Air rowing machines are very popular with fitness buffs, individuals who do actual rowing on the water during good weather, and indoor, competitive rowers. One of the main reasons is the natural feel of these indoor machines.
First time users are surprised to discover that air rowing machines mimic the feel of rowing on water with a great deal of accuracy and comfort. They work on the same principles of resistance used by most exercise machines with air being the source of resistance.
On these machines, air fins on the flywheel produce the resistance as air flows over and around them. These fins resemble the blades of a ceiling fan. Dampers may also be included on some models of air resistance rowers. The dampers adjust the air flow around the fins, which in turn apply resistance on the flywheel, creating more resistance the harder you work. These dampers can also change how each stroke feels.
Because air resistance rowers are so popular with people who use them to improve their rowing ability or who are in training for competitions, these machines tend to be very well built and comfortable. Air rowing machines come in a wide range of styles along several price points, making them affordable for the majority of users.
Keep in mind, however, that there aren’t many budget models available because the equipment needs to be sturdy and offer a full body workout to remain the top choice of athletes. The seat on most models will slide back and forth so that the legs and even the abdominals are given a good deal of exercise, unlike inexpensive piston rowers, which usually have a stationary seat.
These are among the most popular rowing equipment options available, and for good reason:
As with any piece of exercise equipment, there is a downside to using an air rower, including these considerations:
Although these machines are more expensive than hydraulic models, they give you a workout that closely resembles the workout you get when you actually hit the water and start using the oars.
Are air rowing machines worth the price? For most athletes, the answer is ‘yes.’ For more casual users, it comes down to how realistic your workout needs to be and how much you’re willing to spend.
We're often asked what's the best air rower on the market today, and we'd have to say it's the Concept2 Model D. The quality of construction, natural feel and overall quality of the workout is unrivaled.
That's why it sits at the top of our Best Rowing Machines list, which actually includes some air rowing machines at various price levels. The Concept2 is just under $1000 on sale, so if your budget is a bit lower take a look at the other models featured on our expert's list.
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An incredible rowing machine with innovative technology and unique live and on-demand workouts.
BEST WATER ROWER
The XTERRA ERG 650W rowing machine is a stunning piece of fitness equipment and offers an amazing simulation of the feel of on-the-water rowing.
BEST BUDGET ROWER
A solid budget model offering great value for the money, with continuous resistance and ergonomic design.
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