Best Rowing Machine Resistance Systems

Best Rowing Machine Resistance Systems

Using a rowing machine is a fantastic way to build muscles in your back, arms, chest and core. For people serious about home fitness, a rowing machine offers an intense aerobic and anaerobic workout that will build muscles and burn calories. Whether you are building a home gym or just want a piece of home fitness equipment to whip your body into shape, a rowing machine might be the perfect piece of gym equipment for you. Before you choose a rowing machine, it might come in handy to read a few rowing machine reviews, especially customer reviews. The main difference you'll find between one rowing machine and another is the resistance that simulates oars going through water. Some row machines use a combination of methods. Here is a quick rundown on the things you can expect out of rowing machines and the features you should look for before you buy. Pick out which one seems best for you and stick with it.

Rowing Machine Resistance:

Hydraulic Piston

Pistons are the least expensive method, but new models allow for a smooth, natural movement. Rowing machines with hydraulic pistons will last longer than many other models and will reduce injury, thanks to the smooth back-and-forth motion.


Air pressure creates resistance. This type of rowing machine is the most common. It is very durable but can be more expensive than other rowers. Also, rowing machines that run on air pressure will reach the peak of their resistance when the air is pressured at its maximum point. Because of this, you won’t have one constant level of air resistance.


The quietest of all the rowing machines, the magnetic row machine does not use a flywheel. It is also very smooth. Like air pressure, magnetic resistance will build as the magnets get closer to each other.


A flywheel in water gives a realistic rowing feeling. This can be somewhat noisy, but many people find the water sound to be soothing. Most water rowing machines feature a long paddle that spins in a container of water, powered by your motions. This guarantees an even level of resistance. Plus, you won’t have to worry about replacing springs or pistons, since there are none.