It’s a new year—a fresh start for the new you. It’s the time of year when a large percentage of people press the mental “reset” button and commit to better health and fitness. They start diets, join a local health or fitness center, take up CrossFit or kickboxing, or purchase fitness equipment to exercise in the privacy of their own home.
There is typically a spike in new memberships at gyms in January, but half of the people who join a gym cancel their memberships within 6 months. There are a variety of reasons one might cancel a gym membership, but one of the biggest is that it is challenging to find both the time and motivation to actually visit the gym. It is much easier to have the discipline—or at least to overcome apathy or laziness—when you have the convenience of exercising at home.
Fitness and Technology
Increasingly, people want the privacy and convenience of working out at home, but they still want the coaching and connection they would get going to a fitness center in-person. Peloton tapped into this cross-section, merging fitness with technology to stream live, interactive sessions across the internet, and creating a sense of community and friendly competitiveness with a gamifying element.
Peloton built its brand on its exercise bike—which makes perfect sense if you are familiar with the word “peloton.” It is the term used to describe the main pack or group of cyclists in a race. Other fitness brands emerged or jumped on the bandwagon to expand the range of options. Now you can find similar hybrid experiences with bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, stair climbers, elliptical machines, and more. Peloton even offers a treadmill and rowing machine of its own now.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
I’ve used a variety of fitness equipment in gym settings, and I have owned many different machines over the years. Most just collect dust or become some sort of glorified clothing display unit, until I get tired of having them take up space and sell them on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
I used a Peloton bike for about 6 months at the beginning of the pandemic. It was fine. Both the bike itself and the classes offered were great. The problem for me is that it didn’t motivate me. I have nothing against riding a bike, but it is not my preferred method of fitness.
I know exercise bikes and treadmills are generally more popular and widely used, but I have always preferred rowing machines. I enjoy the greater range of motion and engaging the full body rather than just working my legs. There are a few rowing machines out there that offer the hybrid technology experience—including one from Peloton as mentioned above, but I went with the Hydrow Rower.
The Hydrow Rowing Machine is a high-end piece of fitness equipment that aims to bring the experience of rowing on the water to your home. It has a sleek and modern design, with dimensions of 86″ long x 25″ wide x 47″ tall, and a weight of just under 150 lbs. The device has a 22-inch HD touchscreen display, which provides a clear and responsive interface for navigation and workout tracking. It also has multiple ports, including USB and HDMI, as well as support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, making it easy to connect to other devices and stream content.
There are wheels on the base at one end to make it easier to move around. It can also be stored vertically (with the addition of an optional Upright Storage Kit) so it uses less space when not in use. Hydrow does also offer another model—the Hydrow Wave Rower—that is smaller and lighter (and less expensive) if you prefer.
The Hydrow Experience
Using the Hydrow is relatively straightforward. Once the machine is set up and connected to the internet, you can access the live and on-demand classes through the touchscreen display. You can also adjust the resistance level, monitor your progress, and track your metrics through the display. Hydrow includes a variety of workout programs and challenges, which can be accessed through the touchscreen display.
One of the standout features of the Hydrow is its realistic rowing experience. It would be more accurate, technically, to have two separate handles that operate independently rather than a single bar to pull, but the machine’s resistance system is designed to mimic the feeling of rowing on the water, and the smooth, quiet operation of the machine allows for a completely immersive experience. The Hydrow tracks a variety of rowing metrics, such as power, pace, and distance on the display, making it easy to track your progress and set goals.
You can adjust the resistance for your workouts by configuring the settings in your profile through the touchscreen interface. You can customize it to suit your fitness level and workout goals. I do wish the resistance went a bit higher, though. I am not a professional rower, and I am not even at my own peak fitness, but I have it set on the maximum resistance and would like to have the option of bumping it up for an even tougher workout.
Like Peloton and other hybrid experience fitness equipment, Hydrow has a variety of features to help users stay motivated and engaged. You can compete with other Hydrow users in virtual races, and the machine is also compatible with popular fitness apps such as Strava and Fitbit. Additionally, Hydrow has a built-in leaderboard that allows you to track your progress and compete against other Hydrow users.
The Hydrow subscription service provides access to live and on-demand classes led by professional rowers. The classes range from beginner to advanced and cover a variety of styles, including cardio, strength, and mindfulness. The live classes are broadcast from locations around the world, such as the Hudson River and the Charles River, and provide a sense of community and accountability. The on-demand classes, on the other hand, can be accessed at any time and provide flexibility for users with busy schedules.
Fitness Ain’t Cheap
The rower itself is $2,495, and the subscription service is $44 a month. There is a small silver lining for households where multiple people will use the rower because the subscription fee allows unlimited household memberships. They offer 0% financing options through Klarna that will let you get the rower and subscription for about $63 a month, but that is pretty steep when you consider that you can join Planet Fitness for $10 a month and they also have rowing machines…and a ton of other equipment.
The Hydrow is a significant investment, but it’s well worth the cost, in my opinion, if you want a realistic and immersive rowing experience in the convenience of your own home. The machine is ideal for users of all fitness levels, and the wide variety of classes and workout programs make it a versatile and effective piece of fitness equipment.