Rowing Machines

If you’re looking for a rowing machine for sale and you have questions such as: what rowing machine to buy, can a rowing machine build muscles, what muscles are worked when rowing on a rowing machine, is rowing a good exercise or which rowing machine is best for your needs, you’re in the right place to find all the answers.


A rowing machine is the ultimate cardio tool for a full-body conditioning session. This is the ideal fitness option for those trying to gain more strength and/or endurance. Whether a novice or a seasoned athlete, you'll undoubtedly be put through your paces.


Rowing is one of the most joint-friendly forms of exercise, having little to no impact on the body. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or improve strength and endurance, rowing machine workouts can get you closer to achieving your fitness goals. Rowing engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, so it’s a perfect choice for a full-body workout and building and strengthening all major muscle groups in one training session.

Rowing machine for home


Rowing machines are the perfect cardio machines for home use. Since the rowing motion engages up to 86% of your muscles, a rowing machine is the ultimate full-body workout option. In addition, that one machine that can exercise all of your major muscle groups can be very space efficient with convenient folding designs and upright storage options. If you’d like your rower to become a part of your home’s design there are plenty of aesthetic wooden rowers to choose from that will blend right into your living space.

Commercial Rowers


At Fitshop we offer a wide selection of fitness equipment for a variety of uses and needs, including rowing machines for a home gym and rowing machines for commercial gyms from brands including Concept2, Taurus, BodyMax, WaterRower, Life Fitness, NordicTrack, and ProForm. If your equipment is intended to be used extensively, regularly and continuously for many hours each day, a commercial grade warranty is a must. Unlike home equipment, commercial rowers are designed to withstand heavy usage in places such as commercial gyms, fitness studios and hotel gyms.


Rowing works out almost all of your muscles! Up to 86% of your muscles, including your lats, quads, rhomboids, glutes, teres major, teres minor and spinal erectors. Rowing is one of the most complete choices for a full-body workout.


There are a lot of aspects that should be taken into consideration when buying a rowing machine. You should always consider your fitness goals whether you’d like to improve your general health, boost your metabolism, use your machine for rehabilitation, HIIT workouts or maybe warm-ups before your strength training sessions. Here are some other factors you should think about before buying a rowing machine:

  • The Space: One of the many benefits of rowing machines is that they can be very space efficient. Many models fold or store upright taking up minimal floor space when not in use. You’ll also find many aesthetic wooden water resistance rowing machines that will fit right into your living room’s decor if a metal chunk of equipment is not your thing.
    The Space
  • Type of Resistance: Type of resistance is one of the most important aspects in a rowing machine. You can find more details on different types of resistance in the paragraph below. It affects how smooth, quiet, quick acting and joint-friendly the rowing machine is.
    Type of Resistance
  • The Rail Length: Some of the smaller machines have shorter rails and may not be suitable for a taller user. Make sure the length of the rowing machine’s rail is suitable for your height.
    The Rail Length
  • Single or double rail: In some rowers the seat is mounted on a singular rail which makes the machine slimmer, and in others the seat is mounted on a slightly wider double rail that makes the rowing motion especially smooth and sturdy.
    Single or double rail
  • Body Weight: Your body weight will affect which rowing machine is more suitable for your needs.
    Body Weight
  • Console / Connectivity: The console of your rowing machine can be less or more advanced, from simple monitors displaying the basic data (time, distance, heart-rate, speed) to advanced computers that are fully compatible with workout apps (such as Kinomap or iFit) and connect to your device through Bluetooth.
    Console / Connectivity


One of the most important factors in any rowing machine is the type of resistance it utilises. The most popular types of resistance are bungee rope, air resistance, magnetic resistance, water/fluid resistance and hybrid resistance (air + magnetic). One of the more popular rowing machines - Concept2 rowing machine - is an air rower and most of the indoor rowing competitions are held on these, so let’s start with air resistance.


Air Rowers use a flywheel with an incorporated fan to create resistance. The flywheel is connected to the rower’s handle with a chain, so when you pull your handle the flywheel begins to spin creating the air resistance. That resistance can be manually changed with a lever which adjusts the angle of the fans (creating more or less resistance). The resistance of air rowers is also affected by your rowing style - the more dynamic motion the more resistance.


Air resistance rowers are very hard-wearing and durable, since the air resistance mechanism is not prone to wear and tear. There’s a wide range of resistance that can be adjusted both manually with a lever and with the style and technique of the rowing motion.


The fan operated on a chain used to generate the air resistance can be a bit noisy at times, which is especially noticeable in small spaces such as home gyms.

Air Resistance
Magnetic Resistance


Just like air rowers, magnetic rowers work on an integrated flywheel which generates the resistance. But in this case, instead of an integrated fan, magnetic rowers utilise strong magnets to slow down the flywheel and control the strength of the created resistance. Magnetic resistance can be adjusted electronically from the machine’s console - to create a lower resistance the magnets are moved further away from the flywheel and moved closer to generate higher resistance. Magnetic resistance is steady and constant, it isn’t affected by your rowing technique. Many rowers nowadays utlise hybrid resistance, which is a combination of air and magnetic resistance.


The magnetic resistance is very convenient to adjust from the console and it stays steady and smooth. Magnetic rowers are incredibly quiet compared to other forms of resistance and their space-efficient design ensures they don’t take up too much of your floor space.


The range of the magnetic resistance is limited to the strength of the magnets and doesn't increase any higher with a more dynamic rowing style.


Water rowing machines gained their popularity thanks to the natural and authentic feeling of rowing. They utilise the same type of resistance as outdoor rowing - the water. Water resistance rowing machines are usually belt driven with that belt connecting to your rower’s handle. With each pull of the handle, the belt starts the rotation of the fan in the water, which consequently, generates water resistance. The most unique aspect of the water resistance is that it’s fully controlled by the user with their rowing technique and the strength and dynamics of the strokes. That means you can switch between low and high resistance in split seconds without any adjustments to the machine. Some of the water resistance rowing machines additionally include a lever that controls the angle of the fins of the fan in the water tank. You can also control the level of the resistance by adjusting the amount of water in the water tank, the higher you fill it up the more resistance you’ll get.

Water resistance rowing machines take time to get used to and master the technique to achieve higher resistance, especially if you are used to exercising on rowers with other types of resistance. Naturally, if you want a higher resistance you are prone to row faster, but in reality, the higher resistance can be achieved only with steadier and stronger pulls. The technique here is everything.

Water Resistance

The first pro, is the beautiful, soothing sound they make when rowing. You don’t get that with any other type of resistance. It resembles real rowing as you can hear authentic water movement as you row. Often the frame of the water resistance rowers is wooden and they store upright so they look stylish and aesthetic even in the middle of your living room. The resistance is fully controlled by the user’s rowing technique so it can be switched from low to high resistance in split seconds - perfect for HIIT.


They are on average a bit more pricey, but very well worth it. It takes time to get used to this type of resistance, especially if you’re used to rowers with other types of resistance.

Hybrid Resistance


Hybrid rowers efficiently combine air resistance and magnetic resistance. The resistance of the lighter strokes is generated by the magnets and the flywheel, but when you exceed a certain level of resistance, the air fan chips in adding extra resistance.


You get the best of both types of resistance - smooth and quiet light strokes and high, powerful air resistance on the stronger pulls. There are many foldable hybrid rowers on the market so if you have a limited workout space you can easily fold them and store away when not in use.


Louder on higher resistance when the fan is operating.


Why buy from Fitshop? We are the longest-established fitness equipment retailer in the UK, and Europe’s #1 For Home Fitness. We can offer you so many benefits when you choose to buy with us, including:

  • Expert sales staff offering impartial advice in-store, online, over the phone, email, live chat, and social media.
  • Try before you buy: Most of our rowing machines can be tried and tested in-store, including demos of compatible workout apps. Find your nearest store here.
  • Interest-free finance: Available online and in-store to find the most cost-effective solution to invest in your purchase. Find out more.
  • Installs: All our rowing machines come with easy-to-follow assembly instructions, however, an installation service is also available.
  • Delivery: We deliver anywhere in the UK, and offer a range of delivery services with our courier partners. Find out more here.
  • Aftercare: Our dedicated team of specialists offers world-class after-sales and care, available 7 days a week to answer any questions or queries.
  • Ex-Display: We offer a range of ex-display showroom model rowing machines, providing unbeatable discounts on rowing machines, making them cheaper for you to buy.


If you would like to find out more about our rowing machine range or have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our in-house commercial sales team at or 0141 737 2250.