Rower Machines – A Complete Workout on a Single Equipment

The rower machine is one of the most complete single-machine workout equipment today. It exercises the upper body including shoulders, arms, chest, and abdominal muscles as well as the lower body including hip and thighs. It also helps improve our endurance.

There are different models of rower machines, each of which have a distinct feel, use different mechanism, provide different results, and of course, offer different prices.

How Resistance Is Generated

Different rower machine models generate resistance in four different ways: hydraulic resistance, water resistance, air resistance and magnetic resistance.

The piston resistance rower uses hydraulic cylinders to provide counter force when pulling the handles. Many find this type ineffective because it limits the movement of the rower. The hydraulic cylinders, that are attached on the handles, have a fixed path when pulled and returned thus making stroking less accurate and uncomfortable.

Another unfavorable part of the piston resistance rower is the seat. Most of them are fixed on the beam, and this eliminates the leg drive which is a vital part of the holistic workout image of rowing.

Water Resistance

The water resistance models, on the other hand, use a brake flywheel system to apply counter force on handles. This brake flywheel system incorporates natural arm movements for a more effective and comfortable workout. It uses rope, chain or other flexible materials so you move freely.

On the downside, water resistance is noisy. Because the flywheel is submerged in water tanks, you will hear the rush of water displacing to and from and through the flywheel.

Just like water resistance, air resistance also use brake flywheel resistance but in a different way. A pulley system, attached on the handles, is connected on the flywheel which makes it turn. This means that if you pull the handles, the pulley attached to it also pull the flywheel which results to a resistance. This resistance may vary depending on how hard and slow you stroke the handles and all brake flywheel resistance work like this.

Air resistance rower machines are quieter and lighter compared to water resistance. You will only hear the wind blowing back and forth of the flywheel and not a louder whooshing sound from the water tanks. And because of that too, makes it lighter than a water resistance rower.


The last type of resistance is the magnetic. This one uses electromagnets to enforce resistance on the handles, also brought on by the brake flywheel system. This makes it the quietest of all the rower machines since it doesn’t have extra output noise. On the flip side though, it is also the most expensive of them all.

And speaking of expensive, the least expensive among these machines is the hydraulic cylinder resisted rower equipment due to its lack of desirable features. For those who want a more sophisticated rowing machine, you can opt for brake flywheel ones. They provide accurate stroking and also leg drive for a complete body workout.

Now that you have the idea on how rower machine works all you need to do is visit your favorite sports or fitness shop and check out these wonderful equipment.