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Rowing is one of the most of the efficient workouts around, which is why I decided to get myself a Hydrow last year. They’re by far one of the coolest looking rowers I’ve seen, but do the great looks equal an amazing rowing experience?
I’ve had over a year to put the Hydrow to the test, and I’ve detailed my experience in the Hydrow review you’re about to read below.
So, did the Hydrow live up to the hype? Read on to find out…
The Hydrow Experience
- 1 The Hydrow Experience
- 2 Assembling the Hydrow
- 3 Getting Started with the Hydrow Workouts
- 4 What Live & On Demand Workouts Do They Offer?
- 5 An Up Close Look at the Machine Details and Features
- 6 Specs, Size, Storage Options
- 7 Is the Hydrow Easy to Store?
- 8 Can You Use it Without a Subscription?
- 9 Hydrow Pros and Cons: What I Love and a Couple of Things I Don’t Like
- 10 How Does it Compare to the Competition?
- 11 Summary: My Final Tips for Deciding if Hydrow is Right for You
One glance at the Hydrow (see price) and you can tell that it’s not your average rower machine. It’s sleek, modern design makes it stand out, and it’s a machine that you won’t mind having on display in your home…at least I don’t.
Hydrow is designed to give you a more real life rowing experience – one that you might find if you were actually rowing on the river.
To make this happen they created a patented drag mechanism that is electromagnetic and computer-controlled. I found that this created an incredibly smooth rowing experience, and it is also super quiet, so I can get in a rowing workout after the wife and kids go to bed and I don’t have to worry about walking anyone up.
The best part about the Hydrow, though, for me has been the live and on demand workouts. This feature is why some have dubbed the Hydrow the “Peloton of rowers.”
We’ll go in to more detail about these features below, but Hydrow offers a huge library of workout options, from a bunch of awesome coaches, which makes every day on the Hydrow unique and something look forward to.
Assembling the Hydrow
When your order arrives, getting started with the Hydrow is actually pretty easy. I’m not going to go in to a ton of detail here, because it’s pretty self explanatory, but basically you just have to install the legs and touchscreen display and you’re pretty much ready to go.
The Hydrow is pretty heavy, though, so prepared to need a couple of people to get your rower situated in the workout spot of your choice.
Getting Started with the Hydrow Workouts
Once you’ve got your Hydrow assembled and ready to row, you’ll just need to fire up the touch screen, and from they will walk you through a series of prompts for getting started. You’ll need to connect to your wireless internet connection, and once you’ve inputed all of the required information, you’ll be ready to start rowing!
They have more than 3000 workouts to pick from, and they’ll have a list of their latest workouts on the Home Screen which is a great place to start.
You can choose from a variety of difficulty levels, workout styles like HIIT or cardio focused, and even from workouts like yoga. I went with a moderate-level rowing workout for my first spin on the Hydrow, since rowing is led to get the machine in the first place. Now that I have settled in and have plenty of rowing workouts under my belt, I’ve also dabbled in some of their yoga and strength training routines.
What Live & On Demand Workouts Do They Offer?
This is what separates Hydrow from other connected workouts on the market – while most are built around a studio-based workout, Hydrow takes your rowing experience outside.
That means, your instructors will be rowing through scenic waterways in London, Miami, and other beautiful locales from around the globe.
With new scenic workouts added weekly, you’ll be able to select different locations and workout options every time you’re ready to row, making each workout fun, exciting, and motivating.
On top of that, these workouts are happening in real time, so they’re far from scripted. You may see a huge barge motoring by, wildlife pass by your screen, and other chance encounters. This adds a unique “sightseeing” element to your workouts, that makes them far from traditional or mundane.
Your workouts are streamed via the Hydrow platform, on the built-in 22″ HD touchscreen that comes with your Hydrow purchase. Along with the front-mounted speakers, this helps create an incredibly immersive experience that brings the outdoors into your home.
The Hydrow workouts are water-based, but there are different options to match your rowing abilities, mood, workout preferences, and even options that get you off your rower and onto a mat for strength building and stretching.
It truly is the total body workout experience.
Here’s a look at some of the workout options Hydrow offers:
- Live Workouts
- On-Demand: Every Live Workout is Recorded and Added to their Ever-Growing Library of On Demand Rows.
- Journeys: Go On an Unguided Row Through Some of the Most Scenic Locations From Around the World
- Mat-Based Workouts: Get of Your Hydrow and Take Part in Yoga, Pilates, and Strength Training
- Hydrow App: Allows you to track progress, connect with the Hydrow community, and much more.
The Hydrow instructors are great, in my opinion, and they are there to motivate you and keep your workouts light and fun. They come from a variety of fitness and health backgrounds, and I haven’t taken part in a workout yet where I didn’t enjoy the coach who was behind the oars.
Once you’ve had time to take part in a few workouts, you’ll quickly find your favorite coaches, at least I did – Mac and Mike are my two current favorites, but everyone has been great in all honesty.
An Up Close Look at the Machine Details and Features
I have found the seat to be nicely counter and comfortable. It’s made from high-quality rubber, and offers just enough support – it’s not too soft but it’s not too hard either.
It glides smoothly on the rower rail, and it’s also super quiet.
The grip is a nice size, and the surface is easy to hold on to even when I’m working up a sweat. It’s not too big and it’s not too small so it keeps your hands pretty comfortable during your workouts.
The hand grip is attached to a cavas strap that is concealed inside the rower when not in use. It’s nice and sturdy as well, so it’s built with quality in mind, and it looks like a component you shouldn’t have any issues with over the life of your rower.
The Foot Pads
The food pads are designed to be easily adjusted. Once you’ve set them up to match your feet, you can strap in with easily adjustable straps that keep you nice and secure throughout your workout.
As you can see in the pictures the Hydrow touchscreen is generously proportioned, and gives you an impressive
Specs, Size, Storage Options
The Hydrow has been completely re-engineered, making it a much different and enhanced experience compared to other rowers on the market.
How did they do this?
It started with a patented technology, that makes each rowing stroke simulate rowing on water. If you’re a rower, ex-rower, or just want the most immersive “real-life” experience possible, then you’ll appreciate the thought Hydrow put in to making that possible.
On top of designing the machine to emulate a real rowing experience, they also engineered the machine to look exceptional as well.
I have appreciated having the Hydrow on display in your home, as it’s elegant, sophisticated, and unique looking.
It is fairly compact in terms of its width, but the machine is pretty long, so you will want to make sure you have the space for it. The storage process is also a bit more complicated from other rowers out there, so if you feel the need to tuck your rower out of the way, it’s a bit harder with the Hydrow.
Specs & Size
- Hydrow Dimensions: 86″L x 25″W x 47″H
- Stored Dimensions: 25″W x 33″D x 86″H
- HD Screen Size: 22″
- Screen Resolution: 1920 X 1080 Full HD
- Machine Weight: 145 LBS
- Bluetooth 5.0 Enabled (For Audio and Heart Heart Monitor)
- Easy Foot Bed Adjustment
- Max User Weight: 375 LBS
- Aluminum and Steel Frame
Is the Hydrow Easy to Store?
While there are some other rowers out there (Ergatta is one that comes to mind) that are easier to fold up and store out of the way, it can be done with the Hydrow as well.
There is one catch, though.
If you want to store the Hydrow upright and out of the way, you will have to make an additional purchase of their upright storage kit. It’s a must-buy if you want this option with your Hydrow.
To answer the question above, the Hydrow is easy to store, you just have to have the kit to do it. It’s also pretty thin though, so you can easily move it off to the side, tucked against a wall, if you want it out of the way without storing it upright.
Can You Use it Without a Subscription?
Yes you can row to your heart’s content without a Hydrow subscription, but if that’s an option you’re looking for I think you’d probably be better off looking for another rower that isn’t subscription-based. There are much cheaper options out there if you’re just looking to row, and don’t want to take part in live and on demand rowing workouts.
Digital Basic Membership is an Option
If you are interested in having access to the Hydrow workouts, but don’t want to buy the rower, they you can purchase a digital basic membership and download the Hydrow app. This gives you access to their full catalog, so you can follow along with their instructors from another rowing machine, or take part in their yoga, strength training or stretching workouts via the app.
This is also a great option for Hydrow owners to workout when they’re on the road or don’t have access to their rowing machine for whatever reason.
Hydrow Pros and Cons: What I Love and a Couple of Things I Don’t Like
These Hydrow Pros and Cons are strictly based on my own experience with the Hydrow rower. You may find additional features that you love or don’t like once you start rowing:
Pros: What I Love About My Hydrow
- Looks Awesome: The Hydrow seriously looks awesome, so I have no problem having it set up in my home
- Super Quiet: As I mentioned above, this machine is super quiet. From the rowing mechanism to the quiet slide of the seat, you can keep sound to minimum when getting a workout in. You can also adjust the volume as needed on your touchscreen to quiet things down even more.
- The Workouts are Motivating and Fun: Working out with the Hydrow workouts is a great way to spend a 20 or 30 minute rowing session. All of the workouts take place on scenic waterways, so while I’m toiling away in a Montana winter, I can fire up a workout session on the water in Miami, Florida, and brighten things up temporarily.
- Top-Notch Instructors: All of the Hydrow coaches are engaging, funny, and on top of their game. It’s like having access to your own personal fitness coach, but virtually of course.
- Built with Quality in Mind: Their rowing machine is sturdy, and is obviously built-to-last. It stays stable even during the most intense rowing sessions, is easy to wide down and keep clean, and all of the features and components are high quality.
- Rowing is Way More Fun Than Running or Biking: I’ve owned other exercise equipment like bikes and treadmills, and I personally find the rower to be a much better and fun workout. While some people may prefer spinning around on a bike or pounding away on a treadmill, and find the rowing workout to much more robust and fun. It also works your entire body as opposed to just your legs, so I feel like I’m getting in a great arm workout with every rowing session as well.
- Not the Easiest Rower to Store: As noted above, the Hyrow isn’t the easiest rower to store. I own an Ergatta as well, and it is super easy to fold up and put out of the way. If space is a premium, then you may want to opt for something smaller.
- Pretty Pricey: As noted, the Hydrow is built to the highest quality standards, so you get what you pay for. That said, prices start at over $2295, which is a pretty hefty price tag.
How Does it Compare to the Competition?
Hydrow is right up there as one of the best rowing machines money can buy. I’ve owned several, and I can personally tell you that the Hydrow is in a league of its own with it’s build quality and design. Their workout platform is also as good as it gets, if you’re looking for top-rated instructor-led fitness options.
Summary: My Final Tips for Deciding if Hydrow is Right for You
Hydrow has created one of the most immersive connected rowing experiences available. Their machine is made from top-of-the-line, industrial grade components, they offer a fantastic 22″ HD touchscreen, and a wide selection of rowing workouts, as well as options off the rower, like yoga and strength training.
You should consider buying the Hydrow if…
- You Love Water Rowing
- You Want to take Part in Live and On Demand Workouts that are on the Water
- You’re Not a Huge fan of Indoor Studio Classes, But You Want to Workout from Home
- You Want One of the Most Immersive and Interactive Home Workouts Possible
- You Want a Rower that Simulates Rowing on the Water
- You Value Exercise Equipment that is Elegant and Sophisticated Looking
- You Want to Try it Risk-Free for 30 Days