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Rowing machine advice
Old 09-01-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
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Rowing machine advice

I like to exercise and have done it all my life, mostly jogging and raquetball. I'm getting a little achey and am thinking about getting a rowing machine as an alternative to jogging, or at least as a cross-training choice. Had one in the 1980s and liked it, as I recall. I like the idea of a simultaneous upper, lower, core and aerobic workout.

Anyone have any advice on choosing or using one? The Concept2 seems to be a popular high end model, but is pricey at $900.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:22 PM   #2
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I wish I could help you out Rich, but I've never had one. However I do encourage you to check with your doctor before you do any strenuous exercise...
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Anyone have any advice on choosing or using one? The Concept2 seems to be a popular high end model, but is pricey at $900.
I'm not an expert, but there's a Concept 2 machine at a military gym I frequent, it gets used a lot, and it seems to stay in good working order. I've used it about a dozen times, it is smooth and easy to use.

How-to: Compared to other aerobic activities, form is very important in rowing. Unlike running or walking, rowing is not an activity our bodies have evolved to perform well. It's easy to harm one's back with poor form. I suppose the best way ahead is to read up on rowing, then get a coach/trainer who knows what he/she is talking about to get you started. If you aren't already an experienced rower, try it in the gym for a few weeks before committing to a purchase.

FWIW: I like to do interval training (e.g a modified Tabata protocol) as part of my aerobic workout. I enjoy it, it breaks up the routine of "long, slow" training, and I think there's a good case to be made that improvements in cardiovascular fitness are best achieved by challenging the cardiovascular system, rather than simply staying at the "I can do this all day" level for 30 minutes. On machines where you set your own pace through your effort in the exercise (rowers, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, etc) it's easy to do a 20 second high intensity effort followed by a 10-30 second slower-paced recuperation period. It's not practical to do this on a treadmill.
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Anyone have any advice on choosing or using one? The Concept2 seems to be a popular high end model, but is pricey at $900.
I rowed lightweights in college. All the schools use Concept 2s. They simulate rowing pretty well, they last forever, they give helpful readouts. IMO, it's the only one to consider. My son has one, and I use it frequently, as well as the one in my gym. However, sitting still and rowing can be a pretty boring experience.

Ha
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:30 AM   #5
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I bought one a few months back to use on the days that the gym is closed (twice a month) and weekends. I really wanted a Concept 2, but the price in Japan at $2800 was more than I was willing to part with. I also wanted a stationary cycle. I found this, that combines the rowing machine and a recumbent stationary bike:


I paid about $800 for it in JP. It is $599 here:

Stamina Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent/Rower - FREE Fast FedEx Shipping! from The Rowing Machine Superstore

I like it. It does the trick. But when we move back I will probably buy a Concept 2 and a good stationary bike when this one wears out.

Hope this helps.

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Old 09-02-2009, 07:26 AM   #6
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I'm not an expert, but there's a Concept 2 machine at a military gym I frequent, it gets used a lot, and it seems to stay in good working order. I've used it about a dozen times, it is smooth and easy to use.
Model D of that manufacturer seems to keep coming up as the one to consider. It's $900 but holds its value. This thread has attracted a banner ad for it up top, at least this morning.

Good points about form and technique - I'd better do some homework.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:27 AM   #7
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I wish I could help you out Rich, but I've never had one. However I do encourage you to check with your doctor before you do any strenuous exercise...
No way. I don't trust a word they say.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:33 AM   #8
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No way. I don't trust a word they say.
87.13% of the time I don't either.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:08 AM   #9
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Since workout equipment usually gets purchased, used a couple of times, then sits in a corner gathering dust, is there any market in your area for used equipment? Craigslist might turn up some options. There's one on ebay now (Concept2 Model D Rower with Heart Monitor - eBay (item 170376209033 end time Sep-05-09 11:03:46 PDT)), but once you add shipping it wouldn't save you much, even at the current price.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:13 AM   #10
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Ditto on the Concept 2, I figure if you are going to use it a lot, then the same type used by the gyms is a good choice. I use the ones at our gym a lot.
But if you are just going to use it to decorate a corner of the bedroom, then get a cheap one.
Are you sure you wouldn't rather use it at the gym? I find that I just don't like to exercise at home as much as at the gym.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:14 AM   #11
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Since workout equipment usually gets purchased, used a couple of times, then sits in a corner gathering dust, is there any market in your area for used equipment? Craigslist might turn up some options. There's one on ebay now (Concept2 Model D Rower with Heart Monitor - eBay (item 170376209033 end time Sep-05-09 11:03:46 PDT)), but once you add shipping it wouldn't save you much, even at the current price.
Good suggestion - I tried the Play it Again store, eBay, and Craig's list without success or with shipping cost issues as you mentioned. Treadmills, on the other hand... almost giving them away.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:43 AM   #12
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I use one at the Y twice a week as the very last part of a typically 1 to 3 hr workout routine, depending on ambition, jutsu partner availability, if in the "zone" can be longer. Then off to the sauna.

No idea what brand rower it is, nor do I care.

As a practical matter I do not buy any exercise machinery. We don't have the space, and even if we did they are not cost effective IMHO. The Y membership is $34/month. And comes with all the machinery (of which I only use the rowing one), pool, sauna, gym with rubberized floor, plus another basketball court with hardwood floors, free weight room, where I only use the dumbbells. Gives an excuse to get out of the house.

As others mentioned form is extremely important. I am a kayaker so good form has been imprinted in muscle memory.

I also do weird stuff like doing trunk twists with pulling, then pushing to full extension of the machine' chain (big clunk at the stops) both to left and right, palms up and palms down, pulling with only the pinky and the finger next to it and full extension overheads in the same manner.

Not recommended until you are in good shape.

I'd say go use one in the Y.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:14 AM   #13
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After rowing in Alcatraz whale boat races in the 70's I swore I would never touch an oar or do anything like that again - last week I started using a high-end machine at the Y. I too then head for the sauna. I know its different strokes for different folks, but a fitness center might be an alternative to having one at home.
P.S. The Y also saved me spending $7K for a sauna.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:31 AM   #14
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Sorry to always be saying the same kinds of things, but I got a used machine, something like this one, eight years ago for $44, and it's be great.



It gives a great workout. Comfortable, no pain or anything. I use it regularly when the weather keeps me inside. Pretty boring, but that's par.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:41 PM   #15
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I was lucky enough to get a barely used model D on Craigslist for $500. It's a fabulous piece of equipment. You have almost no chance of finding one on Craigslist unless you can hang out on the computer all day. They are all sold within hours of posting.

The thing is the growing CrossFit program uses rowers in their workouts, so you have many people and also trainers trolling Craigslist for used rowers.

If you don't have a need to be able to accurately compare your times with others, then you can probably do fine with any other brand of air rower that is not in such high demand.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:47 PM   #16
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Found one on Craig's List for $750, two years old. Considering they are about $900 new, that's not too great a deal. I offered $600 -- we'll see what happens. With that kind of demand I can probably resell if it doesn't work out.
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:30 AM   #17
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I used an early model Concept II for several years; a superb work-out but I finally gave it up because it was so deadly boring. 20 minutes on the rower seemed like an hour. Learning proper rowing form is important or you can cause lower back trouble and tendonitis because you're transmitting your leg power through those smaller joints too. The machines are well designed and tough; I had mine for many years and put hundreds of hard hours on it and it never gave me any trouble.
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:06 PM   #18
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I ended up buying a new one. The next day a used one came up on Craig's List but between the hassle of repacking, sending it back, and the cost of shipping we held on to the new one.

I've been using it and gradually increasing my time. So far so good. The machine is extremely well-built and solid, and the motions are very smooth. Much better than the air piston one I had decades ago. My back feels great from the stretching and less jogging.

I'll see how it goes in a few months. Usually I'm pretty disciplined over the long run with these things, and will be crossing it with slow jogging and walks wtih the DW.
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:06 PM   #19
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Rich, how is it going so far with your new Concept II rowing machine?

Inspired by this thread, I tried out the Concept II rowing machines at my gym on Saturday and again today. The experience was fun and I plan to add it to my workout routine. So far I have only been doing 10 minutes to see how my body responds, but plan to increase that time pretty soon when I am sure that my form is correct.

Seems like a way to get in some more cardio pretty easily.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:33 PM   #20
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I use it 2-3x weekly, do fast walking/light joggin on alternate days.

Very smooth, easy, no soreness or injuries. It's a winner. YMMV.
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