Rowing machine for a small area?
January 30, 2008 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a good rowing machine for a small space.

I hate cardio but need to do more of it, and I've identified the rowing machine as a device that I might enjoy (and it seems to give a great workout). But I've got a small space to work out in. Could you please recommend a good rowing machine that folds up and tucks away easily when not in use? (Note that I'm not joining the team, so it doesn't have to be a world-class, top-of-the-line. Just want the basics.)

Alternately, I suppose I'm open to any other great cardio machines that work well in a small space, tuck away easily and don't cost a fortune.
posted by jbickers to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There's only three rowing machines I've really heard rowers actually talk of using (at least not without bursting into tears). Concept 2s are pretty much the industry standard, and then there's the WaterRower and the RowPerfect. The first two at least can be stored end-on. I think the C2 model C and up can be folded or split on two to aid storage too.
If you don't want top of the line, just get a second hand one. The market for second hand C2's is pretty good.

Even if you really want something more compact I couldn't recommend anything other than those three.
posted by edd at 7:41 AM on January 30, 2008

The WaterRower is also very quiet, you're just sloshing water around. It does lack the resistance options of the Concept but you can just row faster to increase your power output. For a home, I'd edge towards the WaterRower compared to the Concept, unless you're very interested in having higher resistances/hooking up to your computer.
posted by Static Vagabond at 8:11 AM on January 30, 2008

They could really use an editor at Water Rower:

"Treadmills- use far less muscle mass then the WaterRower producing far less gain. Running also places shock loading and the bodies entire weight directly on the joints"

posted by tiburon at 8:26 AM on January 30, 2008

WaterRower is probably the exact opposite of "good for a small space," too.
posted by jbickers at 8:28 AM on January 30, 2008

Somebody offline suggested Dance Dance Revolution as a great cardio workout that uses hardly any floor space. Anybody here use DDR as workout tool? That could be kinda fun. But I wonder just how much of a sweat you work up.
posted by jbickers at 8:30 AM on January 30, 2008

I recommend a Concept 2 that can be folded up. If you use it correctly it is very similar to real-life rowing. Other models that I have tried do not offer proper resistance, and you will lose the strength-building benefits.
posted by Smilla at 8:32 AM on January 30, 2008

I've got a Concept 2 at home that I got probably about 8 years ago now. It breaks up into two pieces, the tallest of which is about four feet I would say; the total footprint is probably a square of about 3x3 ft., but I haven't been aggressive about arranging it for space in the current apartment. I've lived in Boston and New York with this thing, and always managed to find space for it. In my last apartment in Manhattan I had it tucked away in a relatively shallow closet and found it pretty painless to pull it out, assemble it and "erg away."

I've got to say, I haven't tried too many other rowing machines, but the few I have never stood up to the Concept 2. The thing is built solidly, pretty much all metal and wood, and with no wasted materials. Like I said, I've had it probably 8 years, and the thing hasn't shown its age for the most part. Although I do have to change the battery on the readout, now that I think of it...

Oh, and for the record, while I haven't been completely consistent in my workout habits, I would say that, for the past 8 years, I've used it cumulatively 6-7 years at a rate of 3 times a week. I love my C2.
posted by dubitable at 5:20 PM on January 30, 2008

> pretty much all metal and wood

To be more accurate, it's pretty much completely metal except for the hard plastic seat, digital readout and wood handle with rubber grips. New models have a different handle--plastic but still good--I believe, and more fancy technology in terms of the digital readout (they can sync up with a PC to get your stats, for example).
posted by dubitable at 5:25 PM on January 30, 2008

Dance Dance Revolution is a fun game, but it doesn't work up a sweat unless you're very out of shape or you're playing at very high difficulty levels.
posted by liet at 6:25 PM on January 30, 2008

dubitable's post reminds me to recommend as an aside getting a seat pad if you get a C2. There's various ones sold by C2 as well as third parties - just a bit of (suitably dense and high friction) foam to pop on the seat. A lot of people seem perfectly comfortable on a C2 but there's no way you'd catch me sitting on one for a long session without extra padding.
posted by edd at 3:10 AM on January 31, 2008

I am very happy with my Waterrower. I have rowed competitively and I prefer it to the Concept 2.

It's softer on my upper back than the Concept and it's far quieter, so much more acceptable in an apartment. It also stands up, so it only uses about four or five square feet of floor space. It's made of wood so it looks nice too. The resistance also feels slightly more like pulling on an oar.

The only problem is that the meter is not as accurate as a Concept 2, although they may have fixed that by now - I bought mine about five or six years ago. I just use a heart monitor to see how much effort I am using.
posted by icheyne at 10:27 AM on February 5, 2008

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