There are a massive number of rowing machines on the market today and it can be even more difficult to choose the right one than to complete a really tough WOD! But, we’re here to help with out top recommendations for CrossFit rowing machine, along with tips and tricks on finding the best one for home use.
- Low impact workout that engages all major muscle groups; work legs, core and arms with a smooth,...
- Track your progress with real-time reliable data; the Performance Monitor 5 (included)...
- Designed to fit most users: 14-inch seat height, adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
- Separates easily into two pieces for storage; caster wheels make it mobile; easy to assemble with...
- Space recommended for use is 9 x 4 feet; 500-pound user capacity; 5-year frame warranty...
Why Consider Rowing in a CrossFit Workout?
There are a number of options for including cardio within a CrossFit workout. First of all, you can just move very quickly from movement to movement, which keeps the heart rate up and will increase your general fitness.
But, if you want to focus more exclusively on cardio, then you can do things like run, swim, or bike. You may also want to consider rowing. It’s a total body workout that will help you break a serious sweat.
And, here’s something to think about. Olympic rowers often have among the highest V02 maxes of all athletes. If you want to get some serious results, try rowing! And the best part? You can do it indoors in all weather conditions.
Here are some other reasons to consider some rowing into your fitness routine:
- It’s low impact on the ankles, knees, feet and other joints
- It gives quantifiable results (distance rowed per certain amount of time for example)
- Rowing machines are quite affordable compared to stationary bikes or top-quality treadmills
- These machines have no motors, which makes them very durable
- No buttons of complicated settings
Rowing machines are also known as ergometers, or ergs for short, so you may see this term thrown around as well in discussion about rowing and CrossFit.
Which CrossFit Rowing Machine to Consider?
If you take a look around the garage gym of serious CrossFitters, you’ll probably find this one specific rowing machine, the Concept2 Model D Rower. It works on air resistance and has a ton of features you’ll love, including adjustable resistance levels, easy storage, excellent warranty, etc.
Key Features of the Concept 2 Model D Rowing Machine
- Real-time, reliable data so that you can track your workout
- Can save workouts to a USB flash drive
- Connects wirelessly to heart rate belts/apps
- Fits most user heights (adjustable footrests)
- Ergonomic handle
- Easily separates into two pieces for easier storage
- Can be assembled with only 8 screws
- 5 year frame warranty
- Operates on air resistance (our top recommended option for CrossFit workouts)
- Damper levels from 1-10 for a customized workout
- Minimal noise
- Smooth feel
- Rolls on wheels when fully assembled
- Total weight of 57 pounds
- Commercial quality
Shop Now for one of the Top CrossFit Rowing Machines
Does it sound like the right rowing machine for CrossFit? You can learn more about it on Amazon. Click the button below to find the best prices and also to see if this product is eligible for free shipping with a Prime membership:
Pros for this CrossFit Rower:
- Affordably priced
- Easy resistance adjustment
- Relatively light in weight compared to other rowing machines
- Easy storage
- Extremely durable
- Easy to find replacement parts
Cons of the Concept2 Rower:
- Non-adjustable seat height
- Max damper setting not enough for some people
- Some reports that the digital portion stopped workout after a year or two
Concept2 Rowing Machine Review
What do People Think about the Concept2 Model D?
“Been using this thing for 3 years now, and it’s still like the first day that I set it up. Super smooth operation, quiet and can fold for easier storage. It’s light enough to move around on the wheels and there really isn’t anything not to love about it. I use mine for CrossFit rowing WODs at home, or just a quick, intense cardio workout. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the options this thing has with online connectivity and the ability to record workouts.”
“This thing is super quiet. Seriously. I watch TV while I’m doing it at normal volume and it’s really no problem at all. I know, quite surprising! Definitely a smooth ride, and it’s like the Cadillac of rowing machines, compared to the ones that I’ve used at the gym. My wife likes to use it for CrossFit rowing workouts.”
“Maybe the best CrossFit Rower out there. It’s certainly the one you’ll see most commonly at your CrossFit box in a home gym. And, for good reason. It’s a very high-quality machine at a reasonable price. It has an excellent warranty and won’t break or fall apart like some of the cheaper ones out there.”
The Takeaway on the Concept2 Rowing Machine
If you’re looking for one of the machines for CrossFit rows, then you’re going to love the Concept2. It hits that sweet spot between being very high in quality, but not ridiculously expensive.
It also has a ton of other feature like the ability to fold, wheels to move around, and super-quiet operation that make it ideal for home use. It’s so quiet that you can watch TV at normal volume during a workout. You can’t say that for many other pieces of fitness equipment! It’s a serious buy, and there is certainly a good reason why it’s so popular in the CrossFit community.
Where Can I Get It?
You can easily find this top-quality CrossFit rowing machine on Amazon. Check now for the lowest prices:
Things in Consider in a CrossFit Rower
If you’re looking for a top-quality CrossFit machine for your indoor rowing workouts, then here are a just a few of the most important factors you’ll want to think about.
And of course, it’s best if you can try out the specific rower first, before ordering one for your home gym. You can test out the look and feel of it to see if it’s right for you.
Of course, design matters. As with anything, some units are far more well-designed than others. You’ll want one that’s durable and can stand up to a really tough workout.
Type of Resistance
There are a number of ways in which rowing machines offer resistance. They include: Piston, Magnetic, Air/fan, or Water. Of the options, we prefer air resistance and this is the kind that we recommend for a CrossFit rowing machine.
Piston rowers are smaller and cheaper, but they don’t offer as smooth of motion as other kinds of resistance. If you’re going to be doing an intense rowing WOD, this probably isn’t the best option.
Magnetic rowers offer a smoother motion and the resistance can be more easily adjusted. However, the machine can’t be folded so this isn’t the best option if storage is an issue.
Air rowers are by far the most popular option for CrossFit athletes. They are smooth, have resistance that can be adjusted and also most closely replicate rowing on the water. Just about the only disadvantages to them are that they are very loud and they can also be larger than the other options.
Water rowers replicate rowing on the water quite well. Due to the fact that they’re relatively noisy, large, heavy and difficult to adjust, these ones are not that popular.
The good news about rowing machines is that they can be quite affordable when compared to a stationary bike, or quality treadmill that actually works well. In general, you should be able to find one for well under a $1000, if not $500.
Reviews and Recommendations
Check in with your trainer, or other experienced CrossFitters that you know for their recommendations for CrossFit machines. They’ll likely have some great advice about specific CrossFit brands that they like, as well as certain rowers that will work better for your purposes.
Size and Ability to Fold
If you have a large workout space at home, this won’t be a consideration. However, if you live in a small apartment for example and have limited space, then you’ll want something that can be folded, or will stand up on one end to put away when it’s not in use.
We LOVE companies that stand behind their products with comprehensive warranties. If you’re going to be paying a few hundred dollars for something, you’ll want to make sure that it comes with at least a 2-year warranty. For cheaper products, a 1-year warranty is pretty standard.
Ideal for Varying Heights
If you are particularly short or tall, then make sure the rower is suited for your needs. However, most average height people will find that any machine will work for them.
Rowing machines can potentially be quite big, so you should definitely pay attention to shipping options. How much extra will this cost you?
Or, if you buy one from a store, are you able to get it home easily? What options does the store have for delivery?
CrossFit WOD: Push, Press and Row
CrossFit Rowing WODs
So, you’ve just found one of the best CrossFit rowing machines on the mareket? What are some workouts you can use it with?
If you’re looking for a WOD that incorporates rowing, then you’re in the right place. Here are a few example workouts to get you started.
CrossFit Rowing WOD #1
- 1 mile run
- 2000 meter row
- 1 mile run
CrossFit Rowing WOD #2
- 500 meter row
- 25 burpees
- 500 meter row
- 25 burpees
CrossFit Rowing WOD #3
For time (cap: 10 minutes):
- 60/50 calorie row
- 30 handstand push-ups
- 60/50 calorie row
CrossFit Rowing WOD #4
3 rounds for time, rest 3 minutes between rounds.
- 500 meter row
- 400 meter run
CrossFit Rowing WOD #5
Buy-in: 1000 meter row.
50 of each of the following:
- air squats
- hollow rocks
What to Set Damper at Rower CrossFit?
If you want to know what damper to set your rower at for CrossFit WOD’s or something like the CrossFit Games, we don’t have any easy answers to give you! At the games, athletes are able to choose their own damper setting. Why is this? It’s because the workouts are designed to measure calories, not distance.
So, if you have the most difficult damper setting on, but row quite slowly, you may burn the same number of calories as something with the lightest damper setting but going very, very quickly. That said, most elite rowers tend to opt for a lower damper setting.
3.5 on the Concept2 rower is roughly the equivalent to rowing through water. And you should also aim for a stroke rate of between 24 and 30 spm (strokes/minute).
What’s the Most Common CrossFit Rowing Mistake?
Check out this short video to find out how to improve your times in competitions on the rowing machine.
How to Become a Better Rower CrossFit?
If you’re looking to improve your performance on rowing WODs, then you’ll want to pay close attention to these tips.
#1: Practice Makes Perfect
Nobody can expect to be a good rower if they only put minimal time onto the machine. The best CrossFit rowers are those who put the miles in. Remember that consistency is key and this really only comes with practice.
And, if you compete, you should also practice transitioning on and off the equipment. For certain workouts, this can really make a big difference.
#2: It’s all in the Legs
Using your body weight to move the handles is much easier said than done. It takes some great technique and practice to master this. Basically, it’s all in the legs and 2/3 of the power comes from them for top rowers.
Basically, you should be pushing your feet into the footplate from the moment you start pulling the handle away until the moment that it touches your body. Think of rowing as more pushing with the legs than pulling with the hands. Recovery is simply the opposite of this movement.
#3: Aim for a Smooth Movement
Instead of thinking in “reps,” with rowing, think like cycling. There should be no clear start/stop for each stroke. Instead, it should be a continuous flow like it would be on a bicycle.
#4: Lower that Damper Settings
Many people mistakenly think that the highest damper setting is best. However, elite rowers often have very little resistance, and sometimes even set it at “0.” Most train at 5 or lower and certainly nothing good happens above 7.
If you want to improve your CrossFit rowing results, then go lower and focus instead of picking up your stroke pace. As a quick guide, elite rowers aim for between 32 and 35 spm, while novices should aim for around 28 spm.
#5: Train for a Range of Distances
500m is going to look a whole lot different than 10,000m in terms of how fast you’re going to be doing and at what damper settings. Train for a variety of these distances if you’re going to be competing at CrossFit competitions. After all, you never really know what can get thrown at you, right?
Over time, you’ll find out what going out too hard at first looks like and will have a much better idea of what pace to set in order to make it to the end of the prescribed time or distance in style.
#6: It Probably Will Hurt
If you’re doing some rowing as part of a WOD or competition, expect it to burn. There’s just no way around it if you want to have some top results. Mentally prepare yourself for this fact.
However, keep in mind that you won’t really win a WOD with rowing. At best, you will finish near the top of the pack and rowing won’t lose it for you.
Is there a Row Machine Alternative?
If you’re looking for an alternative to rowing machine, just about the only real option you have is going out on the water! There just isn’t really any other machine that can replicate this same kind of movement.
However, if you’re looking for a great cardio workout, there are a number of other things you can do such as going for a run or hike, biking, swimming, etc. Anything that gets your heart rate up and helps to maintain it a high level for a prolonged length of time.
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If you are a follower of the CrossFit Games, you’ll probably notice that you can regularly see both rowing and assault bike exercises mixed into competitions. You may also have both of these options at your local CrossFit box.
Which one is right for you? They both offer an excellent total body workout and are easier on the joints than running for example. In terms of calorie burn per amount of time, they are quite similar.
Which one you choose is mostly a matter of personal preference and whether you prefer running or biking better. Better yet, buy both and mix ’em up to help your body get in the best shape possible!
Have your Say about CrossFit Rowing Machines
What’s your top pick for a CrossFit rowing machine? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other CrossFit enthusiasts, like yourself find this useful resource.
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Last update on 2020-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API