Let's face it. Cardio isn’t always the most enjoyable. You're usually dripping sweat, your lungs are burning and you're not exactly looking your best. However, technology-enhanced cardio machines (like the Hydrow and Peloton bike) can make this somewhat painful experience a, dare we say, enjoyable one.
In this Hydrow review, our ACTIVE Reviews Team will give you the rundown on one of the hottest interactive rowing machines on the market. The Hydrow might empty out your wallet, but if you can spare the cash, you'll find the details and extras make it well worth the price.
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Rowing with the Hydrow
- Weight unboxed: 145 lbs.
- User capacity: 375 lbs.
- Screen: 22" HD touchscreen
- Seat: 10-roller system
- Materials: Steel, aluminum, polymer
- Dimensions: 25"W x 33"D x 86"H
- Warranty: 5-year frame, 1-year home use warranty
For those of us who need a high-quality, low-impact cardio option, the Hydrow definitely delivers. This rowing machine uses electromagnetic resistance with a special drag mechanism, which makes you feel like you’re really on the water. To get started, simply hook your Hydrow up to a power outlet and connect your machine to WiFi. From there, you’ll be able to create a profile (you can make multiple) and purchase your monthly subscription.
If you thrive off great programming or follow-along classes, you’ll really like the rowing workouts on the Hydrow. Although you have to pay a monthly membership fee of $38 per month, the immersive classes are set on water versus in a studio. This is something unique that our team hadn’t seen before with other similar technology-based cardio equipment.
The live outdoor reality, along with the superb front-facing speakers, makes the rowing sessions come to life. You can easily view on-demand classes or participate in live workouts with the 22-inch HD touchscreen. There is even a leaderboard to compete with others also taking the class to satisfy that competitive itch most of us have. While taking a class, you’ll be able to view different metrics, like total calories burned, distance, split time, and how much of class is remaining. Being able to see all the stats while working out is motivating and keeps your mind focused on your rowing experience.
There are also a few other types of workouts you can do besides rowing with your monthly Hydrow membership. Strength training, Pilates and yoga are all options. However, we think that the rowing classes are what make this subscription worth it. The other types are more bonuses than anything else.
Cross-Training with Hydrow
Rowing on the Hydrow offers users the chance to build full body-strength, all while improving cardiovascular fitness. If running is your sport of choice, adding rowing workouts to your cross-training regimen can help you prepare for your next race and prevent injury by building strength in your core, legs, and glutes. Hydrow's mixture of other non-rowing based workouts provide a variety of options on training days when you need to avoid the high-impact effort of going for a run.
The Hydrow rower also has Bluetooth capabilities, which means you can easily hook up your Apple Watch to the machine to track your heart rate. There are also two speakers at the bottom of the screen, which will play the programming as you row. If you’re trying to stay quiet (because of sleeping family members, for example), you can connect your AirPods to the Hydrow for a more low-key experience.
The warranty on the Hydrow isn't bad. You get five years for the frame and storage kit (sold separately), plus one year for the labor, screen, components and electronics. The mostly steel frame seems like it will hold up well over time.
Before you get started rowing you can adjust your resistance via the touchscreen. Compared to water rowers where you really can't adjust the resistance, this is a nice feature. This makes this machine particularly suitable for both beginners and more advanced rowers since you can customize your experience.
Storing the Hydrow
Although the Hydrow is surprisingly attractive to look at (at least in terms of fitness equipment), it doesn’t have to be left out when not in use. If you purchase the Upright Storage Kit, which is sold separately, you can hang your rowing machine against the wall if you need to free up your space. It will require a little bit of effort to move the machine because it is 145-pounds, but it isn’t an impossible task.
Our Final Thoughts
The Hydrow is a sleek piece of exercise equipment with the latest technology to match. However, this all comes at a price, which can make it an unrealistic piece of equipment for most to own. If price isn’t a concern, you’ll love the interactive programming and smooth drag mechanism.
- Stellar programming complete with live classes
- Looks good in almost any space due to the sleek, modern design
- Closest thing to rowing on water without actually being on the water
- Smooth magnetic resistance makes for a surprisingly quiet indoor rowing experience
- Can be stored vertically with the purchase of a storage kit
- Expensive price point
FAQs About Hydrow
Is the Hydrow any good?
If you're looking for an interactive rowing machine with all the latest bells and whistles, you’ll adore the Hydrow. It's definitely a great piece of equipment if you can afford the upfront cost plus the ongoing monthly subscription fee. We love it for the programming, ergonomic build, smooth performance and ability to store upright.
Will I lose weight with the Hydrow?
As with any exercise regime, consult your doctor or another medical professional to see what's best for you. However, generally speaking, exercise (like you’ll get with rowing on the Hydrow) can help you lose weight when combined with a healthy diet. Rowing does provide a full-body workout.
Can I hop on the Hydrow and simply row?
Yes! With the just row feature, you'll be able to incorporate the Hydrow into your CrossFit or HIIT workouts in your own home gym.
What can I use my Hydrow rowing machine for?
With the expansive interactive programming, the Hydrow provides a variety of experiences, such as live rowing, on-demand workouts, cool downs, tutorials on how to properly row and various other home workouts.