Commercial Rowing Machine – Definitive FAQ Guide

Are you looking for versatile and convenient training machines for your gym? A rowing machine offers a smooth workout experience and brings one of the best natural cycling feelings. 

Commercial rowing machines have different functions and features, so you may have questions about which one fits your gym best. We prepared the following FAQ guide to assist you in your choice. 

Let’s start.

Table of Contents

What is a commercial rowing machine?

Rowing machines, also known as ergometers or ergs, are training machines that reproduce the rowing motion in a boat. This device is practical for full-body training, by engaging all major muscle groups. 

Figure 1 Rowing machine 

Why is a rowing machine called an ergometer?

The name comes from the Ancient Greek words “ergon”, which means “work, energy” and “metron”, which means “to measure”.

The ergometer, or rowing machine, is a device that measures the work of the athletes during training. Thus, it offers the possibility to control their performance. 

Figure 2 Rowing machine or ergometer 

What is the configuration of a commercial rowing machine?

Rowing machines have six basic parts:

  • Mainframe 
  • The flat seat pivoted to the base frame 
  • Pedals and handles
  • Sliding seat
  • Resistance system (flywheel and its sub-assembly)
  • Monitor 

However, additional parts are crucial for a smooth and quality rowing experience:

  • Ergonomic design
  • Adjustable resistance 
  • Padded seat and anti-slip pedals 
  • Digital monitor 

The main configuration plus additional parts will provide your clients with superior training performances and comfortable use. 

What are the benefits of a commercial rowing machine?

Commercial rowing machines workout improves health overall and offers benefits such as:

Versatility

Rowing machines are great both for steady-state cardio and high-intensity training. This equipment is suitable for both women and men, beginner or advanced athletes. 

Low-impact

The rowing motion is natural to your joints and is generally used for active recovery. Athletes burn calories without stressing the articulations. 

Total body workouts

The rowing motion engages 86% of the body muscles. The rowing stroke uses 60% leg work and about 40% upper body work. 

By doing rowing exercises, the targeted major muscle groups are:

  • upper back
  • pecs
  • arms
  • abdominal muscles
  • obliques
  • quadriceps
  • calves
  • glutes

All fitness levels accessibility 

By adjusting the resistance and tracking the progress, athletes can easily add rowing to their routine and grow the level.  

Can be meditative

With rowing, athletes find calming benefits and a connection between body and mind. By releasing endorphins, rowing stokes reduce stress. 

Improved posture

Rowing machines keep the body well-balanced and improve hunched posture. 

Figure 3 Benefits of rowing machines

What is the size of a commercial rowing machine?

Commercial rowing machines are available in a large variety of sizes, according to each brand. Some have larger or smaller footprints. 

Water Resistance Rowing Machines

Large footprint due to a longer seat rail. General dimensions: 197.5 x 53 x 51 cm.

Air Resistance Rowing Machines

Larger footprint relative to the other resistance types due to a longer seat rail. General dimensions: 232 x 47 x 123 cm.

Hydraulic Resistance Rower Machines

Smallest footprint out of all the resistance-types rowers. General dimensions: 140 X 48 X 60 cm.

Magnetic Resistance Rower Machines

Large footprint due to a longer seat rail. General dimensions: 161.5 x 53 x 68 cm.

What is the material of a commercial rowing machine?

The commercial rowing machines are made of several materials, such as: 

  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Iron 
  • Wood 

The best machines are made of steel to ensure long-lasting use. Wood adds a nice final touch to the rower machine. However, be aware of water drops, which can splinter the wood surface over time.

Figure 4 Stainless steel rowing machine

What are the resistance types of a commercial rowing machine?

There are four main types of resistance to rowing machines: water, air, hydraulic and magnetic. Each type provides a specific experience and has unique features tied to it. 

Water resistance rowing machines

Water rowing machines use paddles suspended in a water tank system to produce resistance.  It simulates the rowing stroke of a boat on the water. By pulling the handle, the paddles spin in the water. The harder the pull, the greater the resistance. 

Also, the resistance level can be determined by the water level in the tank. Less water, less resistance, and so on. Water rowing machines produce some noise, but many athletes find the sound of paddles splashing quite relaxing. 

It is the closest model to natural water rowing.

Figure 5 Water rowing machine

Air resistance rowing machines

Air rowing machines use airflow to produce the necessary resistance. A fan flywheel is chained to the rowing handle. The faster/harder the rowing, the greater the resistance. An air rower allows the athlete to slow down or speed up during the exercise. 

This particular rowing machine is popular for HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and Crossfit workouts. Olympic athletes often choose this model too when rowing off the water due to different resistance levels and realistic feel.

Being tight to the user – effort, air rowers are good for both beginner and advanced trainees because they adjust naturally to all levels. 

However, the “whooshing” noise produced by the spinning flywheel can be annoying to some athletes. 

Figure 6 Air rowing machine

Hydraulic resistance rower machines 

Also known as piston rowers, these rowing machines use hydraulic pistons to simulate natural boating movements. It uses fluid to produce resistance, with the possibility to control the amount of fluid that enters and exits the pistons. 

Hydraulic rowers are quiet and largely affordable, compared to other types of rowing machines. It is compact, easy to carry and store, but not suitable for tall and heavy athletes.

Figure 7 Hydraulic rowing machine 

Magnetic resistance rower machines 

These rowers use a magnetic brake system to produce resistance. There are a magnetic flywheel and a magnet that, according to its proximity to the flywheel, creates less or more resistance. 

Because this system has no friction, these rowers are silent and are preferred by many athletes. They are also smooth, compact, affordable, and easy to maintain.

Figure 8 Magnetic rowing machine 

What is the number of pistons of the hydraulic rower machine?

Normally, hydraulic rowers have two pistons, one attached to each arm of the handlebar. Others have only one center piston.

The two-piston rower is the only rowing machine that allows independent training for each arm. This feature is useful especially in recovery and to correct muscle imbalances. 

Figure 9 Two pistons hydraulic rowing machine

Figure 10 One piston hydraulic rowing machine

Can the pistons of the hydraulic rowing machine overheat?

Yes. During training sessions longer than 20 minutes, the pistons can overheat and damage the resistance system. 

Hydraulic rowing machines manufacturers recommend a break after 20 minutes of use. 

What is the water volume for water rowing machines?

The water volume in the tank can vary from 9 to 17 Liters. For this reason, a water rowing machine is fairly heavy. 

Figure 11 Water tank of water rowing machine

What is a damper setting on an air rowing machine?

A damper setting is a tool useful to control the quantity of air entering the flywheel. This is not a built-in piece, so when buying be sure you ask your supplier about it. 

By controlling the airflow, the athlete can set how heavy or light the rowing stroke will feel. The low setting allows less air in the wheel, the high setting allows higher amounts of air. 

Note that the damper setting is not a resistance setting. It only affects how the rowing stroke feels, not the resistance grade. 

Figure 12 Damper setting

Are the resistance stages of rowing machines visible on the monitor?

Yes. Resistance setting is visible on the monitor of rowing machines. Some can have up to 16 stages of resistance. The resistance grade is adjustable by the press of a button on its digital monitor. 

Figure 13 Monitor with digital commands, including resistance stages

How important is the digital monitor to a commercial rowing machine?

With the help of a digital monitor, the athletes can check time, calories, and other metrics during their workouts. Keeping the data will help track the progress and improve overall rowing performances.  

Air rowing monitors are superior to other models due to their precise and accurate measurements of distance, time, and power. This accuracy allows scores of different users on different rowing machines to be compared. 

The superiority of data determines many Olympic rowers to prefer air rowers for indoor training. 

Figure 14 Air rowing machine display example

What are the features of the rowing machine handles?

The most important features of a rowing machine handle are:

  • Ergonomic design for natural and safe use 
  • Non-slip grip for secure workout
  • Foam handles for smooth and secure catch
  • Sturdy construction for superior training performances

Figure 15 Rowing machine handles 

Are the pedals of the rowing machine non-slip?

Yes. Normally, the foot pedals should be non-slip to ensure stability during training. High-quality rowers offer non-slip pedals and wide footrest, suitable to a wide category of athletes. 

However, this feature is not a must, especially with low – medium quality rowers. Gym owners interested to acquire rowing machines in bulk should check with the supplier if this feature is included or not. 

Yanre Fitness premium quality rowing machine models have all anti-slip pedals, wide footrest with adjustable self-adhere straps for secure footing. 

The ergonomic design makes them friendly and gives a natural rowing feeling. With us, gym owners do not need to worry about losing the grip or exercise interruption of your trainee. 

Figure 16 Anti-slip pedals with straps 

Is it easy to move a rowing machine?

No. Generally speaking, long seat rail rowers are heavy and have extra weight from the water tanks or cylinders. This makes them quite uncomfortable to move around the gym. 

Compact size rowing machines, such as hydraulic rowers, weight less and are slightly easier to move. 

Is the rowing machine foldable? 

Yes. Hydraulic and magnetic rowing machines normally can be folded and stowed away in a secure place of the gym.

Figure 17 Compact rowing machine 

Is it safe to use a rowing machine?

Yes. Rowing machines are low-impact and are considered among the safest training machines in the industry.

However, during rowing exercises, the most exposed areas to injuries are the knee joints. If done incorrectly, the rowing stroke can cause problems to your articulations. The athletes must have a correct starting position and keep their shins vertical during rowing. 

Figure 18 Athlete performing rowing motions 

Why is the resistance type of the rowing machine important to gym owners?

For gym owners and sport equipment dealers and distributors, knowing the different resistance types can determine the wholesale price, functionality, build quality, and spacing in the gym center. 

There are many brands, price ranges, features, and qualities to choose from, make sure you select the best gym equipment for your fitness center. 

Yanre Fitness provides only premium quality rowing machines, with additional features that offer efficient and natural workouts. Blueprinted human movement bench and ergonomic design are high standard extras that add value to the original resistance type of rower machines. 

Figure 19 Types of rowing resistance for gym 

Is the resistance grade of a rowing machine adjustable?

Yes. The resistance created by the rowing machines has different degrees of adjustability. 

  • Water resistance rowing machines: resistance is ‘variable’, according to the athletes rowing intensity and the quantity of water existing in the tank
  • Air resistance rowing machines: resistance is ‘variable’, according to the athletes rowing intensity
  • Hydraulic resistance rower machines: resistance-level setting by turning a knob on the piston
  • Magnetic resistance rower machines:  resistance-level setting adjusted by turning a knob\pressing a button

Figure 20 Resistance adjustability degree 

What is the wholesale price of a commercial rowing machine?

Gym owners need to know that prices range due to brands and quality. They start as low as 100 $, the cheapest model of rowers being the hydraulic rower machine. Commercial quality models will be more expensive as the manufacturers use superior construction materials. 

Yanre Fitness provides high-quality rowing machines at wholesale price, with the latest technology incorporated. We guarantee effectiveness and long-life equipment for your fitness center. 

What accessories are available for a rowing machine? 

To ensure convenient use of the rowing machine, manufacturers can provide a series of accessories:

  • Transport wheels 
  • Non-slip mat 
  • Bluetooth for heart rates
  • Phone or tablets holder
  • Monitor with USB to record all workout data

Figure 21 Chest belt

Figure 22 The anti-slip mat 

Final words

I hope the above guide has answered most of your questions about commercial rowing machines. 

Now that you have decided which rowing machine resistance type best fits your gym, let Yanre Fitness prepare your order. 

To offer performative rowing training to your clients, choose Yanre Fitness rowing machines!