The Best Rowing Machine for Crossfit

The rowing machine has been around since the 4th Century BC when Athenian admirals introduced the machine as a military training device. In the 1800s, the rowing machine began to take shape with the first patent granted to W.B Curtis. The first commercial rowing machines were rolled out in the 1900s and some machines even began to go digital. Today, rowing machines are high-tech pieces of equipment used for various exercises, sports, and specialties.

What does a rower do?

A rower is used to essentially simulate the actions of watercraft rowing. A rower works with a flywheel and pulley system that creates resistance to exercise specific muscles. A rowing machine will target approximately 85% of the muscles in your body. These muscles include the abs, back, chest, shoulders, triceps, glutes, calf muscles, and wrists. 

What resistance setting is needed for Crossfit?

Often, you will see a rower with a high setting of resistance. It is a common misconception that the higher the number, the harder you are working, the better you are building your muscles. However, this is not always the case. When you are using a rower for Crossfit you will want to keep the resistance around 3-6. This is a good basis to start and work on. Keeping the resistance lower will provide you with a better cardiovascular workout. 

5 Tips for correctly using a rower

  1. Set the damper. The first thing you should do when using a rower is adjust the damper from 1 to 10. This changes the resistance and how you will use the rower.
  2. Proper posture. You need to ensure you are using the proper posture so as not to hurt yourself and that you can work your muscles properly. Sit with your back straight while keeping a slight lean forward.
  3. Pulling properly. When holding on to the handle, you want to pull back towards your chest and finish the rep with the handle resting just below your chest. The pulley should not go as far up as your chin.
  4. Keep in line. Keeping your knees in line with your hips is the correct way to use the rower. If you allow your knees to drop to the side, you are not engaging the inner thigh muscles.
  5. Softer grip. Having a hard, death grip on the handle is only going to make your hands very sore, very quickly and also puts unneeded tension on your forearms. Try using only 3 fingers to hold on to the handle and use a softer grip.

What to look for when buying a rower

When you are considering buying a rowing machine there are several factors you should consider. First off, you should think about how much you are going to be using the rower and if it is more cost-effective than going to the gym. You should also factor in how much you are able to spend and how much space you have for a machine (some machines can be folded and put away). When buying a rower, you will want to consider the types of rowing machines available. There are air rowing machines, magnetic, hydraulic, and even water rowing machines. These machines are used for different functions and exercises. Be sure you have done adequate research on the types of rowers and which rower is best for you. When looking to purchase a rower, it is also a great idea to ask industry professionals. You can stop by your local gym or try contacting a trainer online or over the phone. Professional trainers usually have great recommendations on equipment to buy. The last thing to look for when buying a rower is the general population reviews. Reviews are found everywhere and will provide you with enough information to make an informed decision on your rowing machine purchase. 

5 Best rowing machines for Crossfit (2022)

Concept 2 [Best Overall]

The Concept 2 or C2 is the best rowing machine for Crossfit and is considered the gold standard. The concept 2 is manufactured with user ability strongly in mind. This machine features a backlit LCD display to monitor all your progress made. The machine also includes WiFi capabilities to sync to your app as well as connect to a USB for data storage. This rower offers a low-impact intensive cardio workout that is easy on your body. The Concept 2 is easy to build and put together and also comes apart in 2 pieces for easy storage. 

Xebex Air Rower 2.0 [Runner Up]

The Xebex Air Rower 2.0 features the latest in rowing technology. With extra padding and added comfort, this rower is next to luxury in exercise equipment. This machine has been considered one of the best rowing machines for Crossfit as well. The LCD monitor includes all tracking and data as well as pre-programmed workouts to follow along with. This machine also folds up and, with attached wheels, it is easy to move the rower around wherever needed.  

Stamina DT Pro

The Stamina DT Pro is a lightweight rowing machine that is both affordable and effective. This machine is quieter than the competition, making it a nice rower for indoors. The rower includes dual resistance technology, air, and magnetic resistance work together for a dynamic rowing stroke. The Stamina DT Pro also comes with an LCD monitor for tracking and display. This rowing machine is also foldable for easy storage in smaller spaces. 

Goplus Magnetic Rower

The Goplus Magnetic Rower is a compact, foldable machine designed to move wherever you are. This machine uses magnetic resistance and provides a seamless rowing experience. Equipped with 10 levels of resistance, you can work all areas of the body. This machine is one of the most affordable rowers on the market to date. With an LCD display for simple stats, this machine is perfect for anyone wanting a solid workout on a budget. 

WaterRower Club

The WaterRower Club is a rowing machine that uses water to create resistance. The water makes for a smooth rowing experience and offers a realistic feel to rowing on the water. This machine is constructed with wood to absorb the sound and provide ultimate stability. The rower includes a riser to raise the machine off the ground and make it easier to get on and off. This rower is easy to use and the water level changes the resistance, making it a simple, yet effective machine for rowing. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does the rower build muscle?

Yes, the rower works 85% of your muscles and with use, over time the rower will build muscles. 

What muscles does the rower build?

A rowing machine will target the abs, back, chest, shoulders, triceps, glutes, calf muscles, and wrists. 

What is better between SkiERG and rower?

A SkiERG is primarily used to work the upper body. A rower is used to work the entire body. Depending on your needs, either machine is great.

Is an ERG and a rower the same thing?

Modern rowers are referred to as ergometers. In short form, yes, an ERG and a rower are the time thing.

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