Hydraulic rowing machine: What is so special about them, and how do they function?
Let us answer these questions one after another:
How it works
This type of rower has one piston like the SF-RW1205 model or two pistons like the ProGear 750 Rower. These pistons are usually filled with fluids. Its hydraulic resistance system reproduces the same realistic and harmonious feeling as training in a natural environment. This device reacts to your movements. In fact, the more energetic and vigorous your traction movements, the stronger the resistance. There is usually a digital console to measure your efforts; the distance traveled, the calories expended, etc. Depending on your initial objectives (weight loss, sports training, gaining muscle mass, etc.), certain models of rowers offer playful training programs.
The main advantages of the hydraulic rower
The hydraulic rower is much quieter than traditional rower models. This is because your movements are smoother and easier to make than with rowers equipped with mechanical motors. This device also offers unprecedented realism, if you want to rediscover the feeling, the dynamism, and the amplitude of a real paddle stroke in the water. But if you want to get the feeling of the real water resistance, you’d better opt for the best water rowing machine.
How to choose a rowing machine
The rower is one of the most complete fitness equipment. It is often compared to the exercise bike, the elliptical trainer, or the treadmill, especially with a high weight capacity. It not only burns a large number of calories, but it also works for several muscle groups without affecting your joints. The part of the buying guide below aims to clarify the essential criteria for choosing the right rower.
Features to consider when selecting a hydraulic rowing machine
Do not underestimate the following features when buying a new hydraulic rowing machine, because all types of rowing machines have something unique about them, no matter whether a magnetic rower or a water rower:
These generally silent devices create resistance by compressing the air in the piston at the front of the device. The level of resistance offered will determine how easy to use it can be. The more the levels of resistance, the more it can be suitable for both expert and novice rowers. Therefore, the more the resistance level, the easier the adjustability, and the more suitable it will be for beginners. So, would you like to grow from a greenhorn to an experienced professional quickly? Then, choose a model with at least 12 resistance levels like the Sunny health and fitness (SF-RW5639, SF-RW1205, and SF-RW1410) models.
To find a model suitable for your body type and size, take into account the length of the device’s rail. In fact, the longer the rail, the more comfortable you will be if you are tall! Conversely, if you’re short, you’ll need a model with a shorter rail.
Comfort level (seat, pedals, and handlebars)
In choosing a rower, priority must be given to comfort. Remember you will have to work for hours sitting on your machine to exert significant forces. In order not to be uncomfortable from your sitting position, have blisters in your hands, improper position of the feet or even noise, pay particular attention to the following:
- The seat: it is important that the seat is a sliding one to allow the lower body to exercise out. In principle, this is the case for most rowers. It should be comfortable, if possible padded, ergonomic and wide. It should not make any noise when sliding on the chassis. Its movement must be fluid. The ideal is a seat with ball bearings. It is preferable that it is also adjustable, especially if several people of different sizes will use it.
- The lifting beam (handles or pull bar): it must be comfortable to limit the risk of having blisters. Choose a model whose handles are ergonomic. It should have a shape designed for the hands and if possible non-slippery.
- The pedals: The pedals must be solid, wide, stable, and comfortable. To prevent your feet from slipping during exercise, they must be non-slip or have a tightening system (straps for example). Some devices offer height-adjustable pedals.
The electronic console
It is the on-board computer of your rower. It is more or less sophisticated depending on the device. It controls your session and displays the data relating to your training. Depending on the machines, it can show the training time, speed, number of strokes, distance covered, heart rate, calories expended, cadence, speed, etc. It can include training programs and exercises to optimize your session or motivate you. It can optionally adjust the resistance of your device according to your objectives.
There are consoles that display instructions to follow (like a sports coach). This helps you optimize your session, work on certain muscles, or advise you.
Preferably, choose a console that is sufficiently legible and bright. If the data displayed is important to you or if you are a professional user, choose a console with several display windows. This will allow you to see the different training data at a glance without having to stop exercising. But for most single display consoles, there is a SCAN function that alternately displays the different screens.
Steel, aluminum, and some plastic components are mainly used in the construction of rowers. However, there are exceptions. Other commonly seen types are handmade wooden models. You have to be attentive to the robustness of the product. If you opt for an entry-level model, the lifespan is usually 1 to 2 years in the best cases. This is why it’s rarer finding entry-level models with a minimum of a one-year warranty. Intermediate and luxurious models can usually last for many years.
The rower must be chosen according to your weight and/or the other users’. For example, ask yourself if you weigh below or just a bit above the 200-pound mark. In this case, most of the hydraulic rowers will suit you. However, if you’re really weighty (close to or above 300 pounds), then you need the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5639. This model can hold users who weigh up to 350 pounds and is considered to be one of the top among best rowing machines in general.
Dimensions & weight
First, the dimensions will determine how much space these calorie burners will take up in your home or gym. If you’re trying to skimp on room space, choose the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5639. You can also choose any model within the 50-55-inch length, 18-22-inch width, and 20-25-inch height. The weight of the model will determine the ease of movability and the cost of shipping. Although, there are commercial-grade models with higher weights.
Meanwhile, you can find extremely lightweight models that weigh around 20-25 pounds. However, models with useful functionalities are usually not always light. So, just try to find a balance.
We’ve seen how users have had to regret wasting their money on workout equipment which failed to work as advertised. In the event of issues like this, a model with a considerable warranty offer can protect the user and the machine. Cheap hydraulic rowers rarely come with a warranty. However, with the ProGear 750 Rower, you can have a model with one-year warranty coverage.
Ensure that the frame is guaranteed longer than the parts:
- 1 year on inexpensive models.
- 2 to 5 years on intermediate and luxury models.
There are many different price ranges as far as rowers are concerned. Budget a few hundred bucks for the right entry-level rower, intended for low-intensity efforts and with a limited lifespan. In prices ranging above the latter are the intermediate models. They are generally quite solid and equipped with a complete dashboard. They are also suitable for all types of users. If you can cough out thousands of dollars, you will find uncompromising professional devices, which are very durable and comes with many options. Promotions and discounts are not frequently available. However, we often see prices dropping when brands release a new model. So, wait for it!