Forget about treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes… The rowing machine is the perfect fitness apparatus that makes it possible to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, while also being easy on the joints. It offers numerous advantages compared to other exercise machines and is one of the most effective ways to exercise the whole body in a few minutes.
The rowing machines themselves have different braking systems. Today I would like to introduce you to magnetic rowers. These machines are extremely quiet and much more affordable than other options. The magnetic braking system also has some other advantages. In this article you will learn everything about this topic, so have fun! 😉
At the end of the article you will find recommended models. To make sure that you become an expert in the field of magnetic rowing machines, I will explain everything you need to know about this topic in advance. If you’re just here for the product recommendations, you can scroll down! 😉
Why You Need a Rowing Machine
Why exactly should you use a rowing machine at all when you could also burn calories on an exercise bike or just by going for a run? Let me explain briefly why rowing machines are so beneficial.
With a rowing machine you can simulate the movements in a rowing boat in your own four walls and thus complete an effective full-body workout.
When I talk about a full body workout, I really mean it! While jogging or cycling is almost exclusively a lower body workout, rowing targets about 80% of our muscles. 80 PERCENT!
To give you a better idea of how impressive this really is, I’ll drop a list for you here that contains all the main muscles you can train during a rowing workout:
- Large Back Muscle (Latissimus)
- Back Extensor
- Trapezius Muscle/Neck
- Rear Delts
- Front Thighs
- Glute Muscles
- Ab Muscles
- Forearm Muscles
Pretty impressive, isn’t it? 😉 The best thing is that you don’t even have to train the listed muscles individually; you can effectively strengthen all of them at the same time in just 30 minutes.
In addition, training with a rowing machine is considered to be a low-impact workout that’s much easier on the joints than running or cycling.
You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m very convinced of the benefits of working out with a rowing machine. However, I haven’t even told you about the biggest advantage yet. I have already explained that rowing targets nearly all of our muscles at the same time.
Now we have to think about how our body manages to supply so many muscles with energy at the same time… The answer is: It can only provide such a large amount of energy by drawing from our stored fat reserves. And that, I guess, is music to the ears of most people interested in doing sports. 😉 On average, you can burn between 700 and 1000 calories in one hour of rowing training, which is very good compared to other exercise options.
Building muscle and burning fat takes place simultaneously while working out on a rowing machine, which makes it a very, very effective full-body workout!
In addition, I personally think, and I’m sure many people will agree with me, that rowing is much more fun than other types of exercise and you won’t lose motivation quickly.
How Do Magnetic Rowing Machines Work?
While rowing, you are always pulling against some kind of resistance. There are, for example, rowing machines with water resistance that work exactly like a real rowing boat, but there are also systems in which the water resistance is artificially simulated.
In the case of magnetic rowers, a cable pull is used to set a flywheel mass in motion. This pulling movement is slowed down by the magnetic force of several permanent magnets or an electromagnet, which creates the resistance.
The magnitude of the resistance is determined by the distance between the magnet and the flywheel mass and can be adjusted as desired.
It is important that the flywheel mass is large enough, otherwise so-called “dead spots” might occur that heavily impede on the stroke and the flow of the motion.
Pros and Cons of Magnetic Rowers
Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of rowing machines with a magnetic braking mechanism.
Probably the biggest advantage that makes most people buy a magnetic rowing is that these models are extremely quiet. While the alternatives with water and especially air resistance can become very loud, you can hear (almost) nothing when working out on a magnetic rower.
This is especially useful if you are living in a rented apartment or if you want to train in your living room with other people present as well. Your neighbors won’t be disturbed by magnetic rowers and even roommates who are in the same room should not feel disturbed. Unless you are exhausted and breathe heavily! 😉
In any case, you can easily watch TV or listen to music during your workout.
Easy to Clean and Low-Maintenance
Since, unlike other brake mechanisms, there is no friction, rowing machines with magnetic brakes require almost no maintenance and are very easy to clean. This also makes them very durable!
Another big advantage is that they are relatively affordable! Rowers with air or water resistance cost well over 1000 Euros, while the magnetic models are available for under 500 Euros without any quality impairments.
To give you a complete picture of magnetic rowers, I would like to mention the main disadvantage as well.
The Rowing Experience
In classic rowing on water, the resistance increases with the speed and force of the rowing strokes and thus adapts to your own performance level. Rowing machines with water or air resistance simulate this kind of resistance, which makes the rowing feeling very authentic.
Rowers with a magnetic brake, on the other hand, allow a manual adjustment of the resistance, but do not adapt to your own rowing motion. This results in a less authentic rowing experience and an individual training style is only possible to a limited extent.
Experienced rowers may prefer self-regulating systems with air or water resistance, but which braking mechanism you choose is irrelevant for muscle building or fat loss.
The efficiency and intensity of the training can be equally provided by magnetic rowing machines. So, if an authentic and realistic rowing experience is not the main thing you are looking for in a rowing machine, a magnetic rower might be the best choice for you. These models offer a very quiet, inexpensive and low-maintenance way to effectively train your entire body in a short time.
The Best Magnetic Rowing Machines to Buy in 2021
To cut a long story short: I don’t want to overwhelm you with thousands of products and therefore I will only present to you the best magnetic rowing machine that you can currently buy according to my personal opinion and experience. This one is a no brainer that I can recommend without reservation 😉
The Xterra ERG200 Rowing Machine
This rowing machine is probably the most popular among the magnetic rowers. This model is proof that a low price does not always result in lower quality, because that is not the case here! This rowing machine offers everything you could hope for in a rowing machine and can be recommended without reservation.
The device is of high quality, offers a sufficiently high training intensity with eight different magnetic resistance levels and is foldable and therefore very space-saving.
Like other magnetic rowing machines, it is whisper quiet, needs very low maintenance and has a very good price-performance ratio in general.
I would suggest that you just take a look for yourself. You will find the product here.
2-in-1 Rowing Machine with Air Resistance and Magnetic Brakes
I also have a solution for undecided rowers who do not want to do without the advantages of magnetic rowing machines, but still want to have an authentic rowing feeling.
There are also 2-in-1 rowing machines with air resistance and magnetic brakes, which combine the advantages of both systems and thus delight numerous customers.
The price of these models is significantly lower than the cost of an air rower, but also higher than those with just a magnetic braking system.
In my opinion, these 2-in-1 rowing machines still make a lot of sense, as they offer an optimal combination of a unique rowing feeling, a very low noise level and a high durability.
I highly recommend taking a look at the SereneLife Rowing Machine. If you are interested in this product, you can find it here.
The Proper Rowing Technique
Since the technique can be learned much better with pictures than just with text, I’ll drop a little video for you here that shows you how to row on a machine correctly. I think it is explained very well! The video features an air rowing machine, which doesn’t change anything about the proper rowing technique.
The Bottom Line: Magnetic Rowing Machines
I hope I helped you with this article about magnetic rowing machines and answered all your questions.
If you still have further questions or suggestions on this topic, feel free to write me an email or just leave a comment below.
In my rowing machines category, I also have some more interesting articles on the home rowing workout, so just stay a little longer if you want! 😉