You’re ready to get yourself in shape. You have finally found the will.

But you dread going to the gym every morning.

What can you do?

A breakthrough solution is the Concept 2 rower. It gives you a full body workout from the comfort of your home. So you can grow muscle, shed excess fat and improve your physique with just one machine.

Problem is, these babies are really expensive.

A new “Model E” Concept2 rower will set you back at least $1100. Not economical, at all. That’s like a two-year gym membership.

This is why we curated the best places to buy a used Concept2 rowing machine.

Where to look for a Used Concept2 Rowing Machine

1. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace Concept 2

Although it is more difficult to find one here than in other places, if you do then it’s probably a huge bargain. You can get a used concept2 rowing machine, cash in hand, for as little as $500 maybe if you’re super lucky even $400.

Just be sure that when you decide to buy the Concept2 rower, you have cash in hand and ready to meet the seller ASAP. Sellers on Facebook Marketplace don’t like to wait. Even a 2-hour delay could result in them sending you an angry text and just selling it to someone else. It’s tricky, but this is where you’ll likely find the best deals for a used Concept2 rowing machine.

2. Ebay

Ebay Concept 2 Rower

On Ebay, Concept 2 rowing machines are very easy to find. It's a great site because you can look nationwide and see all the shipping costs listed. You can even filter by price, condition, model, colour and much more.

But there’s a downside, Ebay is an auction place. This means that for every listing there’s often a lot of bidders that are willing to spend more than you.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist Concept 2

Last but not the least, for all you bargain hunters, a Concept 2 rower Craigslist listing is sometimes found dirt cheap. But beware it’s a website also known for scams and spam. So you have to filter out what’s real and what isn’t. Used Concept2 rowers can go for as little as $500, just make sure it’s legit.

Another benefit is that you can find a local seller. Just drive there and pick it up. No need for shipping costs.

What to look for in a Used Concept2 Rower

Now that you know where to buy it, let's take a deeper look at what you need to know when inspecting the used Concept2 rowing machine.

Which Model to Pick

First of all, look at what model it is. Obviously the older it is, the cheaper you can get it for.

However, if you buy a used rower that is very uncomfortable then it’s not worth the money.

Your backside will hurt and your arms will hurt more due to how much harder the chain gets with age. The display often doesn’t work well, giving you different metrics than the ones you’re actually hitting.

Your best option is to get a Model D. It’s smooth, functioning and gives you all you need for a complete body workout. The  Model E is slightly more premium - you can read our Model D vs Model E comparison here.

Your hands may get painful blisters after you’ve used it for a while, but this is true for all new and used Concept2 rowing machines. Don’t worry too much about that though. It doesn’t take long for the blisters become hard calluses and stop hurting.

The Working Condition

Be a hundred percent certain that everything works before you buy a used Concept 2 rower. Make sure you inspect it in person before handing over the cash. Before meeting the seller, check the photos posted by the seller to see any signs of wear and tear. Here’s a list of the main things to check:

1. Make sure the display works, check for any scratches or problems in its functioning. They sometimes tend to become sluggish and unresponsive due to dirt, loose parts or similar.

The seat should slide. Some oil is usually added to the seat for its functioning, but check that there’s no problems with the seat itself, like a broken part. It could simply be that the slide or wheels are just dirty and it’s stopping the seat from running smoothly. If this is the case, clean them up with a rag.

Check if the fan spins. It should make a loud spinning noise and blow out air when you pull. You’ll easily notice it if it’s working, it’s very loud. Dust and sweat can sometimes clog it. So again, make sure to clean it up from time to time.

2. Pay attention to the feeling you get when pulling the handle. If it’s too hard or simply not smooth it could indicate a problem with the handle or chain

The rear and front legs should stand firmly and not wobble. Not only is it dangerous, it will impact your performance too. By not being stable your rowing form will suffer, making your performance worse.

3. Make sure the straps of the foot brackets are intact, watch out for rips in them.

The meters

Just like cars, a used Concept2 rower depreciates the more you use it. Check the log in the options to see how many meters have already been rowed on it.

The price

Make sure you are getting a good deal, when you buy a used Concept 2 rower. This depends on a lot of factors as mentioned above. Here is a list of prices you can use as a benchmark.

Model C

The model C, is the cheapest Concept2 rower you can get. Since Concept2 rowers can last decades, it is still worth it depending on its condition. If you decide to buy it, make sure it's under $450. If it isn’t, you’re not getting the best bang for your buck.

Model D

The model D is a bargain if found under $600. But you have to take in consideration whether it has a new PM5 monitor or an older PM4 monitor. The PM5 has a lot more features, such as being able to set up a bluetooth connection to a heart rate monitor, which will display your heartbeats on the screen. On top of that it is also a lot smoother.

A PM4 will work just fine, but be sure to price in the lack of certain features.

Model E

The best option, for anyone willing to spend a little more is to buy Concept2 rower Model E. These are a deal if found under $800. That may seem like a lot and it is, but if you buy it new, it will cost $1100 or even more.

So if you stumble on a Model E used Concept 2 rower for sale, again be sure you are pricing in whether it has a PM4 or a PM5 monitor.

How to Ship a Used Rowing Machine

Shipping is expensive. Really, really expensive. It sometimes happens that you find a great deal. Here’s the issue, if shipping costs you $200, your initial “great deal” is not that great anymore. Of course your best bet is to personally pick it up.

But if you are buying a rowing machine from another state and just lack the time, here are your options:


Some sellers will offer free shipping with UPS. Others either have a fixed “shipping cost” or a shipping calculator, based on where you live.

Craigslist and Facebook MarketPlace

On these platforms you will have to sort out shipping on your own. The price depends on your location, the weight and size of the package.

Keep in mind that UPS delivers packages up to 70 pounds. Fortunately the model D has a weight of 69 pounds and shipping dimensions of 56″ x 15″ x 21.5″  (L x W x H).

A hypothetical shipment from New York to California will cost you around $160. Check the shipping calculator on for the exact price in your case, but it will rarely be over $180.

Final thoughts

Concept2 rowers are great fitness machines to stay in shape. They provide a challenging and full body workout.

However, this comes with a hefty price, with the newest model E costing $1100 or even more. And the price does not depreciate quickly, usually getting only 10% cheaper after 5 years.

But this does not mean that you can’t find a good deal for this amazing machine. You just have to have some patience.

So good luck in your search and keep an eye out for best deals!

When you have a Concept2 rowing machine, you're ready to get in the best shape of your life. All that's left now is a comfortable seat pad so you can row without pain or discomfort.

There are so many options for seat pads that finding the right one can be daunting.

The right seat pad is not just comfortable, but also improves your form.

Read on to discover the top seven seat pads for the Concept2 rowing machine that you can consider today!

1. Hornet Watersports Concept2 Seat Pad

Check Price

The first seat pad you should look at for the Concept2 rowing machine is this one manufactured by Hornet Watersports. It is highly rated on Amazon, so you can have a reliable seat pad for life when you buy this one.

When you are looking for a rowing seat pad for the Concept2, there are a few things to consider:

All these elements will aid in its ability to keep you comfortable while you work out. Remember, a comfortable seat pad could be the difference between a successful workout routine on the Concept2 and an unsuccessful routine.

When you work out via a rowing machine, it can get uncomfortable without the right pad beneath you. When you get uncomfortable, your form can be altered, and you can increase the likelihood of an injury.

About the Hornet Watersports Seat

So, what makes the Hornet Watersports Seat so important? It is a portable seat pad that is comfortable. It is designed to fit onto the Concept2.

Consider these other specs that make it a good choice for your next seat pad:

This seat pad is easily applied to your Concept2 rower. It can also fit most other rowing machines. Since it is portable and lightweight, it can be easily switched between machines wherever you are.

2. Vapor Fitness Yellow Silicone Concept2 Seat Pad

Rowing Machine seat

The next option you should consider is the Vapor Fitness Yellow Silicone Seat Pad. This seat pad first became available in 2015, and it is still a good, viable option for your Concept2 machine.

As Vapor Fitness suggests, the seat of a rowing machine can become flattened over time. It can get uncomfortable. You want a seat pad that will not diminish over time. This is where the Vapor Fitness Yellow Silicone Seat Pad comes in.

Consider some of these reasons why it is worth it to buy it:

That last point is important because if you find that your Vapor Fitness Yellow Silicone Seat does not meet your satisfaction, you can return it for a full refund.

About the Vapor Fitness Seat

The Vapor Fitness Yellow Silicone Seat has a lot going for it. These qualities are important when considering a seat pad for the Concept2 rowing machine.

If you need a seat pad for long distances and that is overall durable, this may be the right choice for you.

3. 2K Fit Rowing Machine Concept2 Seat Pad

rowing seat
Check Price

The company 2K has several seat pads for rowing machines. This one, which is called their “Model 1” is a great option if you have the Concept2 rowing machine. It has a medium thickness, which is a perfect balance between durability and comfort.

While they do have a thicker model, it is said that the medium thickness provides the same level of comfort as the “Model 2.”

Consider these points when thinking about the 2K Fit Rowing Machine Seat Cushion:

Since it is relatively cheap, it is a perfect addition to your Concept2 rowing machine.

About the 2K Fit Model 1 Seat

The 2K Fit “Model 1” Seat Pad has several features to look at. Consider the following:

When considering a new seat pad for your Concept2, this 2K Fit pad should be considered.

4. Hornet Anti-Slip Concept2 Seat Pad

Anti slip seat
Check Price

One of the most important aspects of a good seat pad for the Concept2 rowing machine is how well it does with its anti-slip technology.

This seat, also created by Hornet Watersports, is a perfect seat pad if this is your top concern. Consider all the benefits of this seat pad:

If you are looking for an affordable seat pad for your Concept2 rowing machine that focuses on comfort and anti-slip technology, this could be your choice.

5. Kohree Rowing Machine Concept2 Seat Pad

rowing seat pad

For a nominal price, you can purchase the Kohree rowing machine seat. This seat will work with the Concept2 rowing machine, so it is a great choice to consider.

This seat pad is easily washable, and it is three inches thick. That thickness, which comes from its memory foam, is perfect for keeping you comfortable throughout your workout.

Moreover, it is designed with adjustable straps, so you can be sure of the perfect fit for your rowing machine.

The Kohree rowing machine seat will help you with several issues that arise from using the Concept2 rowing machine, such as:

If you want a padded seat for your Concept2 rowing machine, this one manufactured by Kohree--highly rated at four and a half stars on Amazon--is a great option.

6. Hornet Watersports Memory Foam Concept2 Seat Pad

rowing seat pad
Check Price

Hornet Watersports has several cushions for the Concept2 rowing machine. This one is one of their thickest offerings, and it uses memory foam to give you comfort throughout your exercise.

This memory foam cushion is quite inexpensive. As with other offerings by Hornet Watersports, it offers a 100% money-back guarantee, so if you are not satisfied there is no need to worry.

Consider the benefits of this memory foam cushion for the Concept2 rowing machine:

Consider this memory foam cushion when looking at seat pads for your Concept2 rowing machine.

7. Home & Rowe Rowing Machine Concept2 Seat Pad

Rowing seat pad

The Home & Rowe rowing machine cushion pad is a lightweight and portable option to consider. It is inexpensive, yet highly rated.

What makes this one so good is its portable design. It can fit on the Concept2 rowing machine, but it can also fit most other rowing machines. Consider some of the other benefits of this seat pad.

This option should not be ignored as it is a viable option if you are looking for a lightweight and easily transported seat pad.

Also read:

Concept2 Model D vs Mode E

Connect Garmin with Concept2 Rowing

Garmin is a brand well-known for its sports accessories and equipment focused on making athlete-level training easier and faster. They design the best watches and devices for their users to ensure that the players can focus on their health while performing exercises. Although these watches and heart monitors are best for most workouts, fitness enthusiasts can use them for rowing exercises specifically. The following are some of the advantages of rowing exercises.

Garmin Devices

Garmin is a leading name, manufacturing fitness accessories for several decades now. It has been around for 30 years now and specializes in designing unique technology for health-conscious people. Its sports watches, especially the running watches, are a huge hit among its fans. The brand as a whole focuses on delivering three things to its customers in the long run. These include durability, quality, and accuracy.

Connect Garmin to Concept2 Rowing Machine

The Basic Garmin Devices

Even the most basic Garmin devices like the Forerunner 30 watch provide the users with essential information, including the average pace, average cadence, average moving pace, etc. People who use Garmin devices can use third-party applications like My Fitness Pal and Strava to ensure they have an effective health journey.

The best and the worst part about investing in Garmin is that there is a lot of variety. While this variety provides a lot of options, it can also mean more confusion for buyers too. They provide 6 basic products (for the sake of simplicity), which include Vivoactive, Vivosport, Forerunner, Fenix and Vivosmart, Vivofit Junior.

Garmin focuses on providing ease to its customers, which is why most of its devices easily pair with other machines for maximum output.

Do You Need Garmin Devices?

Garmin devices can help athletes in several ways to achieve their fitness goals. It includes providing constant monitoring of several bodily functions. Athletes can choose the “Broadcast Heart Rate” options and track their heartbeat during workout sessions.

Since most low-intensity workouts burn high calories, monitoring heart rates can help to a great extent. However, the best way to maximize your fitness progress is to connect your Garmin devices to the Concept 2 PM5 rowing machine. Don’t worry if you do not know how to do this because we will guide you in this post.

However, you may need an extra-long monorail if you have an inseam longer than this.

Besides, ensuring protection from online scams is important when buying a Garmin device. We have a few tips that you should consider before you buy a Garmin watch.

You will come across several sellers who claim to sell original Garmin watches, but that’s not always the case. Therefore, always choose reputable sources when you purchase your Garmin watch. The first step is researching on your own to make an informed decision. You should move on to the next step and check online reviews. These online reviews can tell you more about the customers’ experience with particular online sellers.

How to Connect Garmin Device to Concept 2 PM5 Rowing Machine?

As you can see, using a Garmin device with a Concept 2 PM5 rowing machine can help you reap better results. But finding the right way to connect the device is difficult for most users.

People who own watches like Forerunner 235 Vivoactive HR/HR+ fēnix® 5fēnix® 3 etc., can broadcast their heartbeats on their Garmin device by connecting it to the PM5 rowing machine. Keep in mind that using this feature affects your battery life.

Connecting the Garmin devices to the PM5 rowing machine is simple if you do it right. All you need to do is follow these steps to ensure that your device and machine stay connected.

Heart Rate Data Garmin for rowing

Displaying Heart Rate Data on Garmin Devices

  1. Open the heartbeat widget and hold MENU
  2. Select options, and head to Broadcast Heart Rate (keep in mind that you can view the heartbeat widget only when broadcasting heart rate data from the widget).
  3. Pair your Garmin devices as per their specific requirements and guidelines that you can find on the manual or how-to guides.

However, you may need to connect your Garmin devices without a USB drive in some situations. Don’t worry, as the process is simple and easy to follow.

Pairing without a USB Flash Drive

  1. Start by turning your watch on by pressing any button on the power monitor.
  2. Look for the “More Options” display on the screen and select it.
  3. Select “Connect Heart Rate;” the Garmin device will show the identification information within 10-15 seconds. The general identification information can include brand/model information/ or a model number for the device.
  4. Choose your watch ID and tap on connect.
  5. Select Confirm and pair your device

Pairing with A Flash Drive

If you need to pair your Garmin device with a flash drive, then follow these steps.

  1. Hit any button on the Performance Monitor and turn your Garmin device on.
  2. Insert your USB flash drive and wait for the welcome screen to appear. You need to wait until you see your user name and then move to the next step.
  3. Find the main menu and access “More Options.
  4. Tap on “Connect Heart Rate,” and the device will display identification information within 10-15 seconds. The identification information may include your brand/mode or user name, depending on what is available.
  5. Select an ID corresponding to your watch.
  6. Ensure selecting the “Remember Belt” option to save your watch ID on the USB flash drive so the Performance Monitor detects your watch in the future. This way, you do not have to repeat the whole process every time.

Garmin Connectivity

Garmin focuses primarily on making connectivity easy, so it has a little something for everyone. Having multiple connection options, as we mentioned above, can make it easier for users to connect their devices, view their heartbeat, and make the most out of their fitness journey.

Concept2 Garmin Connect

Garmin understands and focuses on providing ease and feasibility to its users to make their fitness journey enjoyable and more effective. Garmin Connect is a platform, an online community that lets users add their accounts to the application. They can use it to track and analyze their health and fitness activities. It displays all important data so you can view them easily, allowing you to track your fitness progress.

You can customize what you want to view on the app and view weekly, monthly and annual progress in a comprehensive way. It also lets you connect with friends who own a Garmin device and displays physical training accomplishments as badges on the app. You can choose different methods to record and share data to avoid duplication.

Row Indoor

Several Garmin watches have the row indoor option that lets users see basic stroke rate and time-related data, but it does not connect to the PM5 monitor. So, using ErgData is a better option if you need detailed information about your workout.

Erg Data

The Concept 2 logbook is the easiest way to share all your workouts on Garmin Connect. Your meters continue to count towards challenges when you include your workouts in the logbook. You can even share your log information online over to Garmin Connect. You can find this option in the applications section under your Concept2 logbook.

Using Erg Data on your mobile to note your workout progress and information is quite effective. You can share the rich data across platforms and record your workouts while syncing them to the Concept2 Logbook. You can do all of this with the push of a button. However, connecting your Garmin devices to a Concept 2 PM5 rowing machine is difficult for some users. In this case, you can try the methods discussed above.

Is Buying A Garmin Watch Worth It?

The main question is should someone invest their money in a Garmin Watch? The answer is yes. Connecting your Garmin to your Concept2 PM5 rowing machine is a smart solution to your workout needs while keeping your heart rate in check. You can use it for outdoor navigation, physical training, and much more if you know how to use its full features.


You will never regret investing money in a quality Garmin watch. Additionally, Garmin will surely make your fitness goals easier to achieve and accomplish. We hope this guide helps you understand how to connect your rowing machine and your Garmin devices. You can learn more about these Garmin watches and Concept 2 PM5 rowing machines and get more tips on how to use the two to your advantage. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully!

Also read:

Concept2 Model D vs Model E

Hydrow vs Concept2

When looking for an indoor rower, the key to getting the best value is to find the one that inspires you to keep exercising. This article compares two popular rowing machines which come with different features. These are the Hydrow and the Concept2.

Hydrow is built with interactive training in mind, while Concept2 Model D lets the user focus on the movements. Considering which of these two features would help you stay motivated to exercise can be a good starting point.

However, it's also worth looking into the additional differences between the two rowers. Here we have a complete breakdown so you can get the perfect rowing machine for you.


The Hydrow is definitely built for immersive training and offers lots of features to explore. Not only can you watch on-the-water rowing videos on a wide touchscreen, but you also have the chance to join virtual races.

Whether you opt for joining an individual or a team competition, moving up on the leaderboards can be highly motivating. Hydrow also comes with plenty of instructional materials for beginners, not to mention the workout sessions held by world-class professionals. If you just want to have a relaxing session, you can check out the workout library that features plenty of videos.

Although Concept2 Model D isn't packed with as many digital features, it does have a user-friendly console you can connect to a number of compatible devices.

You will be able to track your progress, choose from different workout sessions and even join races through various apps. You will have a different experience combining the PM5 monitor and the app you are using. However, if you prefer to concentrate more on the physical aspects of your exercise, a less interactive device could do much more for your motivation than any flashy technology.

hydrow rower

Resistance: Hydrow vs Concept2

The Hydrow provides 300 different electromagnetic resistance levels, which you can easily customize according to your physical abilities.

This unique customization method makes the machine suitable to use for any fitness or experience level. For example, if you are a new rower, you can begin at a lower, comfortable resistance level and progressively move up the intensity as your form improves.

Pros can set their resistance levels just as high as in an air resistance rower, so they can have the same real-life water rowing experience.  Magnetic resistance rowers are also much quieter than any air rower in general.

The Concept2 Model D has air resistance, which is basically driven by user effort. Due to this, rowing with these machines becomes much more challenging, especially for beginners. Essentially, if you want more resistance, you will have to up the intensity of your exercise, which requires physical exertion.

While the adjustable damper will help find the proper rowing intensity for you, it will be only roughly calibrated. It's not possible to fine-tune the intensity levels and on higher levels, the machine becomes quite noisy.

concept2 model d vs e

Technology: Hydrow vs Concept2

The Hydrow definitely has a more modern feel to it, and not just because of the direct interaction features. Its 22” HD monitor will let you enjoy all the training, professional coaching live-action videos, and scenic views on a crystal clear monitor.

With its fast Bluetooth connectivity, the Hydrow will pair with its complementary accessories in no time. Thanks to its latest software components, the Hydrow will allow you to track your progress without any glitches or delays.

With its PM5 monitor, the Concept2 Model D will have the ability to track your performance progress, heart rate, and much more at your fingertips. This technology has long become the industry standard, and for a good reason.

All you have to do is connect it with the app of your choice and find the workout that works for you. You can even choose whether you want to use Bluetooth or ANT+ connection to do so. Or, you can opt for one of the preset workout programs the device comes with.

Workout Options: Hydrow vs Concept2

While it's possible to use the Hydrow without a subscription to any particular membership the company offers, you will only get the full experience if you take advantage of this option. After all, this is the only way to participate in the ultimate Hydrow rowing sessions, whether coached or not.

The interactive workout is only available for registered members, but you can also access some of Hydrow’s content from your phone or iPad, without Hydrow Rower. If you aren't sure the immersive rowing is for you, you can always opt for the 30-day trial. If you decide it's not working out, you can keep your rower in the "Just Row Mode" and use its basic functions.

Unlike the Hydrow, the Model D comes with a wide variety of preset workout sessions which you can try for absolutely free. These exercises and games are easily programmable and can be just as fun as rowing in the water. The good thing about them is that they vary in intensity, so even beginners can take advantage of them.

You will have the option to connect the rower to many different fitness apps and not just one. This opens up the possibility of finding many more rowing exercises, and accessing most of them won't cost you anything.

Size and Maintenance: Hydrow vs Concept2

Even though the Hydrow can hold up to less weight and resistance than the Concept2 Model D, this machine is twice as heavy as its rival. Weighing about 145 pounds and coming in one solid piece, the frame can be hard to move around, even though it's partially foldable.

This rower is recommended for a larger gym space, where you can leave it sitting until your next workout. There is a vertical for it, but the upright storage kit comes with an additional fee. On the plus side, the smooth design will make it easier to clean, and the quiet belt drive that drives the magnetic requires little to no maintenance.

While the Concept2 Model D is 10 inches longer than the Hydrow, thanks to the frame lock in the middle, it does separate into 2 pieces, each weighing a little over 35 lbs. This makes this rower far easier to store, so you will only have to worry about space limitations when actually using the rower.

However, in order to make it stable enough for the highest resistance, the Model D features a nickel-plated steel chain for its main drive. While this type of drive has a long lifespan, it will require occasional checkups.

Quality and Durability: Hydrow vs Concept2

With the Hydrow, you can expect the best quality components, from the frame that comes with a sleek design to the high-end software. Not only will this machine complement any home gym, but you will enjoy its benefits for a long period of time. Plus, the manufacturer offers a 6-year warranty for the frame and a 2-year warranty for all the other components.

Apart from having a stellar combination of quality components and physically engaging features, Concept2 Model D is practically indestructible. The sturdy steel construction is meant to withstand the highest levels of force one can exert when air rowing. All parts come with a 2-year warranty, while the frame comes with a 5-year limited warranty.

Pricing: Hydrow vs Concept2

Needless to say, the Hydrow is far more expensive than the Model D. The rower itself costs over double, and if you want to add some specific features, subscriptions, etc., it will costs you even more. However, you will get much more than a rowing machine for your money.

With the interactive coaching system and the possibility to compete with the best rowers, and the breathtaking scenery you get to enjoy, you can have a unique rowing experience every time you use the machine.

On the other hand, Model D is a very budget-friendly device that will allow you to have a real-life rowing experience. It can be the perfect option if you have a limited budget. You can always connect the PM5 to any compatible fitness device or free application. This includes the company`s own ErgData app and you can track your workouts that way. The preset workout options are also great if you want to avoid paying for additional subscriptions.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, both the Hydrow and the Concept2 rowing machines have their advantages and disadvantages. The Hydrow offers the most premium features among all indoor rowers for immersive training, and its price definitely reflects that. Its wide variety of features will probably be the best fit for you if you struggle with keeping yourself motivated.

The Concept2 Model D, on the other hand, is a far more affordable rower and has many satisfied users who can attest to its efficacy. It's a good option for everyone who focuses more on the physical experience of exercise than digital features.

Before you decide which of these rowing machines would work the best for your needs, it's a good idea to consider whether you prefer to do immersive training or not. Make sure you measure the space you have available.

Since both rowers feature high-quality, dependable, and durable components, the ultimate decision will come down to your preferences and budget.

Also read:

Concept2 Model D vs E Comparison

So you want to get fit.

But you can't decide between a treadmill vs. rowing machine.

Well, both have their own advantages.

And disadvantages too.

How is Rowing So Effective

Let's look at rowing.

Rowing works 86% percent of the muscle groups in your body. You get a full-body workout. Most of it is cardio but you also build strength with a consistent workout routine.

See how rowing can literally change your body:

rowing before and after


Imagine having a transformation like this:

rowing machine vs treadmill

Amazing, right?!

Whether you want to get toned, build muscle or just get in a better mindset, rowing can do it all.

Rowing has become the new trend - for good reason. Even though running has been the go-to exercise people chose for years, rowing gives a slight advantage.

Well two, if we look closely.

Why Rowing is more effective than running:

1. Rowing works more muscles than running.

Want proof?

An Olympic athlete literally measured it using electrodes.

Rowing engages your upper and lower body, tones your arms and strengthens your back.

Imagine getting a full-body workout in 20 minutes.

Yes, you don't need to sweat in the gym for one hour and do a separate cardio session.

2. Rowing is not as hard on your joints as running.

We all love the runner's high. But all runners know that running can cause strain on your joints. Professional runners need a lot of recovery time to heal their joints after a race.

You don't want to go to work while feeling sore in your joints.

It is not fun.

Rowing is low-impact.

You sit down, practice the rowing stroke for 20-30 minutes.

And done.

But don't mistake low-impact for easy.

A good rowing workout will leave you exhausted. It will just not hurt your knees or your back.

And who doesn't want that, right?

If you are recovering from an injury, rowing can help you rehabilitate, improve movement and build strength. Rowing is also better for the elderly or people with disabilities.

3. Rowing gives you a wide range of intensity

Rowing allows you to choose from a larger range of resistance.

Most rowing machines allow you to choose from as many as 8 resistance levels. You can also row faster to increase the resistance and vice-versa.

Running doesn't give such a broad range of intensity, you can either jog, run or sprint.

Sure, you can vary the speed but there is little range of intensity as compared to rowing.

Imagine coming home in the evening after a long day.

Would you rather run on a treadmill or sit on the rower's seat and do some low-impact workout?

Running on a Treadmill

Now let's talk about running.

Running can give you a different kind of high. It feels powerful.

But running engages only your lower muscles - quads, hamstrings and glutes.

See the difference?

Calories Burnt: Treadmill vs Rowing Machine

See running isn't bad at all.

In fact, it burns more calories than rowing - about 16 percent more.

But it is hard on your joints. It takes a toll on your body. Runners have to deal with pain in knees, back, foot and other areas.

Buying a treadmill may limit your workout options, though. This is because you can always go outdoors for a run.

But rowing requires a proper setup in terms of a boat, oars, seats and sculls.

Learning the proper form on the water is also more complex than just going for a run in a nearby park.

The point is - when you buy a rowing machine, running is always an option.

But not vice-versa.

So choose wisely.

Running Helps You Retain Minerals

One lesser known benefit of running is that it slows down the loss of minerals in your legs, hips and lower spine. This happens with all exercises that require you to use your weight. You cannot get this benefit with rowing.

Running Works Lower Body

Running primarily focuses on the muscles in your legs.

First, understand the mechanism of running. You push through your feet to move forward at a steady speed. This involves muscle contractions that create explosive energy for each "jump" forward. We have learnt this as a part of survival, to run from dangerous animals and reach safety.

So running is all about the legs. You feel a noticeable burn in your hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves. But you don't get any toning or strength benefits in your upper body.

So if looking better is one of your priorities, rowing machine can give you the kind of workout you need. It can help you tone and strengthen your entire body including your arms, back and abs.

Technique: Treadmill vs Rowing Machine

Rowing requires you to learn the proper form and technique. There are four phases you need to learn: catch, drive, release and recovery. However, since there is just one type of exercise you need to learn, rowing is rather easy.

A slight variation of the technique allows you to get a vigorous workout too.

Running, on the other hand, is straight-forward. It doesn't have any learning curve.

Cost: Treadmill vs Rowing Machine

Which machine gives more bang for the buck? Treadmill or rowing machine. When it comes to value, the rowing machine is the clear winner.

Rowing machines cost less than treadmills and yet provide a full-body workout unlike treadmills. Quality rowers like Concept2 cost about $1000, while quality treadmills can be as expensive as $3000.

So in the price of a treadmill, each of your family members can probably have their own rower.

Best Rowing Machine for the Money

So now you know how rowing machine can give you your dream physique without being hard on your body. So with that clear, here is the best rowing machine you can buy.

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine

The Concept2 Model D rowing machine is literally the bestselling rower on the planet. From Olympic athletes to fitness experts, all vouch for its quality.

The Concept2 Model D is an air rower, so it operates with a variable resistance. The harder you row, the more resistance you feel. It also comes with damper settings to adjust resistance manually.

If you want something for the long-term, close your eyes and buy the Concept2. Concept2 rowers last more than a decade and still function well.

Read the in-depth Concept2 Model D Review here.

Frequently Asked Questions - Treadmill vs Rowing Machine

Which burns more calories treadmill or rowing machine?

Running on a treadmill burns about 16 percent more calories. But it mostly works on your legs. Rowing machine, on the other hand, works on your entire body. Rowing is not just good for cardio but also for building muscle mass.

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?

Yes, you can lose belly bat with rowing. But you have to workout at a high intensity consistently over a period of a few months. You cannot workout at average intensity and expect to lose belly fat.

Is rowing as good as running?

Rowing is better than running in many ways. First, it works almost all the muscles in your body unlike running which works mainly on your legs. Second, rowing isn't hard on your joints or back like running. Runners often need time to recover from back or knee injuries.

Does rowing tone your arms?

Yes, rowing works extensively on your arms, chest, shoulders and upper back. If you want to build toned biceps or triceps, rowing is exactly what you need. In the before and after images above, you can see how rowing can tone your arms as well as abs.

Rowing is a powerful way to lose weight. It works 86% muscles in the body, builds strength and endurance and tones all body parts.

To lose weight, the main thing to focus on is challenging your cardio system and increasing your heart rate. Rowing in the elevated heart rate zone leads to long periods of burning calories even after the workout.

However, you can’t just workout once in a while. Only when you workout consistently over a couple months or so will you notice a substantial loss in belly fat.

rowing machine belly fat

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?

Yes, you can lose belly fat on a rowing machine. Rowing can help you burn those unwanted calories, shaving off the fat off your abdominals. But does it work better than running? Certified fitness expert Lyuda says that yes, it is possible, given that you row at high-intensity consistently.

Rowing machines like the Concept2 Model D can accommodate as much as 500 pounds. Since rowing is a low-impact exercise, it is easy on your joints. So, no matter how heavy you are, a rowing machine can help you lose weight without putting an unreasonable amount of pressure on your body.

Want a Slim Belly? Sacrifice Comfort

But how does high intensity feel like? It feels uncomfortable. You have so much stubborn fat on your body that it sometimes feels hard to move. The truth is you have to become comfortable being uncomfortable during your workouts.

How Often Do You Need to Row?

As fitness trainers suggest, you need to workout 4-5 days per week consistently over a period of two to six months to see significant changes in your physique. Burning calories takes time.

According to Certified Fitness Trainer, Lisa Maloney, 15 minutes of high-intensity or 30 minutes of medium intensity workout is enough if you want to improve your health in general. But if you want to lose weight or train for competitive sports, you will need to put in more time on a consistent basis.

heart rate monitor

How to Measure Rowing Intensity

To accurately measure intensity you will need a heart rate monitor. After you have a HRM, follow these steps:

What Does Moderate Intensity Mean

Moderate intensity means that you are breathing fast and have a noticeably fast heart beat, but you can still engage in a conversation. Some examples of moderate intensity workouts are brisk walking, light snow shoveling and biking at a moderate pace.

What Does High Intensity Mean

During high-intensity workouts, your heart beats a lot faster than normal and you breathe too fast and hard to engage in a conversation. Examples of intense workouts are running, swimming laps, cross-country skiing or playing competitive sports such as football or basketball.

rowing abs

How Fast Can I Lose Belly Fat?

The answer is 4-8 pounds per month, if you do it the right way. Everyone wants to lose weight fast. But people who do it gradually are better able to maintain their physique after the weight loss.

According to experts, you would need to burn 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. This can be further sped up by reducing your calorie intake. Reducing 500 to 1000 calories per day is a safe way to fasten your weight loss.

If you follow this path - reducing calorie intake and rowing with high-intensity 4-5 days a week, you will be able to lose 1-2 pounds per week. This number is given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pushing this number may not be sustainable.

So it means you can lose up to 4-8 pounds per month. Say, if you weigh 220 lbs. now and want to cut back to 180 lbs. It would take you 5 months to achieve your goal.

Realize that losing weight isn’t about a quick program or hack. It is about adopting a healthy lifestyle that involves a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

Eating Habits that Inhibit Weight Loss

Losing belly fat also requires you to adopt better eating habits. The following habits can often increase your belly fat (apart from overeating in general):

1. Eating too fast and mindlessly

When you eat fast and mindlessly, you end up eating a lot more than what your body needs. You might be thinking “but I don’t feel full so I eat more”. The thing is that your brain takes about twenty minutes to realize that your stomach is full.

2. Eating when not hungry

People eat not only when they are hungry, but also when they want to feel good. This is where the phrase “eating your feelings” comes from. When we are stressed, tired, nervous, anxious or  drunk, we tend to eat mindlessly to soothe ourselves. However, this leads to weight gain and health conditions like blood sugar.

3. Always cleaning your plate

Were you told to always ‘clean your plate’ as a child? Well, your parents had noble intentions but this can often lead to overeating.

4. Skipping meals (or maybe just breakfast)

Skipping means can often lead to cravings and intake of unhealthy foods. Skipping meals also slows down your body’s metabolism, the process during which the body converts food into energy. Due to this, your body won’t be able to burn calories efficiently, which may lead to weight gain.

If you do one or more of the above, don’t worry. Improving your eating habits is possible when you start small and stay consistent.

Best Rowing Machine Workouts for Weight Loss

The two main elements of weight loss with rowing are consistency and duration. To lose maximum weight in the shortest duration of time, you should aim to do 30-50 minutes of rowing for five to six days a week.

If you are a beginner, it is important to keep a moderate intensity where you are able to have a conversation. If you are physically stronger, you can toggle between high and moderate intensity from time to time.

According to Concept2, here are the best rowing machine workouts for weight loss:

Remember to warm up before each workout and record the meters post workout.

Does Rowing Tone Your Arms?

Since rowing is a full-body workout, it tones your arms. But toning also requires having muscle. So if you want fast results, also spend some time doing strength training. This will help increase muscle size.

rowing tones arms

Remember that rowing is largely a cardiovascular exercise but if you increase the resistance to higher levels, it can have a significant impact on your arms. Couple that with pushups, incline/decline pushups, plank taps, triceps dips and your arms will tone fast.

If you lift weights, then toning becomes even easier as you can target specific muscle groups such as biceps, triceps, forearms and so on.

How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight with a Rowing Machine

Losing weight requires a long-term commitment. Doing long distance rows 5-6 days a week isn’t going to be easy. It will require discipline.

Realize that exercise is not about motivation. It is about discipline.

Even on the days when you don’t feel like rowing, just wear your rowing shoes and set a micro-goal to row for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you won’t want to quit midway. Mark Divine, a former Navy SEAL commander and the founder of SEAL

Apart from being disciplined, here are some practical ways to keep things interesting:

1. Bring Variety

You can do cross-training to make your workouts interesting and have something new to do every once in a while.

2. Take Breaks

Intense rowing isn’t about breaking your body. Feel free to take breaks, stretch and relax in between sessions.

3. Be Creative

Try new ideas to keep things fun. Many people row while watching TV during commercial breaks. Try rowing games like the Fish, Darts or Target Training on the Concept2 rower.

4. Change Display

Toggle through display options to see your performance from a new angle each time.

5. Set a goal

Nothing is more interesting than picking a challenging goal and nailing it right on the head.

Final Word

Rowing machine can help you lose weight in all body parts. It doesn’t put pressure on your joints and allows you to workout from the comfort of your home.

Whether you want to lose fat, tone your arms, or cut bulky muscles, rowing machine can work like an all-rounder and do everything for you!

Rowing is incredibly rewarding.

But it can be hard on your hands.

If you are unaware, rowing often causes blisters on the hands. This is sometimes called a natural process by experienced rowers.

After blisters, your hand form calluses to deal with the friction from the rowing machine handle.

You can learn about it in detail in this guide.

But first, here are our top picks for the best rowing gloves.

Best Rowing Gloves You Can Buy

Our Top Pick

NRS Men’s Half-Finger Boater Gloves

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Four Finger Design

Fit Four The Neo Grip Glove Fitness Gloves

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For Sweaty Hands

New Ventilated Weight Lifting Gloves

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Grip Pad

GymPaws Grip Pads

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Sculling and Rowing

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Avoiding Blisters or Curing Them

When it comes to blisters, you only have two options. You can either avoid them or heal them. If you are not careful, you will get painful blisters which will disrupt your training routine.

Rowers get blisters on their hands due to many reasons. But the most common reasons are listed below:

Excessive Training

Suppose you got a new rowing machine. You are all gung-ho about it and want to get that modelesque physique. But the over-enthusiastic energy could lead to blisters as your hands may not have the hardened skin tissue or calluses to sustain the long workouts.

With each rowing session, your hands will rub against the handle surface. The more intense the workout, the more friction there is. So if you start training excessively, your hands are bound to form blisters.

Sweaty Hands

Sweaty hands make things worse. Wet or sweaty hands produce more friction when rubbing against the rowing machine handles.

Due to more friction, they develop blisters faster. Therefore it is essential to wear rowing gloves to ease the friction created due to sweating.

You can also wear wrist bands to prevent the sweat on your arms from reaching your hands.

Wrong Grip

Beginner rowers sometimes grip the handles much tighter than needed to “feel” the intensity of rowing. However, you can still have an intense workout with a relaxed grip. The intensity depends on the speed with which you pull the handle

You can’t keep a loose grip on the handle either. One has to learn to find the balance.

If you develop blisters on your palms, it is a sign that your grip is tighter than necessary. Usually, blisters are supposed to form above the palms and below the knuckles.

Another thing to look for is that you keep your wrists straight. Bending your wrists can lead to an improper grip and high amount of friction. This can also cause blisters.

Since the main reasons behind formation of blisters is the friction between your hands and the handles, it makes sense to use rowing gloves. Rowing gloves can solve the problem instantly. So why not?

Rowing Gloves Benefits

Rowing gloves have immense benefits for rowing and protecting your hands. Here is how they help you row in different ways:

1. Prevent Blisters

Okay, this one is a no-brainer. If you wear rowing gloves, you won’t get blisters as the friction won’t be as much as rowing without gloves. Blisters are painful, what you want to develop is calluses. Calluses protect your hands from further friction since the skin is now hardened. 

2. Regulate Calluses

As explained above, calluses are good for you. They protect your hands from further friction. But overdeveloped calluses can become a problem. When the calluses get too thick, you will need to clip off the upper layer of dead skin or sand it. Thick calluses can lead to an improper grip, further worsening the situation.

Wearing gloves can help you form calluses slowly. This can be done by wearing gloves for long rows and removing them on short rows.

3. Aid the Blister Healing Process

If you have blisters on your hands, wearing gloves can help with the healing process. Having blisters doesn’t have to stop you from rowing if you wear rowing gloves. Wearing gloves will make sure the blisters don’t go worse and you don’t get an infection.

4. Avoid Calluses From Developing

Wearing gloves is a good way to avoid calluses from forming. Some people just don’t like the aesthetic look of calluses on their hands. Whether you have OCD when it comes to your looks or you want to be gentle while holding your girlfriend’s hands, rowing gloves can ensure that your hands stay gentle and callus-free.

5. Row For Longer Time Periods

Yes, you should not increase the time of your rowing abruptly. But rowing gloves can help you take your rowing time up a couple notches. Whether you took a break from rowing or want to get results faster, gloves can help you climb up a few levels.

6. Awkward position of rowing handle

Not all rowing machines are as perfect as the Concept2. If the rowing handle is positioned in such a way that your hands or arms stay in an uncomfortable position,, wearing rowing gloves can provide a better position to work with.

7. Solution for Sweaty Hands

If your hands tend to get sweaty during rowing, wearing gloves can help ease off the friction. It can help you get a longer and more intense workout each time.

There are many types of gloves in the market. Some cover your hands fully, others only cover your palms and the lower part of your fingers. Others are in the form of grip pads that don’t even look like gloves. So which one to buy?

As Concept2 suggests, weight lifting gloves work well for rowers in general.

Finally, here is our top pick again:

Our Top Pick for Best Rowing Gloves


NRS Men’s Half-Finger Boater Gloves

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rowing shoes machine

So you want to buy shoes for rowing indoors.

Not all shoes can provide an accurate rowing form.

This is why we created this guide.

It contains all the information you need on how to buy the right shoes for rowing.

If you are in a hurry, just see our top picks.

Here goes:

Best Shoes for Rowing Machine in 2021

Reebok Men's Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave Sneaker

Merrel Vapor Glove 3 for Women

Troadlop Mens Hiking Quick Drying Trail Running Shoes

Reebok Men's Nano 9 Cross Trainer

Merrell Trail Glove 5

Reebok Men's Lifter Pr Cross-trainer Shoe

New Balance Women's Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running Shoe

WHITIN Men's Cross-Trainer | Barefoot & Minimalist Shoe

WHITIN Men's Minimalist Trail Runner

Types of Rowing Shoes

1. Minimalist Athletic Shoes 

Minimalist shoes have a thin sole with little to barely any padding. But they are great for weight lifting, cross training or rowing. They are good for anything that doesn’t require you thumping your feet on the floor (such as running) for a continuous time period.

The best thing is that minimalist shoes are lightweight, flexible and don’t make your feet sweat. They are highly breathable.

2. Non-Athletic Flat-Soled Shoes

Minimalist shoes are often made for athletic pursuits such as walking, weightlifting or cross training. On the other hand, there are many non-athletic shoes with thin and flat soles that can also be used for rowing.

The reason they are suitable is that they are lightweight, flexible and comfortable. The downside is that they are not as breathable as minimalist athletic shoes.

For example, Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars are known to be the best thin soled shoes. People use them for rowing, cross training and weightlifting around the world. You can check them out below.

Converse Men's Chuck Taylor Sneakers


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Other Types of Shoes

There are other types of athletic shoes meant to be used with other types of sports. For example, indoor soccer shoes also have flat sole, so do skateboarding and wrestling shoes.

a) Indoor Soccer Shoes

Indoor soccer shoes are made to produce maximum impact when hitting the ball. There is no or little cushion between the foot and the surface, which is what you need for maximum impact in rowing.

Adidas Performance Men's Samba Classic Indoor Soccer Shoe

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b) Wrestling Shoes

Wrestling shoes often have a high top along with a small heel drop as compared to running shoes. They allow you to grip the ground better with your feet in comparison to running shoes or rowing barefooted.

Wrestling shoes are great for injury prevention too as they restrict the extreme ranges of motion, which aren’t needed in rowing anyway.

ASICS Men's Matflex 5 Wrestling Shoe

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c) Skate Shoes

Skateboarding shoes are flat on the bottom which allows you to grip the ground better. But they have some level of padding unlike minimalist shoes. Since they have a thick sole, they aren’t as good as minimalist shoes when it comes to rowing.

Van Authentic

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Buying Guide: How to Pick the Right Shoes for Indoor Rowing

Can I wear any type of shoe for rowing?

No. You can’t wear any type of shoes. First, you have to wear athletic shoes but even then you shouldn’t wear any type of running shoes. For example, running shoes have uneven and thick soles that play a certain role when running but inhibit performance when rowing. While running, the thickness of the sole allows for compression and absorbing the shock on the foot.

Lost Power with Running Shoes

But during rowing, when you press on the footrests to move in the drive phase of rowing, the extra thick padding on the running shoes absorbs the push force instead of transferring it into the drive motion as desired.

The Angle with the Surface

Besides the compression of the sole, the angle between your foot and the footplate also determines how efficient each rowing stroke is. With running shoes, this angle is reduced because your heel is lifted with the thick padded sole.

A reduced angle will result in ineffective form as the power derived from pushing the footrests won’t transfer horizontally as much into the leg drive in comparison.

rowing barefoot
Source: Unknown

Arnold Schwarzenegger Lifted Weights Barefoot

This is the reason golden age bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger were photographed lifting barefoot or wearing flip-flops. They wanted their feet to be close to the ground, harnessing the power of the lower leg and foot and getting the response from the ground.

arnold lifting weights
Source: Pumping Iron

Foot Placement Impacts Your Rowing Stroke

Your foot placement has a strong impact on the rowing stroke. And the kind of erging shoes you wear influences your foot placement. If your feet position is too high, you won’t be able to move forward fully as the waist movement will be restricted. Moreover, your shins won’t be vertical, as they should be, while in the starting position.

foot position rowing shoes

If your feet are positioned too low, you won’t be able to harness as much power from pushing against the footrests as the angle would change. The power won’t be transferred in sync and the form won’t be correct either.

rowing foot position

Therefore, when you start rowing with your rowing shoes, pay attention to the setting of the footrests, you may have to tweak the setting a notch or two, to make sure your shins are vertical in the catch position and your feet are at the right angle.

Rowing Shoes Need Flexibility

Regular athletic shoes in general don’t provide the same mobility that comes from minimalist or flat and thin soled shoes. This can lead to an uncomfortable starting position while rowing.

They Should Be Breathable

Regular running shoes with thick padding can often have you sweating profusely. This becomes a significant problem if you like to row at high intensity. Therefore, it makes sense to buy the kind of shoes that don’t have thick padding.

rowing shoes

Their Soles Should Have 'Surface Feedback'

The right kind of rowing shoes have thin soles because it allows you to press on the footrests and get instant feedback in the form of energy transfer. Thick padding blocks this feedback and leads to an ineffective rowing stroke.

Zero Padding Isn't Necessary

Thick padding takes away many things from the rowing stroke. But this doesn’t mean that you should buy minimalist shoes with no padding since rowing with chaffed feet or heel cuts isn’t fun at all.

Source: Vivobarefoot

Heel Drop

Regular running shoes tend to have a heel drop of 10 mm and up. As Dr. Emily Splichal, a New York based podiatrist suggests, “if you have a high arch or a structurally tight Achilles tendon, one or two millimeters of heel height could make a considerable difference.”

According to her, such people should go for a heel drop of 4 mm. Others can opt anywhere from a zero heel drop to 2-3 mm, whichever is comfortable.

What if I Find the Shoes Uncomfortable?

If your feet muscles are not strong enough, you may find minimalist or thin soled shoes uncomfortable. To counter this, you can do barefoot exercises to strengthen the feet. It also helps to walk barefooted to activate the nerves on the soles of the feet.

Here is a barefoot warm up routine that can help you adjust to rowing shoes.

Benefits of Indoor Rowing Shoes

Rowing shoes do not just help you draw more power. When people train in the gym with flatter shoes with thin soles, they experience incredible benefits. For some people, the lower leg symptoms heal themselves because flat and thin soled shoes provide increased ankle mobility and strength in the smaller feet muscles.


Since running shoes have thick padding and extra support on the sole, they tend to weigh more than minimalist training shoes. If you buy thin and flat soled shoes, the first thing you will notice is how light they feel on your feet.


Since minimalist shoes or flat and thin soled shoes aren’t as firm or thickly padded, they offer high levels of flexibility. However, you shouldn’t go for shoes that are “too flexible” and “thin” since they can wear off too easily.

Eric Cressey, a professional fitness trainer from Boston, often finds pieces of tread from such thin shoes in the gym. In fact, his company, Cressey Sports Performance, has provided feedback to the designers at New Balance to produce better performing designs.

Therefore, it is better to opt for shoes that are solid despite having less padding.

Improved Muscular Strength

Since we have become accustomed to the comfort provided by thickly padded shoes, our feet have become weak. So to become comfortable with thin or minimalist shoes, we have to strengthen our feet.

Therefore, it can be concluded that wearing rowing shoes also improves the muscular strength in your feet.

Quick Checklist to Buy Rowing Shoes

By now we have seen that rowing shoes should be:

See also:

Not everyone rows indoors.

If you are into outdoor rowing, you will need quality sunglasses that will not fall out as you row. Sunglasses also protect your eyes from water splashes.

But with so many options in the market, picking one can be confusing.

This guide makes it all easy for you.

Here are the 5 best rowing sunglasses.

Best Rowing Sunglasses in 2021

Best Affordable

Torege Polarized Sports Sunglasses

Editor's Pick

Oakley Men's Oo9208 Radar Ev Path

Sleek and Stylish

Oakley SI Radar EV PATH PRIZM Maritime Polarized OO9208-30

1. Torege Polarized Sports Sunglasses With 3 Interchangeable Lenses

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If you don’t want to shell hundreds of dollars on rowing sunglasses, check out the Torege Polarized Sunglasses. They come with three pairs of interchangeable lenses and all lens pairs offer UV protection.

Glare Reduction

The black lenses are polarized and provide glare reduction. They have a light transmission of 14 to 20%. They are suited for rowing and similar activities that require anti-glare and enhancement of vision. The yellow lenses enhance contrast and allow a light transmission of 86 percent. It is suited for night activities. The blue PC Revo lenses reduce glare and improve contrast. They allow a light transmission of 50 to 60 percent.


They come with a unique design feature. There are two rubber nose pads to enhance comfort and make sure the sunglasses rest firmly on your face.


The Torege Polarized Sunglasses aren’t expensive, but they are sturdy. The company offers a lifetime warranty on the breakage of the lenses and the frame. It also offers a 30-day money back guarantee in case you don’t like the product.


Customers love these sunglasses because they not only look cool but also are excellent at reducing glare. They come with a hard case, a soft case, lens cloth and neck strap. Users appreciate how sturdy and durable they feel.

The best part is that you won’t be scared of losing them like with Oakley’s sunglasses. You don’t have to worry about scratches either. And these are way better than what you find in the supermarket for the same price.

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2. Oakley Men's Oo9208 Radar Ev Path Rectangular Sunglasses

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If you like to pay for quality, the Oakley Men’s Oo9208 Radar Sunglasses are a compelling option.


They come with polarized lenses that reduce glare and offer full UV protection up to 400mm. The lenses are made with lightweight plutonite material to provide you maximum comfort while rowing.


Oakley provides a two-year limited warranty on the sunglasses. The sunglasses offer a wide field of view so that you have maximum visibility while rowing. It ensures that you are aware of any moving boats and can see any obstacles your way.

The sunglasses come with unobtainium nose pads and earsocks. So if you sweat while rowing, it only increases the grip of the sunglasses over your face.


The Sunglasses come in many variants, but if you want to buy the polarized lenses, you can opt for the Matte Black/Prizm Black Polarized version available on the product page. There are a total of 31 variants to choose from.

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3. Oakley Men’s Radar EV Pitch Oo9211

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If you are familiar with rowing, you know that most experienced rowers wear Oakley sunglasses. They are a bit expensive but they are high-quality. They stay put on your face, reduce damage from the sun and above all, look amazing.


Another reason Oakley sunglasses are so popular is because they are built to last. It is better to buy an expensive set of sunglasses that will last ten years instead of buying a cheap one that may break any moment.

Polarized Better

Their polarized lenses reduce glare which prevents distortion in vision and improves view and colors.

Many eye doctors believe that Oakleys have the best polarization on their lenses which reduces the UV damage to eyes. Those with existing eye conditions should prefer getting Oakleys for medical reasons.

Superior Clarity of Vision

Customers love the Oo9211 Oakley’s because of the superior clarity of vision. They don’t just reduce glare like all polarized sunglasses do, their level of clairy is unparalleled.

The EV Pitch Oo9211 Oakley Sunglasses don’t jostle when you run, they have amazing stability. The Pitch lenses are fuller than Oakley’s EV Path lenses. So the level of clarity and anti-glare is just amazing.

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There are other Oakley Sunglasses you might want to check out:

Check Oakley Sunglasses on Amazon

4. RIVBOS 801 Polarized Sports Sunglasses for Rowing

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If Oakleys are too expensive for you, try Rivbos. They are cheap, yet effective. They cover the eyes fully and come with five sets of lenses unlike the Oakleys.

Five Pair of Lenses

Different lenses are made for different purposes including night activities, beach, windy weather, driving and outdoor activities. Keep in mind that only the black lenses are polarized.

The glass lens is made from sturdy and durable PC material. They come with a patented UpGrade design for switching lenses. The sleek curves make the sunglasses look cool.


The fact that Rivbos offers a lifetime warranty on the breakage of the frame and lenses reflects their superior build quality. The company also offers a 30 day money back guarantee if you don’t like the sunglasses for any reason. The company also offers responsive customer support. Message them on Facebook and you will get a response or even send you a new pair of glasses without asking any questions.

Customers Love It

Customers love the Rivbos sunglasses. They don’t cost an arm and a leg and can still last as long as 3 to 5 years. They are lightweight yet rugged and durable.

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Quick Buying Guide for Rowing Sunglasses


Although many sunglasses come with frames around the lenses, it is better if you can find curved lenses that cover the peripheral region around your eyes.

For rowing you want frameless lenses that cover your eyes. The lenses should hug your eyebrows, peripherals and cheeks so that glare can’t get in. The frame should be shatterproof. No frame design is any good if it is prone to breaking.

Polarized Glasses

The glasses should be polarized so that your vision isn’t distorted and you don’t have to squint to see clearly in front of you. Polarized glasses reduce the glare and improve depth perception. This is especially helpful when you are rowing with the sun low on the horizon.

UV Protection

The glasses should also offer UV protection. This ensures that there is no damage to your eyes due to harmful UV radiation.


You also don’t want them to be airtight, as it can build up sweat and humidity and the lenses themselves can build up fog due to the wind coming in your direction.

Comfortable on Ears

Another thing to make sure is that the arms of the sunglasses should not pinch too much behind your ears. Good sunglasses make sure you don’t squint, but if they are a pain on your ears, you might as well take them off.

How Much to Spend on Rowing Glasses?

Whether your budget is $50 or $200, you can find good rowing sunglasses that meet the above criteria. Not everyone needs to buy Oakleys.

If you have a pre-existing eye condition though, it is better to buy Oakleys. The polarization on their lenses is indeed better than that on cheaper sunglasses. However, not all Oakley sunglasses have polarized lenses, so choose carefully.

The benefit of having cheap rowing sunglasses is that you don’t have to worry about scratches or losing them in water.


Check if the company offers a 30-day money back guarantee or any long-term warranty on the breakage of frame and lenses.

Why Are Oakley Rowing Sunglasses Expensive?

Cheap brands use layers of films and glue to make polarized lenses. Oakley is different. It uses infusion molding to create high definition polarized lenses.

Unlike in the layering method, lens pairs are produced simultaneously with infusion molding. This ensures that the axis of polarization is aligned in both lenses.

Oakley further offers a range of lens options.

For rowing on water, their Bronze polarized and Deep Blue polarized lenses provide great anti-glare abilities. For running, they have OO Red Iridium or Black Iridium Polarized glasses that do a good job of filtering the glare off the asphalt.

The Technology Used in Oakley Sunglasses

Oakley also uses their advanced PRIZM technology to filter glare like no other. In this method, they use specific PRIZM dyes on lenses to filter out a certain spectrum of light for your specific sport.

The technology emphasizes those colors on the color spectrum which eyes can capture the most detail for.

It is like having an expert that asks you what kind of sports you are interested in and makes a specific pair of lenses for those sports.

Benefits on Oakley Rowing Sunglasses

Oakley Rowing Sunglasses are better than cheap sunglasses because they offer the following benefits:

  1. They sharpen visual perception so that the objects in front of you don’t appear blurred. With sharp perception, you are also able to identify faraway objects better.
  2. They boost the contrast between colors so that you can identify colors better and gain better visibility of objects that are placed together.
  3. By filtering out the specific glare for your particular environment, whether it is rowing on water or running on asphalt, the Oakley glasses provide superior clarity that helps you see any moving objects better.

Final Thoughts

Rowing sunglasses come in many varieties. The best ones enhance your vision, reduce glare and don’t fall off your face.

In our opinion, Oakley’s Men’s Radar EV Pitch are the best rowing sunglasses. They offer superior clarity of vision that is exclusive to Oakley’s polarization technology.

However, you can also find cool budget sunglasses that will last a long time.

heart rate monitor rowing

Top Pick

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

Best Value

Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor

Editor's Choice

 Wahoo Tickr X Heart Rate Monitor

Let’s be honest.

Nobody wants to wait for years for a fitness transformation.

People want results. And they want them fast.

This is where a heart rate monitor for rowing comes in. It lets you optimize the intensity of your workouts and get results fast.

You need a quality heart rate monitor to measure your heart rate. It can pair up with your smartphone or rowing machine monitor and show stats in real time.

If you want to know more about how heart rate and intensity are linked, we discuss it below.

Best Heart Rate Monitors for Rowing in 2021

1. Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

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The Polar H10 heart rate monitor is a fantastic product for those who don’t want to wear a fitness tracker on their wrists. It is also for those who want a reliable and accurate heart rate monitor.

Within the app, there are multiple exercises to choose from including rowing, tennis and treadmill. This is a good news for rowers as they can get dedicated performance tracking from within the app.


The chest strap tracks your heart rate and feeds it to your smartphone app. The first thing you would like about the Polar H10 is how comfortable it is. It doesn’t cause any discomfort or chaffing. The strap comes in different sizes, but even then it is stretchable to provide a comfortable fit.


When it comes to accuracy, you can’t beat the H10. This is because the Polar H10 uses electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure heart rate unlike other trackers. The ECG measures the electrical pulses from the heart, which is the most efficient way to measure heart rate.

Other fitness trackers, including the Apple watch, use optical technology to measure heart rate, which isn’t as accurate. Another advantage of using H10 is it provides consistent real-time data, no matter how intense you move during workouts, unlike some wrist trackers that lose tracking during intense exercise movements.


You can connect the H10 with the Polar Beat app on your smartphone, which shows your real-time data along with past records. The app shows your heart rate statistics in a graph, so you can see the time spent in each heart rate zone.

Where Polar H10 beats the H7 is connectivity. It deploys both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart technologies to connect with digital devices and apps. Another benefit of ANT+ technology is that you can connect to multiple devices at the same time. The H10 also connects with third-party smartphone apps such as Apple Health.

Extra Features

The app has some cool additional features that make the H10 all the more worth it. The ‘Benefit Target’ functionality lets you choose the benefit you want to get from your workouts, including aerobic fitness, speed, recovery and so on. The ‘EnergyPointer’ functionality allows you to increase or decrease your intensity depending on your workout goal. It is almost like having a coach that customizes your workouts as per your fitness goals.

Machine Washable

The Polar H10 strap is machine-washable. So you don’t have to worry about its maintenance. For regular daily use, you can just rinse and dry the strap after each workout. And when the strap gets too dirty, you can just wash it in the washing machine.

Another cool thing about the H10 is that it is waterproof upto 30 meters. So if you are rowing on a river, the H10 can be your perfect companion in rainy weather.

Finally, the Polar H10 has a battery that lasts up to 400 hours before it needs replacement. For a long battery life, make sure to remove the connector from the strap after use.

What’s Good

What’s Not Good


If you want the best heart rate monitor for rowing that has excellent features, accuracy and connectivity, the Polar H10 is the one for you.

2. Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor

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The Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor is one of the most popular HRMs in the rowing community. Here is why.


The H7 HRM deploys Bluetooth smart technology. This means you can connect to digital devices and rowing machine consoles such as the PM5. But you cannot connect it to Garmin or similar fitness devices that use ANT+ technology. You can monitor your heart rate using a compatible smartphone app.


The Polar H7 has a sensor which is average in size, not too big, nor too small. It is, however, bigger than the sensor on Garmin’s soft strap. To wash the strap, you just have to take out the sensor and put it in a washing machine with like colors. You can also wash it by hand with a detergent.

The Polar H7 is waterproof, so you can also swim while wearing it. If you are passionate about performance tracking, you can pair the H7 heart rate monitor with other Polar devices such as the A360, M600, M400, V800 and more.

The Polar H7 uses a simple coin cell battery for power, the kind you see in watches. The battery can last a good 4-5 years of time. For enhanced battery life, detach the transmitter from the chest strap after completing your workout.


When it comes to accuracy, the Polar H7 is the gold standard, just like the H10. According to Forbes, the H7 matches with the gold-standard in heart rate monitoring, an electrocardiogram, 99 percent of the time. There is no other heart rate monitor that is capable of that. Moreover, waist bands are better at heart rate monitoring than wrist devices.


The Polar H7 not only tracks your heart rate but also the calories burned during each workout.

What’s Good

What’s Not Good


The Polar H7 is the best heart rate monitor for rowing for those who want accuracy, efficient performance tracking and comfort.

3. Wahoo Tickr X Heart Rate Monitor

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The Wahoo Tickr chest strap is one of the most popular heart rate monitors out there. This is because of its many effective features.

This phenomenal HRM lets you track heart rate in real time, find optimal training zones and calculate calories burned during each workout.


Some rowers like it better than the Polar H7 since it feels lighter and easier to take off. The Wahoo Tickr is made with a clean and lightweight design. Its monitor acts as the buckle for the strap.


Wahoo Tickr stands out from many other heart rate monitors because it has both Bluetooth and ANT+ technology. Therefore, it can connect to almost all fitness devices. The Polar H7, another popular heart rate monitor, lacks ANT+ technology.

The Wahoo Tickr X has the best connectivity - better than any other HRM. It connects to all digital devices and works with 50+ smartphone apps that take fitness tracking to the next level.

It can connect to the Concept2’s Ergdata app and its ANT+ technology lets you connect to multiple devices, such as the PM5 monitor and the Garmin watch, at the same time.

Built-in Memory

The Wahoo Tickr X has onboard memory, which means you don’t need to use your smartphone to store workout data. This means you can workout with the Wahoo Tickr X on and then sync the data with your phone once the workout is finished.

Indoor Fitness Tracking

The Wahoo Tickr X is amazing for other indoor workouts too. If you run on a treadmill, it can measure your speed and distance. For stationary cycling, it can measure cadence. There is literally no other heart rate monitor capable of measuring such metrics.


The Tickr X is also accurate with only 1-2 beats per minute of difference from the Polar H7, which is scientifically proven to be as accurate as an ECG.

There are two LED lights on the Tickr X. One turns red to show that the device is recording heart rate and the other turns blue to show that it is connected wirelessly to another device.

What’s Good

What’s Not Good


The Wahoo Tickr X is one of the best heart rate monitors for rowing. In fact, it is more than that. It can be used as a run tracker or for measuring indoor/outdoor workout data. It has amazing connectivity and built-in memory to make performance tracking fun and effective.

4. Garmin HRM-Dual Heart Rate Monitor

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The Garmin HRM-Dual is among the best heart rate monitors for rowing. It is popular among rowers because of its reliable features.


The number one thing rowers want in a heart rate monitor is accuracy. And the Garmin HRM-Dual fares well in that regard. When tested, the HRM-Dual gives amazingly accurate data. One user mentioned how it is a big step up from the Garmin Forerunner FR235 wrist HRM. This is understandable since chest strap HRMs perform better than on-wrist HRMs in general.


The Garmin HRM is comfortable to wear, no signs of chafing or scratching. It isn’t too loose or tight and stays put while you workout. The sensors that detect your heart rate are located on the strap itself. The strap can stretch from 25 to 52 inches and feels soft while put on. The strap is also machine washable and Garmin recommends washing it once after every seven uses.


An area where the HRM Dual excels is battery life. Its battery can last for 3.5 years, if you use it for one hour every day. This makes it a perfect tracker for endurance races or other types of full-day events.


Garmin HRM Dual uses both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ technology. So you can sync it with any device, fitness console or smartphone app to track and store your performance data. There are many cool heart rate monitoring apps you can connect with. These include Apple Health, Runtastic, UnderArmour Record and Wahoo RunFit.

A downside with the HRM-dual is that it doesn’t directly connect with Garmin’s own fitness app - Garmin connect. You need a compatible device that can act like a bridge and allow you to connect with the app.

What’s Good

What’s Not Good


Overall, the Garmin HRM dual is for those who want an accurate and reliable heart rate monitor with a long battery life and good connectivity. If you want fancy features, this is not the right heart rate monitor for you.

Benefits of Heart Rate Monitor for Rowing

It allows you to find your optimal workout zone, that is, a range of heart rate in which you burn more calories in less time. It also ensures that you don’t reach an unsafe level of heart rate which can be dangerous to your health.

Over a period of time, a Heart Rate Monitor lets you track your progress and improve your performance. Concept2 explains how heart rate training works on their website.

Heart Rate Monitors and Accuracy

Note that a couple seconds of inaccuracy on the heart rate monitors doesn’t make much of a difference. The point is to workout in the right heart rate zone rather than obsessing over a certain number of beats per minute.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does heart rate relate to intensity of rowing?

When you row with higher and higher intensity, your heart starts beating faster and faster. This increases your heart rate. By knowing your optimal heart rate zone, you can workout in that zone and make the most of your workouts.

How does a heart rate monitor measure heart rate?

Heart rate monitors that come with a chest strap measure your heart beat. With each heart beat, they send a radio signal to the receiver. Using this signal, the monitor shows your heart rate in real time. For example, Polar H10 uses Electrocardiogram or ECG, a method which measures the electric pulses in the heart to determine heart rate. This is a highly accurate way of measuring heart rate.

Which is Better for Heart Rate Monitoring - A Wrist Watch or A Chest Strap?

A chest strap is far better and accurate than a wrist watch for heart rate monitoring. Wrist HRMs don't really work because of a lot of hand movement while rowing. Wrist heart rate monitors work best with activities like running or cycling, since there is little hand movement.

What is the best way to use a Heart Rate Monitor for Rowing?

The trick is to workout in your optimal heart rate zone. Generally, 50 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate is considered the training zone. If you go beyond 85 percent, it could lead to sore muscles and joints.

What is the Optimal Heart Rate Zone?

The optimal heart rate zone is a particular range of heart rate that allows you to get the most out of each workout. This is usually 50 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you workout in this zone, you burn more calories, burn more fat, increase your endurance and improve your overall cardiovascular system.

How to Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate?

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you are 32 years old, your maximum heart rate is 220-32 or 188 beats per minute.

Final Thoughts

A heart rate monitor can up your rowing game.

But before you buy one, check its accuracy and connectivity.

If you want the best connectivity, the Wahoo Tickr X is the one for you. It has both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart technologies that let it connect with smartphones, apps, performance monitors and other fitness trackers such as Garmin.

However, if you want high-level accuracy along with super connectivity, the Polar H10 is a solid contender.

See also:

Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine Review

Best Rowing Machines Under $500