Rowing Machine Pros and Cons: Weighing the Benefits

When shopping for an indoor rower, understanding the many rowing machine pros and cons is crucial to making a good purchase decision. There are dozens of rowing machines on the market by several manufacturers and they aren’t all created equal. Knowing what the benefits and drawbacks of these effective workout machines are will help you determine whether they are a good fit for your fitness goals.

Rowing Machine Pros

Most people want to know what’s best about a product before they learn about the down side, so we’ll start our list of pros and cons with the positive aspects of indoor rowers:

Rowers give you a very effective workout. You’ll burn more calories in the same amount of time using a rowing machine than you would on an exercise bike, treadmill or most other kinds of exercise equipment.

You work most major muscle groups. You’ll get an upper body workout, a lower body workout and an impressive body core workout as well if you’re using the proper form (In fact, proper form is so important, it shows up on both the rowing machine pros AND cons list)

Rowing is a low impact exercise. If your knees or hip joints are subject to pain due to arthritis, rowing can let you work out without jarring your joints.

An indoor rower lets you work out in any weather.

The right indoor rower is a great training tool for serious athletes who row on water in good weather.

Rowing Machine Cons

You’ll never find a list of rowing machine pros and cons that ignores the down side of using indoor rowers. Despite being one of the best fitness equipment investments on the market, rowers aren’t for everybody. Here’s why:

Rowing machines need a lot of space due to the flywheel or tank, the rails, and the need for enough space for a full extension of the arms and legs. They can be difficult to fit into a smaller house or apartment.

If you aren’t using proper form, using an indoor rower can lead to back pain or injury that can put you out of commission for weeks.

Because they are relatively large machines, many rowers aren’t easy to move and can’t be folded up for storage when not in use. Comparing rowing machine pros and cons for individual models can help you determine whether the one you’re considering is portable or can be folded and stored.

The amount of noise produced by rowing machines can be significant. Water and air rowers in particular make a lot of noise, making them impractical for many people.

Making the Right Choice

In the end, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether an indoor rower is the best choice for you and your exercise needs. While a list of rowing machine pros and cons can help you, there is no substitute for experience, so visit a gym near you and try out the machines a few times before making a final decision.

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Comparison Chart

Rowing Machine Comparison Chart

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