Rowing machines, or ergometers, are one of the best total-body cardiovascular fitness machines available, according to AmericanFitness.net. While other machines such as treadmills only target the legs, rowing machines help develop strength and endurance in the entire body. The popular cross-training website, Crossfit.com, incorporates rowing workouts into their programs, and rowing ergometer competitions are held throughout the world as well. The cost of a rowing machine varies based on its quality and technology, but are generally more affordable than treadmills.
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The indoor rower was originally conceived in the early 20th century as a way for crew members to train during the winter, when lakes and rivers would freeze over. Rowing machines are now offered with several different resistance methods and braking systems, however, all rowing machines consist of a handlebar attached to a flywheel and a mobile seat attached to a track. Modern rowing machines have computers that can assess heart rate, distance, watts and many other physiological data.
New models of the Concept2, the world's best-selling rowing machine and most recognizable manufacturer, range from $900 to $1,250, depending on the materials and the personal monitoring computer selected. Other models, such as the Lifespan Fitness Rower and the Stamina Body Trac, can be as little at $180 to $400. Less expensive machines may not include personal computers and are made with less durable materials. Rowing machines do tend to undergo a lot of abuse, and a quality machine can last much longer.
Used rowing machines vary greatly depending on the year the machine was made, the condition it is in and who is selling it. A reasonable estimate for a used rowing machine with normal wear and tear is approximately half the original sales price, according to GaltTech.com. Auction websites often have very good deals on rowing machines, and sometimes include shipping in the cost, which can be very expensive for such a large piece of equipment. When buying a used rowing machine, make sure to ask if the chain and flywheel are in good condition.
In addition to the rowing machine itself, you can purchase a variety of heart rate monitors and personal computers, logbooks and computer programs and replacement equipment. Concept2 sells seat slides that can be linked together to create the feeling of being in a team boat. Heart rate equipment, personal computers and computer programs can be effective training tools for more advanced rowers with specific training goals.
Where to Buy
Most manufacturers sell rowing machines from their company websites and can have them delivered to your door. Wholesale dealers sell a variety of brands and allow you to compare and contrast prices and product reviews. Auction sites, such as eBay, allow you to bid on the price of a rower and can often provide the best deals. Classified ad websites, such as Craigslist.com, and local newspaper ads often have rowing machines for sale as well, but these can be more difficult to find.