Types of rowing machines

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Types of rowing machines

The Different Types of Rowing Machines: A Comprehensive Guide

Types of rowing machines, also known as ergometers or “ergs,” are popular fitness equipment that simulate the action of watercraft rowing for exercise or training for rowing. They are known for providing a full-body workout, engaging most major muscle groups, and offering a great cardiovascular workout. Suppose you’re considering adding a rowing machine to your home gym or are curious about options. In that case, this guide will help you understand the different kinds of rowing machines and their unique features.

Air Rowing Machines

Air rowers are one of the most common types of rowing machines. They use a flywheel to create resistance and are known for their smooth, natural rowing stroke. The resistance in air rowers is dynamic, meaning it adjusts based on the rower’s intensity – the harder you row, the more resistance you’ll feel. Professional rowers often use this type of machine for training.

Magnetic Rowing Machines

Magnetic rowers operate using a magnetic brake system to create resistance. They are typically quieter than air rowers and offer a smoother rowing experience. The resistance is usually adjustable, allowing you to set a specific level for your workout. Magnetic rowers are an excellent choice for those who prefer a quieter machine or live in an apartment.

Water Rowing Machines

Water rowers use a tank filled with water and paddles to create resistance. As you row, the paddles drive through the water, providing resistance. Water rowers are known for their calming sound and the lifelike rowing experience they offer, which closely resembles rowing on water.

Hydraulic Rowing Machines

Hydraulic rowers are typically additional compact and budget-friendly. They use hydraulic cylinders to create resistance, which can be a good option for those with limited space. However, they may need to provide a rowing experience as smooth as the others.

Combination Rowing Machines

Some rowing machines combine resistance types, such as air and magnetic or water and magnetic. These machines offer the advantages of both types of resistance and can provide a versatile workout experience.

Choosing the Right Rowing Machine

When choosing a rowing machine, consider the following factors:

  • Space: How much room do you have? Some machines can be folded for storage.
  • Budget: Prices vary widely, so consider how much you will spend.
  • Workout Goals: Are you training for rowing, looking for a cardio workout, or interested in strength training?
  • Noise Level: If noise is a concern, magnetic or water rowers may be more suitable.
  • Resistance Preference: Do you want a machine that adjusts resistance based on your effort, or would you prefer to set it manually?


Rowing machines provide a comprehensive workout, enhancing cardiovascular health. Whether you choose an air, magnetic, water, hydraulic, or combination rower, ensure it aligns with your fitness goals, budget, and space constraints. With a suitable rowing machine, you can enjoy a challenging and rewarding workout from home.

I hope you find this article helpful in understanding the different types of rowing machines and making a knowledgeable decision for your fitness journey.

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