freedom Air Rowing Machine is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t skimp on features. It combines both air and magnetic resistance to deliver a smooth, natural rowing motion. With eight levels of resistance, it caters to users of all fitness levels. This rowing machine comes with a multi-function console that tracks your speed, distance, time, strokes per minute, and calories burned.
One of the main advantages of the JTX Freedom Air is its compact design. It’s foldable, making it perfect for those with limited space at home. While it lacks the commercial-grade build of the previous models, it’s a solid machine for its lower price point.
Comparing the three machines
When comparing these three machines, it’s clear they all offer unique advantages. The Concept2 Rowerg stands out for its advanced monitor and ergonomic design. The Assault Rower Elite impresses with its dynamic resistance and commercial-grade build. Meanwhile, the JTX Freedom Air delivers a great balance of features and affordability.
Maintenance and Care
Maintaining your rowing machine properly can extend its lifespan and keep it working smoothly. This includes regular cleaning, especially of the seat rail, which can collect dust and affect the seat’s movement. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for advice on part replacement – some parts, like the chain or belt, may need to be replaced occasionally. If your machine has a water tank, remember to add purification tablets as advised by the manufacturer to prevent algae growth.
Overall, the Concept2 Rowerg, Assault Rower Elite, and JTX Freedom Air are all excellent rowing machines without a subscription. Each one brings something unique to the table to cater to different preferences and budgets. While these machines prove that you don’t need a subscription to get a fantastic workout, it’s worth noting that there are many great machines out there with subscription models too. Ultimately, the best rowing machine for you will depend on your personal needs, space, and budget.
Q: Is rowing better than running?
A: Both exercises have their advantages. Rowing is a full-body workout that can burn more calories, but running is more convenient and can be done anywhere.
Q: How long should I row each day?
A: This depends on your fitness level and goals. As a general rule, aiming for 30 minutes a day is a good starting point.
Q: Can I lose belly fat by rowing?
A: Yes, rowing is an excellent calorie-burning exercise that can help you lose fat all over your body, including your belly.