When it comes to indoor rowing, there is one name that stands out more than any other and that is the Concept 2 rowing machine. Its widely regarded as the standard for indoor rowing and used in virtually every health club and professional rowing fraternity. Concept is a British company and the design of their indoor rower developed from the need to create a rowing machine that resembles actual rowing as closely as possible.
Early models of indoor rowers were clumsy, uneven and uncomfortable to use. They worked with springs and hinges and it was just a real nightmare to train on. When Concept launched their first rowing machine it took the very keen British rowing community by storm. In a country where training in winter is less than ideal, the option of having an indoor machine that was as close to the real thing was bound to be successful.
There are quite a few different types of rowing machines. They are classified by the resistance mechanism which is either hydraulic, magnetic or air driven (known as a flywheel). While each has its own advantages and disadvantages, flywheel rowers are by far the most effective in simulating the motion of real rowing. It also provides more control, greater durability and more stability.
The concept 2 rowing machine has a flywheel mechanism and it currently comes in 2 models. The Model D is the basic model that you are likely to find in your local health club while the Model E is the “big daddy” that has additional features and a much more durable and stable design to satisfy the needs of the more serious rower.
Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Chances are that you’ve either used or at least seen a Concept 2 rowing machine. Virtually every health club in the world has at least one. With the latest range of Concept 2 machines its more affordable than ever before to have your own and the Model D is ideal for home use. Whether its just general fitness or even if you are a serious rower, it offers all the features of a professional training machine with the nice price tag and the compact design needed in a home trainer.
It’s a vast improvement from the original Concept indoor rowing machine. Its still a fanwheel design, but offers much more efficient design with a stainless steel slide rail, an ergonomically designed handle and better seat positioning. The Concept 2 the closest thing you’ll get to actual rowing and whether you want to resemble a heavy boat or a sleek fast feel, the model D can resemble that.
The Model D has a MP3 performance monitor that allows you to track your distance, speed and calories – and it allows you to store the data on a LogCard that’s USB compatible. This is one of my favorite features because it allows you to use your data online with the Concept 2 website to compete with rowers from all over the world! The model D is also Polar ready – and if you have a Polar heart rate monitor it integrates seamlessly.
Although the Concept 2 is a vast improvement on the original I must say that I do not like the fact that they’ve added so much “plastic” to the machine. The seat feels a little thin and the handle is completely made from plastic in an attempt to bring down the overall weight.
The Model D is the cheaper model and is perfect for “light” or residential use. The only real difference with the more expensive model is the durability. The basic design is exactly the same and offers great value for money as an all-in-one workout machine.
Concept 2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine
The Model E is the “big daddy” and comes packed with advanced features that professional and serious rowers will LOVE. The first and most obvious difference is its size. Its bigger than the Model D and stands much higher off the ground. The model E was designed with durability in mind and is the most robust rower money can buy. Its virtually corrosion resistant and is double powder coated with an additional coating to resist even the heaviest use. It has a Nickel plated chain which ensures a lifetime of smooth rowing.
The Model E is a commercial grade indoor rower and is perfect for health clubs and professionals who need all the extra features and improved stability and endurance. It comes standard with an advanced PM4 Performance Monitor and a Suunto heart rate monitor. It allows you to record and use a wealth of training data and you can use online.
One of the best features of the Model E is its ability to link up machines (the track is sold separately) which is awesome for duel rowing and professional training. It also allows you to calibrate and synchronize the monitors for team training or even for racing against each other.
Although the Model E is perfect for professionals and heavy duty usage, the higher setup makes it perfect for people with back problems and mobility issues. Although it has a ton of extra features I think its slightly over priced. A lot of the extra features are stuff you can do with any standard heart rate monitor and although the more robust finish will make it more durable the model D has proven itself to be robust.
If you can afford it and you have the space for it, buy the Model E but don’t think it will give you a superior workout. It has exactly the same motion and basic functionality and will give you exactly the same workout as the Model D.
Indoor Rowing Fitness
While The Concept 2 rowing machine started off as a training machine for rowers it evolved as an exercise on its own. Because it provides such an excellent complete body workout, it does everything that most high tech multi-purpose workout machines can only dream of. Rowing provides the perfect combination of cardiovascular and muscular exercise. The fact that its low impact exercise makes this one of the most effective ways to get fit, lose weight and build strength – without even leaving your home.
The concept 2 sparked a “cult following” and today there are several indoor rowing competitions all over the world. The most popular is the Crash-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships where keen rowers from all over the world compete for the bragging rights of being “the fittest” rower in the world.
Whether you are a serious indoor rower competing or if you are just a housewife trying to get in shape, the Concept 2 rowing machine will change your life. Its affordable, compact and will last you a lifetime. It makes getting fit and losing weight fun, but be WARNED: its highly addictive!
Rowing Machine Benefits
Whether you want to lose weight, get fit or train as a serious athlete, the rowing machine benefits are immense. Rowing machines have gained significantly in popularity primarily because it has so many benefits over other forms of exercise. For most people running, cycling or elliptical machines make up “all” their options for cardiovascular training. Rowing however offers a unique solution in that it is a perfect balance in cardio and strength training.
Lets quickly look at all the various rowing machine benefits and why choosing indoor rowing is such a good fitness solution.
Firstly, lets look at the nature of rowing and its main advantages:
- Its low impact exercise – its easy on your knees and ankles and don’t have to absorb all your body weight as with running. The machine takes up all the impact so your body doesn’t have to.
- Upper body workout – the pulling motion is great for your arms and back.
- Lower body workout – the leg motion is great for your core muscles as well at the legs.
- High intensity – you can burn a lot of calories because you engage so many different muscle groups.
- Aerobic training – rowing is great aerobic training for cardiovascular fitness
Rowing has some distinct advantages for specific muscle groups. The obvious muscles that are engaged are the legs and arms but what most people do not know is that rowing is great for your core muscles and it engages the stomach muscles, the back muscles and your chest. It also works another very important muscles – your mind. Lets quickly look at how rowing engages each of these muscle groups and how it can benefit you.
1. The Legs
The rowing motion requires you to start each stroke with your legs fully compressed. To make the strokes you need to extend your legs completely which allows you to make a full leg motion. This motion engages all the muscles in your leg and is great for flexibility as well as building muscle strength.
2. The Arms
Your arms will do the bulk of the work and the pulling motion starts with your arms outstretched and completes with your arms pulling the handle to your chest. In a similar way this is a wide range of motions that engages all the muscles in your arms – especially the muscles in your shoulders and your biceps and triceps.
3. The Core
Rowing engages your core muscles in a unique way. Most people don;t realize this about rowing until they start doing it – and feeling it the next day. The unique way in which your legs and arms engage during a stroke actually works your abdominal muscles on both the on and the off stroke. The arm motion is very good for your back muscles and your chest muscles.
4. The Mind
One of the biggest rowing machine benefits is the way in which it can help your mind relax. All exercise is good for your mind but the rhythmic motion of a rowing machine has been described as therapeutic.
Some of the more practical benefits of a rowing machine is the fact that its relatively small and can easily be stored with its small footprint. The latest Concept II rowing machines can actually fold in half which will allow you to store it neatly in a cupboard.
The Concept 2 Rower – Is It Right For You?
It doesn’t matter if you have been rowing for years or are just now getting into it, the Concept 2 Rower is the perfect choice. This indoor rowing machine will exercise your entire body. And because you use so many muscle groups all at once, you will be burning a massive amount of calories with each workout.
Model D, a very popular concept 2 rower, comes with a great deal of benefits and features. Some of them include the quite flywheel to minimize noise and a spiral damper that let’s you choose the feel of your workout. For example, you can choose to row a fast boat or a heavy boat.
Rowing a heavier boat will help with leg strength and improve overall flexibility. It also helps to strengthen your back and abs.
The concept 2 rower comes with a PM3 performance monitor.
This PM3 is what will monitor various aspects of your workout. For example, it will monitor distance, speed, pace, the amount of calories you burn and so much more. You can also access workouts, FISH games and animated rowers via the monitor.
And if you need a little motivation, the concept 2 rower has that covered too. You can get online and join the million meter club and take online challenges that are sure to keep you excited and ready to go.
These machines are known to be very comfortable due to their ergonomic handle. The handle allows you to site in a natural position while working out. Other benefits of the concept 2 rower include a log card that stores all of your workout information and personal preferences. The log card is removable so you can take your data with you everywhere you go. The USB interface makes it easy for you to transfer your data to your computer for further analysis.
And the absolute best thing about this machine, at least in my opinion, is the fact that it can easily be stored. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have a workout room where we can house our equipment. Luckily, this rower has a collapsible design that makes it easy for you to store under a bed or in a closet.
This machine can hold up to 500 pounds and can therefore be used by most people. And if you have any problems with it you can feel safe with its 5 year warranty on frame parts and 2 year warranty on moving parts including the monitor.
Overall, the concept 2 rower will provide a great workout and help you get in really great shape.
Users Review Of Concept 2 Rowing
I have been a member of a gym for a long time and I have usually stuck to the typical and familiar pieces of equipment such as the treadmill, stationary bike, and stair-stepping machine. I was afraid to try the gym’s Concept 2 Rowing because I thought it was too complicated for me, but a trainer at the gym offered to show me how to use it, and I have now come to the conclusion that the Concept 2 Rowing is an ideal piece of fitness equipment. It is not perfect, but it has everything I need and want to help me meet my fitness goals.
The Concept 2 Rowing has many advantages to make it both easy and a pleasure to use. The seat is oversized and very comfortable, and it slides back and forth smoothly. The foot rests are made with safety in mind and have indentations in the heel area for your shoe to fit in firmly, and there are straps that go around your foot. The Concept 2 Rowing is a safety conscious machine. There isn’t much danger of falling off of it as it doesn’t require any balance, and it is easier on your joints and bones than running.
The rowing apparatus on the Concept 2 Rowing has rubber on each end in the spot where your hands grip it to make it more comfortable to hold, and has the added bonus of adding friction when your hands sweat. The computer indicates the number of calories you are burning per hour at your current pace, the total number of calories you have burned, and the time you have spent working out on the Concept 2 Rowing .
It is common knowledge that the computers on cardiovascular equipment can be off by up to 20% when calculating the number of calories you have expended in comparison with other machines such as the stair stepper. The Concept 2 Rowing appears to be more effective and burn more calories than many other types of fitness equipment. Elliptical machines are known to be a powerful calorie burner and the Concept 2 Rowing is in nearly the same category. The computer indicated I was burning between 400 and 460 calories per hour on the Concept 2 Rowing . I burn more on the elliptical, but less on the stationary bike.
The Concept 2 Rowing has settings that go from 1 to 10 and are easily adjusted in between. The hardest setting is 10 but the difference between 1 and 10 is not as drastic on the Concept 2 Rower as it would be on the elliptical machine.
The Concept 2 Rowing works your entire body and simulates actual rowing with amazing accuracy. It works your upper body and legs simultaneously which is a fabulous way to warm yourself up before you begin your weight training.
That said, the Concept 2 Rowing does have some things about it that are less than ideal. It requires you to have your knees bent on the forward motion of the rowing action and after a short while my knees began to get sore, and I have never had any issues with my knees. However, there is a good chance that my knees would, over time and with practice, get used to that, and the Concept 2 Rowing would not have any disadvantages for me at all.
I typically like to read and have the ability to drink water while I am working out, but the nature of the Concept 2 Rowing requires you to use both hands so that is not possible unless you stop and interrupt your workout.
If you also weight train, using the Concept 2 Rowing can interfere with your previous workout habits. It is well known that if you are using weights with sufficient weight, you will make small tears in your muscles. The strength building in the muscles occurs after you have finished working out as those tears heal. It is necessary to give those muscles a rest so they can heal and thus get stronger. For this reason it is not wise to work the same muscle group two days in a row as the workout on the second day is basically counterproductive and a waste of your time and can lead to injuries.
So if your normal routine was to work the upper body hard on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the lower body on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then you really shouldn’t use the Concept 2 Rowing because it works both the upper and lower body and you will end up working one or the other two days in a row.
However, for those people that focus more on cardiovascular workouts, the Concept 2 Rowing is a great choice, and it is also an excellent activity if you take a break for a few days from weight training.
My final conclusion is that the Concept 2 Rowing should be highly recommended whether you are seeking a quick warm up before weight training or a total body workout. However, if you have knee issues, it may be better to use the treadmill or elliptical machine, neither of which require the same type of movement in your joints.