Water rowers will always stand out in online listings and in sales catalogues because the designers always spend so much time making them look pretty. They know that consumers want a high-end project when choosing water over traditional methods. This can also mean a higher price tag. So, is this cost justified? Do you actually get more from a water rower in terms of the gains and the overall experience? Or, is it better to stick with a more feature-rich traditional machine?
The Pros and Cons of Water Rowers
1) The relaxing feeling
2) The lack of electronics
3) The authentic feeling
4) The quality of the materials and designs
1) Not as many options for your workout
2) A lack of data and software
3) Not always geared towards the first time user
4) Not always so portable
As you can see, there are positive and negative points to consider here. The final choice will depend on your personal aims and past experiences. So, let’s start with the potential benefits of turning to a water rower instead of a conventional machine.
What are some of the possible benefits of turning to a water rower instead of a traditional rower?
First of all, we need to consider why there is water in the first place. The water helps to provide a more realistic form of resistance as the paddles hit the water in the container. The idea here is that it is essentially like training on the water with the feeling of the oars against the waves. There is a sense of realism here that can be very useful for those that row professionally and wish to improve their form during the winter months. It can be all too easy to take a step back from rowing and training when the seas are rough and the weather is wet and cold. Here you can get a similar feeling at home for year-round training. This could give teams an edge over competitors that don’t think to do anything similar with their own training regime.
Aside from the competitive angle of these water rowers, there are also users that feel that they get a more relaxing session with water rowers. There is something calming about the rhythmic nature of the motions and the noise of the water. Many prefer it to the mechanical whirs of the traditional belt drives and the beeps of the machinery. This meditative state can help users work at a steady, comfortable rate for a long time. In turn, this can improve the effectiveness of the session and the gains made.
There is also a natural approach to the design of these machines that goes beyond the use of water. You don’t have to plug these products into an electrical outlet to gain any benefits. There is nothing beyond the water, the motion of the seat and pulley system and the wooden frame. This means a quiet, minimalist experience where you can set the machine up pretty much anywhere in the home.
However, there will be some fitness fanatics reading this that see some flaws in this approach
If you take away too much of the software and electronic settings and displays, you could miss out on some benefits. For example, a smart, electronic rower will allow you to adapt the resistance with greater ease than a water rower. You can find the opposite of that one-note rhythm to push yourself further. The programming may allow for more options while the console gives a much better indications of your progress. A drawback of some of those water rowers is that the console is often little more than a tiny battery-powered system with the most basic data. There are shinier, smarter options out there for those that seek a little more diversity.
Then there are potential issues regarding the practical nature of water rowers in your home or home gym. Are you prepared to change the water as often as needed? How important is it to find a machine that folds away from storage? Some of the attractive wooden machines with their cherry and walnut frames won’t be able to do this.
It all comes down to finding the best machine for the experience that you want
Do you want a rower that will provide a diverse set of options and data streams to enhance a wider exercise regime? Or, are you looking for a machine that is built for actual rowing training and offers an enjoyable experience? If you want the former, it is best to search for a rower that has a focus on the programs and settings rather than the basic motion and resistance settings.
If you want to improve your training regime for the real thing, consider the benefits of the water rower instead. Look at the construction of the machine from the wood used in the frame to the quality of the water container and the smooth finish on the rail. If you are going to pay more for a water rower then it is worthwhile looking at those quality, attractive options. Read the user reviews to get a better idea of the experience of actual rowers. Do they like the feel? Is there enough resistance? Is it easy to set up and maintain?
If you are looking for a traditional, electronic system instead, look at the console, the programing and the adaptations in the machine. Look for the model with the most effective, interesting system within your budget.
Choose the approach that best suits your needs
In the end, because there are clear pros and cons to each option, there is no clear favorite. Water rowers are loved by a specific group of users with clear goals in mind. It is as much about aesthetics and quality and the gains from the session. This meditative approach won’t suit everyone. But, it is worth considering if you are fed up with the superfluous feature, incessant beeping and the cold feel of your traditional rower.