Rowing is a low impact exercise suitable for persons of different physical activity levels. Due to low impact nature of it, rowing is easy on your joints, especially knees and ankles and it can be performed at high endurance levels by almost everyone with the risk of potential injuries occuring being very low.
When it comes to CrossFit training, rowing is one of the most functional full body exercises. It is a staple in any legitimate box you may be working out in and with that being said they are a very common exercise performed in wod’s, endurance training, and the games. Of course, to perform this activity you’ll want to find the best rower for crossfit and this post mentions some of those options currently available on the market today.
What are the benefits of rowing?
If you don’t use rower or need a reminder of the amazing benefits you can expect, here they are:
- Increased endurance
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Better total-body muscular strength
- Enhanced fat burning rate
- Toned and defined muscles
- Both upper-body and lower-body workout at once
- Adds variation and intensity to your workout
Various rower features to consider
While we usually see them in gyms, rowers are relatively inexpensive and easy to use in your home as well. Before you start browsing for rowers and make your purchase, you need to learn more about their key features. Here is what to consider:
Typically, rowers feature four types of resistance:
- Piston – in these machines, resistance comes from compact hydraulic cylinders which are attached to the arms of the rower. Piston rowers tend to be smaller than other types, meaning they are more affordable as well. Unlike other rowers, these machines don’t have smooth motion, and CrossFitters usually avoid them because they don’t provide the intensity they need
- Magnetic – resistance is controlled by strong electromagnets. These machines have similar resistance to that of piston rower but with smoother operation. One of the greatest advantages of these rowers is a quiet operation, which is particularly convenient to those who are easily distracted by loud sounds. These rowers have a long main rail and aren’t suitable for smaller spaces
- Air – the most popular type of rower among CrossFitters. Here, the resistance comes from a damper level on the side of the flywheel which adapts the amount of airflow into the wheel. This rower offers the smoothest operation, but it’s the noisiest type. Despite noise, these rowers provide the closest simulation to rowing on water
- Water – the resistance comes from a variable quantity of water in the resistance tank which either increases or decreases the amount of tension on the wheels. Like air rowers, these also perfectly simulate actual rowing. Compared to other types, these rowers aren’t commonly used and they aren’t overly convenient to change resistance
The computer which records your exercise statistics like a number of calories burned, stroke counting, speed, heart rate etc. is called the ergometer. For CrossFitters, ergometers are crucial because they give them a detailed insight into their workout and progress they’re making. Most modern rowers come with ergometers. Ideally, the rower should have a large, or display that is easy to read when you’re working out.
Regarding statistics provided by the ergometer, stroke rate and split time are the most important features to look for. The stroke rate demonstrates how hard you’re working and allows you to control the rhythm while the split time enables you to maintain a smooth and regulated workout.
Other features to consider
- Adequate seat height and rail length for your body size
- Length and width of the handle to make sure it’s right for your shoulders and grip distance
- Weight capacity and stability
Since rowing is a popular and beneficial type of activity, it has become easier to find ideal rower than ever before. Here are the best machines you can find today.
What is the Best Rower for Crossfit?
A rower from Stamina is an air-resistance machine suitable for CrossFitters who want to improve their training without breaking the budget. The machine features the ergometer while rowing beams are made of steel as well as the entire frame. The workout monitor displays speed, distance, time, and calories you burn in an easy to read fashion.
Moreover, the rower comes with pivoting foot plates and allows you to adjust resistance easily. The resistance is adjusted according to your stroke speed and intensity. Thanks to floor protectors, the machine avoids skidding which could, otherwise, ruin your workout.
- Folds for storage
- Comfortable seat
- Large foot pad area
- Easy to set up
- Ergometer is basic
- Doesn’t provide info about strokes count
LifeCore rower has magnetic resistance meaning the operation is smooth and silent. The machine is dubbed as the only commercial rower on the market featuring both air and Electronic Brake System technology. This unique technology makes the rower ideal for both rookies and more experienced CrossFitters.
The rower features large LCD blue backlit computer display and stores data for up to 4 users. The large ergonomically designed seat provides added comfort during workouts and it’s easy to fold the machine for storage.
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance
- 4 polar compatible heart rate control programs
- 15 preset programs
- Angle foot rests with pivoting heel supports
- Adjustable cooling air vent
- Easy to set up
- Easy-to-read display
- Angled foot rest might not be suitable for all users
Concept 2 is well-known for its high-quality rowers and Model D is their most affordable machine. The air resistance rower is made to deliver an effective cardiovascular workout to increase your fitness levels and tone muscles.
The Model D features Performance Monitor (PM5) which is a sophisticated and easy-to-use ergometer that provides accurate and comparable data for every row. Thanks the backlight, the visibility is superb. The device is compatible with the USB, thus allowing you to store your workout data easily.
Since the rower responds to your effort on every stroke, you are in control of resistance and exertion at all times. With spiral damper, you can adjust the airflow to the flywheel easily. It is also important to mention that flywheel design reduces the noise and maximizes smooth operation.
- Flywheel design to minimize noise
- PM5 for accurate and comparable data
- Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
- Available in two colors (black and white)
- Easily separates into two pieces for storage
- Easy to ensemble
- Unable to adjust seat height
This particular rower features magnetic tension system and multiple levels of adjustable resistance for optimal performance. To provide more insight into the workout, SF-RW5515 features LCD display which shows time, count, calories, scan, and total count.
The rower comes with large, textured pedals with safety straps to provide a non-slip surface for maximum security. The high-quality straps ensure your feet will remain in place throughout your workout. Comfortable rowing experience is ensured with cushioned seat.
- 8 levels of adjustable resistance
- LCD display
- Non-slip grip handlebars
- Transportation wheels
- Quiet and smooth operation
- Minimal footprint
- Tracks stroke count
- Doesn’t display how many meters you have rowed
- Dimensions of monitor are quite tiny
- Might not be suitable for more advanced athletes and CrossFitters who need a detailed, in-depth insight into their workout
Rowing is a low impact cardio exercise with numerous benefits for your body. It fits perfectly with the rest of your CrossFit routine. When looking for rowers, it is essential to consider the type of resistance and information displayed on the screen. Comfort and seat height should also play a role in your decision whether to purchase a machine or not.