Rowing machines come in a few different types. Find out the benefits of water rowing machines and see whether they would be the right choice for you.
The benefits are a combination of specific water rower aspects and more general positive effects of rowing that are so important they deserve another mention.
1. Many people like the feeling
One of the main reasons why people get a rowing machine with water resistance is that they like the idea and/or the feeling of this type.
To create their resistance, water rowers have a tank filled with water. By pulling the handlebars, you rotate pedals in the tank. Since these have to push water, you will get extra resistance.
Some people find that this process feels more similar to actual rowing than other types of resistance.
2. Improves cardiovascular health
This next benefit is more general and applies to other rowing machines too.
Your cardiovascular system is the circulatory system inside of your body and includes the heart and blood vessels. These transport many types of important nutrients, oxygen, and waste throughout your body.
A lot of the benefits of rowing come from moving more intensely. This increase the need for transporting the things above and in turn increases your heart rate.
The heart and lungs can be strengthened by using them more intensely to safe extents. A stronger cardiovascular system leads to a variety of other benefits which include reduced risk of certain conditions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
At the same time, you also don’t want to overdo it. If it has been a while since you trained intensely, you may want to play it safe and start with lighter water rowing machine sessions and slowly build up from there.
3. Soothing sound
Another typical aspect of the moving pedals in the water tank is the sound they make.
There is still some personal preference involved but many people will find sounds of moving water like the sea, a stream, and water rowing machines relatively soothing.
Additionally, alternative options like air rowers can be a bit noisier. This can be suboptimal with family members or apartment neighbors on the other side of the walls, floor, and ceiling.
Water rowers will not really have this issue.
4. Works muscles
Cardio machines like water rowing machines are mostly for improving cardiovascular health but they also work a few muscles.
Some of these include your latissimus dorsi (upper back), trapezius (upper back), biceps, forearm grip muscles, rear deltoids (shoulders) quadriceps (front thigh), hamstrings (back thigh), and glutes (butt).
While you should not expect too much, if any, actual muscle growth, engaging these muscles can still slow down degradation, make them healthier, and improve muscle endurance.
These benefits also apply to other types of rowers but since they are so valuable they are worth mentioning again.
5. Does not require electricity
If you are considering a rowing machine, you have likely encountered the ones with magnetic resistance too.
Something to keep in mind is that many of these require electricity to function fully. In some cases to power the attached screen, in others to simply be able to adjust the resistance.
One of the benefits of water rowing machines is that they don’t require any electricity besides the batteries for the monitor. All of the resistance comes from the water in the tank.
In turn, you are less limited in terms of where you can put the rowing machine and it becomes easier to move around. Additionally, your electricity bill will be just a bit lower.
6. Helps you lose weight
Having a healthy body weight helps you avoid a variety of negative consequences. With the availability of food and transport, many people could become healthier by losing some excess body weight.
Similar to other rowing machines, the water resistance type can help you with this goal. By increasing the intensity of your movements for a period of time you use up more energy than usual.
A rough estimation is that a 155-pound individual will burn around 256 calories during 30 minutes of moderate-intensity water rowing.
The actual rowing statistics for your personal situation can vary due to things like body weight, hormone levels, exact speed, amount of resistance, etc.
However, these numbers do make it clear that water rowers can help you lose weight.
Lastly, something to note is that other lifestyle areas like nutrition are still important for weight loss no matter what exercise routine you follow.
7. Often looks good in a home environment
Not all water rowers look the same but a sleek, wooden design definitely tends to be more common for this resistance type.
The design likely won’t change how effective your workouts are but it can help improve the overall experience and satisfaction of the rowing machine for the right people.
One thing you do want to keep in mind is that these wooden water rower designs tend to be heavier than other rowing machines. This can make moving the machine around in between workouts more challenging.
8. Offers a low-impact workout
Some rowing machine alternatives like running on a treadmill or sports like volleyball involve a lot of small jumps and shocks on your body.
Water rowing machines can be better than these activities for certain people in the sense that they offer low-impact workouts which tend to be easier on your body.
Especially if you have not worked out in a while and have a few extra pounds to lose, it tends to be smarter with low-impact workouts like using a water rowing machine to avoid injuries.
At the same time, you are still improving cardiovascular health, strengthening your body, engaging muscles, and burning calories.
9. Allows you to exercise at home
This last benefit of water rowing machines only applies if you are considering getting one for your home (gym).
By investing in your own machine, you enable the possibility of training at home instead of outside or in your local gym.
First of all, that means bad or cold weather does not really influence your workouts. Additionally, you don’t have to spend time going to your local gym where the water rowing machines may or may not be occupied.
Lastly, if you are at home but have a busy schedule, you could use your machine to implement a few short workouts throughout the day instead of having to commit a big time block to one workout.