8 Pros & Cons Of Hydraulic Rowing Machines

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There are many rowing machine types to choose from. Discover the pros and cons of hydraulic models and whether you should consider them.

4 Pros of hydraulic rowing machines

Hydraulic rowing machines are generally not the highest-quality options but they do still have a few benefits. In some situations, these could be enough to consider this type.

1. Budget-friendly

Investing in your health can be a great decision but sometimes you can get similar benefits for less.

While hydraulic rowers do not offer the best workouts they do still help you move more intensely, burn calories, and work muscles. On top of these things, they also tend to come at relatively low prices.

One thing to note is that the initial prices of hydraulic rowing machines can look attractive. However, don’t forget that they do tend to lose their resale value more quickly and tend to require a replacement more often.

In short, some people are currently on a tight budget or only plan to use their machines for a limited time. In these cases, the prices of hydraulic rowers tend to be a pro and could make them worth considering.

2. Tend to be compact

This next point is relatively straightforward. Hydraulic rowing machines tend to have the most compact dimensions of all the resistance types.

The first effect of that is that hydraulic rowers tend to be easier to store in between workouts. You may like to do a rowing session in front of the TV and then put the machine out of the way during the rest of the day.

There are even foldable hydraulic rowers which fit under many beds.

Additionally, their compact dimensions make hydraulic rowers easier to take with you in a car. This last rowing machine fact will not benefit too many people but it could happen that you want to work out in a different location.

3. Relatively silent

This next pro is not exclusive to hydraulic models. Magnetic rowing machines tend to be relatively silent too. However, compared to air and water rowers, the low volume of hydraulic models is typically a benefit.

You may have thin walls, ceilings, and floors. In that case, family members, apartment neighbors, or roommates may not be happy with the louder resistance types.

Additionally, you may like to listen to music or watch TV during your rowing sessions. Again, the silence of hydraulic rowing machines could be helpful.

4. Easy to move

While there are of course individual differences, when it comes to rowing machine weights, hydraulic rowers tend to be the lightest models.

This can be a downside in other areas but it definitely makes them relatively easy to move around.

In combination with the compact dimensions, hydraulic rowing machines could be a good option for people who have to work out in the living room due to a lack of space.

4 Cons of hydraulic rowing machines

The pros above can be helpful but it is also necessary to emphasize the cons of hydraulic machines.

These cons are not always clear on paper (or on the shopping screen) but can plan a big role in your overall experience of the machines.

5. Not that durable

When it comes to other resistance types like air rowers, some brands like Concept 2 are known for their machines that can last 10+ years.

In the case of hydraulic machines, you should not expect too much durability. It could be because of the current popular brands but hydraulic resistance mechanisms seem to break down more easily than the other options.

If one of these machines is a temporary option this may not matter too much. However, having to replace your rowing machine every once in a while can get pricey and inconvenient.

6. You may not get a full range of motion

The compact dimensions of hydraulic rowing machines can be great for storage but it is also possible to overdo it.

These machines often have relatively seat rails which makes it so taller individuals may not be able to go through the full rowing range of motion.

If that is the case, this can really mess with the smoothness of the workout. In turn, this can reduce to what extent you get rowing health benefits and can simply be annoying.

7. Handle position is less flexible

Air, water, and magnetic rowing machines work in a way where you pull handles attached to a drive, basically a cord, that is in turn connected to the flywheel and resistance mechanism.

For now, rowing machine designers have not been able to create the same system for hydraulic resistance. Instead of pulling a cord, you pull handles that are connected through one or more metal bars.

With a drive (/cord), you can hold the rowing handles at the height that is ideal for you personally.

In hydraulic rowers, you may have to keep handles at heights and go through motions that don’t feel as well and don’t offer the same smooth movements.

8. Not built for intense workouts

Hydraulic rowing machines tend to be aimed toward more medium and light workouts for a few reasons.

First of all, the pistons of the machines tend to heat up a lot. Especially with intense use. This is not necessarily a reason not to do intense workouts.

However, it could damage the machine and be painful if you happen to touch the frame in the wrong plan.

Additionally, many people will find the range of motions and handle trajectories of magnetic rowing machines suboptimal. For a high-intensity rowing session, you will likely want something smoother.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.