We've been highlighting our favorite fitness-related products all month long, from women's running shoes to home treadmills. Next up on that list is a less common piece of at-home exercise machinery but one you'd be smart to consider: the rowing machine.
So what are the benefits of this tried and true workout? According to Women's Health, you can target up to 85% of the body's muscles while rowing for one of the most high intensity workouts around at almost zero risk for injury. Rowing will raise your heart rate significantly, but thanks to the fluid motions it requires, you'll be less sore than if you had engaged in more traditional forms of cardio such as stair climbing.
In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, you'll tone an incredible number of muscle groups such as abs and glutes without stopping to do squats or crunches–it's an all-in-one deal. Core muscles are also activated, so your posture and overall strength will improve over time as you continue rowing.
If all that sounds good and you're ready to invest in a machine for your own home, consider our top picks below ranging from the very simple, compact machine to something more substantial that lends variety to your routine. As always, you can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
An extra-long slide rail makes this a dream for taller rowers, and the adjustable magnetic resistance has eight levels to match your increasing strength. The large LCD console displays time, count, calories, total count, while non-slip foot pedals ensure your safety and an efficient workout.
Nearly 9,000 ratings average a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, and users love how easy it is to put together plus the low impact cardio workout it gives.
"I purchased this machine about a month ago," writes happy customer Tom S. "I'm very happy with it and have used it every second day since it arrived. Assembly was easy enough. The step-by-step instructions and bagged nuts and bolts helped. Took about 30 minutes once I got it out of the box... I get a great workout. I can work up a good sweat in 15 minutes and the lungs are definitely pumping away."
Werecently showed you a Nordic Track treadmill worth your time and investment, so naturally the company's name popped up once more while researching home rowing machines.
Featuring an "Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel," 26 digital resistance levels and 10 levels of adjustable air resistance, oversized pivoting footrests, and a suggested 250 pound weight limit, this pricier model is professional grade for the serious rower who has a bit more room in their home to dedicate.
The tech specs are just as impressive, as the machine contains dual two inch speakers with an auxiliary audio port, a 10-inch touchscreen, and a year-long iFit membership to get you started on the right track.
This compact, affordable rower (under $200!) promises a full body workout using smooth hydraulics with five resistance levels, padded handlebars for comfort, pivoting foot pedals for smooth motion, and solid steel frame that holds steady while you work. While sturdy, the machine weighs only 27 pounds so you'll be able to transport it easily from room to room as needed.
Its digital counter is quite basic, hence the low price point, but if you're already using a smart watch to track your movement or don't need bells and whistles, it shouldn't be an issue.
"I purchased this rowing machine because I wanted to find an indoor exercise that was effective yet gentle on my joints," one buyer explains of their experience. "The first day I started with 200 rows and have worked up to 1600. I feel so much better when I do this routine and I've consistently rowed for two and a half weeks. It is quiet and light weight. Love it."