Most athletes you speak to have a love/hate relationship with indoor rowers. The reason is simple—they provide some of the most intense cardio workouts for even the most elite athletes. But, these cardio machines are as great for beginners as they are for the more experienced cardio fanatic, making them a fantastic addition to any gym. The combination of resistance training with a cardio component creates a full-body workout that effectively improves stamina and strength.
As the OG row machine, the Concept2 Model D Rower is a time-tested, high-quality, durable, and easy-to-use rower. While it is one of the more basic rowers on the market, the Concept2 is likely the rower you will find in most commercial and CrossFit gyms. Although it is certainly not the most budget-friendly rower, it is, perhaps, the best-selling row machine of all time. If you are on the hunt for a cardio machine that will stand the test of time, the Concept2 Model D Rower may just be for you.
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A Quick Look at the Concept2 Model D Rower
Used by both professional athletes in competitions and everyday gym goers alike, the Concept2 Model D Rower is one of the most popular rowing machines of all time. Known for its durability, ergonomic design, versatility, and overall quality, the Concept2 provides a low-impact, comprehensive full-body workout through its unique combination of resistance and cardio output.
Using air resistance, this rower features a spiral damper with 10 settings, ergonomic handles, an advanced PM5 performance monitor, and adjustable footrests, and this bad boy can accommodate users of varied sizes. Yes, it is a bit of an investment upfront, but since it is made with the highest-quality components, you can count on the Concept2 for years to come.
Ergonomically designed, the Concept2 is engineered with form and function in mind. The foam-covered handle promotes a natural arm and hand position which results in a smooth and comfortable pull. The seat sits 14-inches high and moves effortlessly over an aluminum l-beam monorail and stainless steel track. This allows for a smooth back-and-forth slide which creates an overall comfortable rowing motion.
Designed to support users weighing up to 500 pounds, the Concept2 has adjustable footrests for easy sizing changes. Additionally, the monitor arm moves to accommodate different viewing heights.
Perhaps the best part for any home gym owner is that this machine is compact. When you are done with your workout, it breaks down into two segments for easy storage. The monitor also separates into two parts, making this machine incredibly space-saving—a bonus for anyone with minimal real estate in their gym.
Users rave over the easy assembly. Provided with both the tools and illustrated instructions, you can quickly get set up using just eight screws. From the box, it is reported that you can get rowing in less than 30 minutes.
In addition to its brilliant engineering, the Concept2 features a PM5 performance monitor, device holder, and caster transport wheels. The PM5 performance is simple in design and function but provides all the information and capabilities needed to get in a killer workout. Track distance, speed, pace, calories burned, and watts on the backlit display. Bluetooth capabilities allow you to connect wireless heart rate monitors for more accurate tracking of your fitness metrics. Additionally, through its Bluetooth capabilities, you can connect to the ErgData app which records detailed workout metrics so you can track progress over time.
Concept2 Model D Rower
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- Rower type: Air resistance, flywheel
- Track length: 54"
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs.
- Dimensions: 96"L x 24"W x 14"H (with standard legs)
- Resistance: Spiral damper with 1-10 levels
- Warranties: 5-year frame/parts limited warranty; 2-year limited warranty
The Concept2 is an air or flywheel rowing machine, which offers a natural, fluid rowing stroke similar to outdoor rowing. This machine gets its resistance from the pulling motion in the row stroke which spins a flywheel with fan blades attached. The faster and harder you pull, the greater resistance generated. As such, the workout you get is directly linked to your power output.
The 14-inch-high seat moves smoothly on an aluminum/stainless steel rail which measures 54-inches long. Users with an inseam greater than 38 inches may need a longer monorail.
The Concept2 stamps out a footprint of about 8 feet by 2 feet. Specifically, it measures 96-inches long, 24-inches wide, and 14-inches high with standard legs. You should account for a space of 9 by 4 feet when deciding where you will use the machine, a space recommended by the manufacturer. Equipped with transport wheels, the Concept2 can be stored out of the way when not in use, and this beauty separates into two pieces for easy storage.
Using air resistance generated by the fanned flywheel, the Concept2 produces a resistance directly correlated to the strength and speed of your pull. A spiral damper with settings from 1-10 controls how much air is let into the flywheel housing. The more air that enters, the more you will have to work to spin the flywheel against the air. At higher damper settings, each pull will require more work to accelerate.
Conversely, lower damper settings allow less air into the flywheel housing. So it is easier to spin the flywheel and gain speed. Think of the damper as gears on a bike—changing the damper settings affects how much energy is needed to accelerate.
The warranty on the Concept2 Model D rower is OK; it is not great but we have certainly seen worse. Frame and frame parts are covered by a 5-year limited warranty and all other parts by a 2-year limited warranty. Regular maintenance will keep the rower moving for years to come.
What We Like
- Easy assembly
- Ergonomic, foam-covered handlebar
- High user weight capacity
- Quiet to use
- Easy-to-use monitor
- Adjustable footrests
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Even with regular abuse, it lasts for years and years
What We Don't Like
- Higher cost
- Basic grayscale monitor
- Seat can get uncomfortable on long rows
FAQs About the Concept2 Model D Rower
Is the Concept2 Model D worth it?
An astounding yes, the Concept2 Model D is worth it. It truly is considered the gold standard for row machines due to its exceptional build, quality components, and dependable performance.
How long will the Concept2 Model D rower last?
The Concept2 Model D rower is engineered to last a lifetime. With regular maintenance and care, this bad boy stands up against the test of time.
Can you store a Concept2 rower upright?
The best way to store the Concept2 rower is to disengage the framelock and separate the machine into two pieces. These pieces can easily be stored upright against a wall.
Is rowing good for weight loss?
Yes, rowing is good for weight loss. Rowing provides a low-impact, comprehensive full-body workout that can vary in intensity from light to intense. But weight loss is highly dependent on diet. Along with a good, clean diet and consistent exercise, the Concept2 is a great tool to help you along your weight-loss journey.