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Best Rowing Machine & Upright Rower Machines To Buy In 2023

Among the various tools and equipment utilized in CrossFit training, rowing machines (normal & upright) have emerged as a staple, offering a comprehensive full-body workout that challenges both strength and endurance.


Rowing machines provide an exceptional cardiovascular workout while engaging multiple muscle groups, making them an ideal choice for CrossFit athletes seeking to enhance their performance. Not only do they deliver intense calorie-burning sessions, but they also offer a low-impact alternative to high-impact exercises, reducing the risk of injury and allowing for longer, sustainable training sessions.


In this article, we will delve into the world of CrossFit rowing machines, examining the key factors to consider when selecting the right equipment for your training needs. We will also showcase some of the top rowing machines available in 2023. By providing valuable insights and recommendations, we aim to empower you to find the ideal rowing machine that will enhance your workouts and propel you toward your CrossFit goals.


 


Rowing Machine VS Upright Rower - What Is The Difference?


  • ROWING MACHINE - An indoor rower, or rowing machine, is a machine used to simulate the action of watercraft rowing for the purpose of exercise or training for rowing. Modern indoor rowers are often known as ergometers because they measure work performed by the rower.

Concept2 CrossFit Rower
Concept2 is the most popular rower for CrossFit Boxes

  • UPRIGHT ROWER (AKA SKI MACHINE or SKI ERG) - The SkiErg machine hails from Nordic cross-country skiing. ‘Erg stands for ergometer, which is a device that measures the work you put in. Back in the day, this is the device that pro skiiers would use to measure their data and get better for their next competition, without having to physically ski.


CrossFit Upright Rower AKA SkiErg
CrossFit Upright Rower AKA SkiErg


 

Key Factors To Consider When Choosing A CrossFit Rowing Machine


When selecting a CrossFit rowing machine, several key factors should be carefully considered to ensure you make the right choice for your training needs. These factors include durability, build quality, stability, resistance levels, resistance system type, and monitor features. Let's thoroughly explore each of these aspects:


#1 - Durability, Build Quality, & Stability


Durability is paramount when it comes to intense CrossFit workouts. Look for rowing machines constructed with robust materials, such as high-quality steel or aluminium frames, as they provide the necessary sturdiness to withstand rigorous use.


A solid build ensures that the machine can handle the demands of intense workouts without compromising its structural integrity. Additionally, consider the Stamina ATS Air Rower | Rowing Machine | LCD Monitor | Dynamic Air Resistance | Folding Design | Tone Muscle and Improve Heart Health https://a.co/d/c4ItNXBstability of the rowing machine, as you'll want a solid and wobble-free platform to perform your exercises safely and effectively.


#2 - Resistance Levels & System Type


The resistance levels offered by a rowing machine play a crucial role in replicating a realistic rowing experience. Different resistance systems, such as air, water, and magnetic, offer varying degrees of intensity and smoothness.


Air resistance systems are popular in CrossFit due to their infinite resistance levels and responsiveness to the user's effort. Water resistance systems simulate the feel of rowing through water, providing a natural and soothing experience. Magnetic resistance systems offer adjustable resistance levels and quieter operation, suitable for users who prefer precise control over their CrossFit workouts.


#3 - Monitor Features


The monitor is a vital component of a CrossFit rowing machine, providing valuable feedback on your performance. Look for a monitor that offers comprehensive data tracking, including metrics like time, distance, strokes per minute, and calories burned. The ability to track your progress is essential for setting goals and monitoring improvements over time.


Also, seek rowing machines with preset workout programs that offer variety and challenge. Compatibility with fitness apps allows you to sync your data, participate in online challenges, and track your progress seamlessly.


By considering these factors and their significance, you can make an informed decision when choosing a CrossFit rowing machine that aligns with your fitness goals and preferences. A durable and stable machine, equipped with an appropriate resistance system and feature-rich monitor, will not only provide an authentic rowing experience but also enhance the effectiveness and enjoyment of your CrossFit training.


 

Top Rowing Machines For CrossFit In 2023


The Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine boasts an air resistance system, offering unlimited intensity levels to push your CrossFit training to new heights. With the Performance Monitor 5, you can track your data with precision, monitor your progress, and optimize your workouts. The adjustable footrests ensure a secure and comfortable rowing position, enabling you to maintain proper form and maximize performance during intense CrossFit sessions.

Pros

  • Preferred rower for the CrossFit Games

  • Durable and reliable construction

  • Suitable for all fitness levels

  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Relatively high price point

  • Large footprint

  • Lacks built-in workout programs



 

#2 - TOPIOM Water Rower - Smoothest Ride

The TOPIOM Water Rower features a water resistance system that provides a smooth and realistic rowing experience, perfectly suited for CrossFit training. Engaging multiple muscle groups, this machine delivers comprehensive full-body workouts. Crafted with a handcrafted wooden design, it adds an aesthetic appeal to your gym space while ensuring durability.


Pros

  • Smooth and realistic rowing experience

  • Aesthetically pleasing

  • Smooth and quiet operation

Cons

  • Higher maintenance requirements for the water tank

  • Limited resistance adjustability

  • May require more space due to the longer frame



 

#3 - NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine - Most Interactive

The NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine features a versatile magnetic resistance system, accommodating all fitness levels and allowing scalability for CrossFit workouts. Its interactive HD touchscreen display provides access to live and on-demand classes, offering an immersive training experience with top-notch instructors.


Additionally, iFit compatibility enhances your fitness journey by enabling participation in virtual rowing challenges, progress tracking, and connection with a vibrant community of fitness enthusiasts.

Pros

  • 26 different resistance levels

  • Bluetooth Headphone connectivity options

  • 22-inch interactive HD touchscreen

  • In live and on-demand workout classes for a captivating exercise experience.

  • Pre-configured workouts

Cons

  • Heavier as compared to some other models

  • Higher price range (nearly $2000USD)

  • Potential for technical issues with the touchscreen



 

#4 - Stamina ATS Air Rower - Best For Beginners

The Stamina ATS Air Rower is designed with an air resistance system, offering dynamic and challenging workouts that push your limits in CrossFit training. Its foldable design allows for convenient storage, making it ideal for home gyms or limited spaces. The multi-function monitor provides crucial workout data, including time, distance, speed, and calories burned, empowering CrossFit athletes to track performance, set goals, and make informed training decisions.


Pros

  • Affordable option ($299 USD)

  • Compact and space-saving

  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate users

Cons

  • Less resistance range compared to higher-end models,

  • Limited preset programs

  • The monitor may lack advanced features



 

This Rowing Machine features a magnetic resistance system that offers adjustable resistance levels, catering to both beginner and intermediate CrossFit athletes. Its LCD monitor provides essential tracking of time, count, and calories burned, allowing you to monitor your workouts and assess progress. The machine operates smoothly, enabling you to focus on technique and performance during intense CrossFit training sessions without any distractions.

Pros

  • Quiet and smooth operation

  • Adjustable resistance levels

  • Affordable price point ($210)

Cons

  • Limited monitor capabilities

  • May not withstand heavy or intense use

  • May require additional cushioning for comfort



 

Top Upright Rowers To Buy In 2023


#1 - Concept2 Ski Erg - Most Popular

The Concept2 Ski Erg boasts an air resistance system, offering unlimited intensity levels to push your CrossFit training to new heights. With the Performance Monitor 5, you can track your data with precision, monitor your progress, and optimize your workouts. The adjustable footrests ensure a secure and comfortable skiing position, enabling you to maintain proper form and maximize performance during intense CrossFit sessions.

Pros

  • Preferred rower for the CrossFit Games

  • Durable and reliable construction

  • Suitable for all fitness levels

  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Relatively high price point

  • You have to buy the floorstand separately

  • Lacks built-in workout programs



 

#2 - Wolfmate Indoor Ski Machine - Affordable Option

The Wolfmate Indoor Ski Machine has been designed meet the goal of modern home fitness, as well as commercial gym use. It suitable for the people of all age, and is a more affordable option compared to the Concept2 SkiErg.


Pros

  • Cheaper price point ($999)

  • Comes with a floorstand (Concept2 product does not)

  • Easily configurable

Cons

  • Not as durable compared to a Concept2

  • Some claim that this is a copycat machine

  • Assembly instructions are difficult to understand



 

Best CrossFit Rowing Workouts


The below workouts have been taken from Mat Fraser's book - Hard Work Pays Off.


Workout 1


2 rounds for time:

 

Workout 2

EMOM for 62 mins

  • 20 cal row

  • 15 burpees

 

Workout 3


3 sets:

  • 750 m row

  • 550m row

  • 350m row

  • 200m row (as fast as possible)


- Rest 1 min between intervals

- Rest 3 mins between sets

- Rest 5 mins after finished


THEN, 5 sets:

  • 250m hard (rest 30 seconds between)


 

Wrapping Up


The selection of a CrossFit rowing machine is a highly personal decision influenced by individual preferences and fitness levels. Each of the mentioned rowing machines in this article presents distinct features, pros, and cons, catering to diverse needs and training styles.


However, It is crucial to carefully consider specific requirements such as preferred resistance type, available space, budgetary constraints, and maintenance preferences. Equally important is aligning your choice with your current fitness level and long-term goals.


Ultimately, by prioritizing personal preferences and fitness abilities, you can confidently select a rowing machine that delivers a gratifying and productive CrossFit training experience.





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