Full Disclosure: This won’t compare the Hydrow home rowing system to a Concept 2 rowing machine, which most readers of Breaking Muscle are probably most familiar with.
They are two completely different systems, and we’ll be putting them both in a comparative summary before Christmas. This is a review of a standalone home exercise system, and not a complement to anything else.
This means that I assessed how the Hydrow shapes up as a total package, assuming it would be the center of a home exercise program.
I’ve been open about this, although I have to make a few confessions: I don’t like bikes or treadmills because, as a cyclist and occasional runner, I prefer to do these things in the real world and not be restricted by the country or weather around me.
Rowing uses 84% of the body’s muscles, far more than most other aerobic exercise.
– Eric Stevens, broken muscle
And I think the best bang for your buck is always going to get as close as possible to a full body solution. Rowing is just the thing in every way.
In all fairness, most of us will never have a boat or skull, or access to an appropriate waterway, let alone the necessary skill or ability to maneuver one on our own. While you don’t need a lot of skill or instruction to ride a bike or walk, rowing is an acquired skill that also adds to its appeal.
|At a glance|
|product||Hydrow rowing machine|
|benefits||Sleek design, a strong user experience, and an impressive group of teachers make it fun, challenging, and engaging. The quiet electromagnetic resistance mechanism ensures even tension for a unique rowing experience indoors.|
|disadvantage||It doesn’t appeal to every budget and requires a membership card.|
Great fitness technology comes at a price
The hydrow is the rudder’s answer to peloton motorcycles, insofar as it is designed and where it fits in the industry. However, I have a lot of comments on the pricing of a Hydrow rowing machine (currently $ 1,995 with discounts) versus a Concept 2 (the Model D is $ 900 before shipping and taxes) or a NordicTrack RW900 ($ 1,599 before Shipping) seen and taxes).
It’s true you can get cheaper indoor rowers, but Hydrow is one of the emerging hybrid technology creations that is taking the fitness world by storm, making it part of a new category of equipment.
It’s no surprise that the Hydrow comes with a 22-inch screen, electromagnetic resistance mechanism, and most importantly, networked software and infrastructure that supports perfectly coordinated row-along workouts with top-notch instructors on the water. It’s chic design and high production values for hardware, software, and content.
It goes without saying that the software that Hydrow supports is a tech boost in its own right and shouldn’t be discounted as if you were signing up for a YouTube channel. It is a fully functional SaaS (Software as a Service) application that is scalable for a large audience. If the weight of the software is insufficient, the hardware itself is approximately 30 kg and measures 86 x 25 x 47 inches.
The hydrow may be shiny, but it is also surprisingly firm; The aluminum and steel frame can accommodate a person weighing 375 pounds, while NordicTrack has a maximum of 250 pounds and a Peloton bike has a maximum of 297 pounds.
Would it be nice if the hydrow hit the 500 pound mark of a Model D? Sure, but kudos to the Hydrow engineers for outperforming their direct competition.
Improve rowing tips:
- Don’t grip too tightly
- Ride your legs
- Go straight back
- Don’t let your butt go alone
- Don’t pull with your arms
- Keep your elbows relaxed
- Don’t shrug
- Always sit up
- Don’t bend your knees too soon
- Focus on steady movement
The Hydrow’s 22-inch screen is clear and sharp, even in direct light. It swivels so you can still see the screen once you’ve settled down for floor exercises, and it has a great software interface.
Again, some users have noticed the similarity to the Peloton UI, but honestly that’s not a problem as most of the fitness apps these days are pretty close to each other, which is moving through screens, finding workouts, selecting instructors, and that Search concerns. And a good thing too, because it works.
If you know how to lift weights properly, you will know how to row.
– Ellen Tomek, Olympic rower
It’s also worth noting that Hydrow, the company, has raised $ 52 million in investment and the money is up there on the screen and in the design of the product. The user experience is unique and everything from the seat design to the feeling of resistance feels like a premium product.
Your instructors are on the water, your pace and pace need to be synchronized, your rowing experience is enhanced by the graphics, and the controls are never hampered or superfluous. This is a well thought out product with few weaknesses.
If there was one fear I had in getting involved with the Hydrow, it was the potential liabilities of long term maintenance. This is not a product that you can disassemble and oil and repair yourself. Time will tell how this affects users, but it’s not uncommon to feel that pain of fear when you’ve invested heavily in something like this.
Home exercise gets better with help
If you are one of those people who are disciplined or advanced enough to do things on your own, the hydrow can be frustrating for you as it is best consumed as a guided experience.
You can’t ignore the screen or software and walk alone. Participating in the community isn’t a must, but you get immersed in what other people are doing when you see their activity in rows with you or in a nice little feed that shows who finished a row and how they’re doing have behaved.
It’s optional to share, but it works on a visceral level, engaging you, and making you feel like you are part of a group of fellow enthusiasts. You can filter the results by age and gender and this can be quite a motivating factor.
The best part, however, are the instructors. You have real rowers, you have a skull or two and oars on a body of water with bridges and boats and a real landscape.
In one training session, I saw that the instructor had to adjust after getting too close to the walls of a tunnel under a bridge. You will feel like you are part of an experience on the water even if you are as cynical as I am.
However, what really impressed me was the fact that the intimacy of the class forces you to maintain good technique. Your instructor is right in front of you, a skilled rower, and you can’t whirl around or mess your own shape unless you turn off the sound and close your eyes.
Each row is different and can be a Zen experience as well as a challenge. The emphasis on shape and consistency is a constant challenge even for the best rowers.
If you’ve experienced rowing at a typical boxing gym without the following instructions, the Hydrow experience is a revelation that makes you feel as close to the water as possible.
I’m sure this may be an exaggeration for real rowers, but I can only talk about how I felt like someone who hasn’t rowed on the water but is now itchy to try it out sometime.
I don’t know if indoor bikes and treadmills offer the same level of immersion. I received the Hydrow experience as a reviewer on these sites and have become a believer.
|Hydrow indoor rowing system|
|Dimensions||86 x 25 x 47 in|
|screen||22-inch display with 25-degree rotation in each direction|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth connection, WLAN (10 Mbit / s recommended), Ethernet (optional) WLAN: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac; Ethernet: 100 Mbit / s / RJ45|
|Electric||Standard 120 volt socket; 60 Hz; Power (max.): 210 W, 2A; Power (average): 35 W (0.44 A); Power (idle): 5 W (50 mA)|
|Pulling mechanism||Electromagnetic resistance that is set 240 times per second and is attached to a handle made of polyester tape|
|Size limit||36 “stride length; 375 lbs weight|
|price||$ 2,495 but expect lots of vacation deals by logging into Hydrow’s Shop. Expect to be more than $ 30 a month for membership|