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The Hydrow is an interactive subscription-based rowing machine. As with other smart home gym equipment, the Hydrow allows users to participate in live streaming workouts from the comfort of their own home.

Interactive home exercise equipment is becoming increasingly popular. Rowing machines can offer people of all ages and physical abilities the chance to work out regularly from the privacy and security of their own home. Rowing is a full body exercise that works muscles of the upper and lower body while strengthening the cardiovascular system.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at the Hydrow rowing machine and outline its features. We also suggest some alternatives that people may wish to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All product information is purely research-based.

The Hydrow is a rowing machine that the manufacturers claim can deliver a live, on-river, outdoor rowing experience at home. Unlike other companies that sell workout equipment, Hydrow focus entirely on rowing machines.

The rowing machine includes a 22-inch high-definition touch screen display to help immerse users in the experience. The company suggest that the following factors are what makes the Hydrow unique:

  • offers a Live Outdoor Reality (LOR) experience by streaming live and on-demand workouts
  • includes an extensive library with a wide variety of workout content
  • uses reactive electromagnetic resistance, which is frictionless and, therefore, quiet
  • has a leaderboard and active community, allowing people to row with or compete against other individuals
  • rowers helped design the machine to create an authentic on-the-water workout experience

The rower has built-in wheels, so a person can wheel it around the house and move it out of the way when they are not using it. It also folds up for neat storage. However, people who wish to store it vertically need to buy an upright storage kit.

When in use, the machine is 86 inches long, but it only takes up 33 inches of space in a vertical position. It weighs a total of 145 pounds (lb). It has a maximum weight limit of 375 lb, which is higher than that of many other pieces of workout equipment.

At the time of writing, the machine costs $2,245. It is also available in two different bundle configurations. One bundle, costing $2,520, includes the machine, a mat, a heart rate monitor, and headphones. The other has a price tag of $2,705 and consists of all of the above, plus a workout mat, yoga accessories, and resistance bands.

Users also have to sign up for a Hydrow membership to access the workout content, which costs $38 per month.

The Hydrow is available for purchase online.

The Hydrow uses patented technology to provide a smooth rowing workout. It mimics the feel of rowing on a river with the help of electromagnetic, computer-controlled resistance, and a 10-roller system.

As with a traditional rowing machine, people should use proper rowing technique. They should first straighten the back and tighten the core, then push back with the lower body. Next, they should use the upper back to pull the hands toward the chest before returning to the starting position by releasing the arms and bending the knees.

The device is Bluetooth- and WiFi-enabled. It has a large monitor that provides interactive features. Users can swivel the monitor up to 25 degrees, both left and right, if they wish to follow floor-based classes. The machine also has built-in speakers.

The high-resolution screen allows people to enjoy a series of workouts and interactive features, including:

  • live workouts
  • on-demand workouts
  • scenic rowing workouts in real-world destinations
  • mat workouts, such as yoga, Pilates, and strength training

The machine is also compatible with the companion Hydrow app, which enables users to work out on the go and check in on their progress. People can use the app even if they do not have the rowing machine.

Regular physical activity is vital for good health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that people aim for either 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week, even when at home.

Research suggests that rowing is a beneficial total body workout because it uses most of the body’s muscles. According to the American Fitness Professionals Association, the rowing stroke comprises 65–75% leg work and 25–35% upper body work.

The major muscle groups that it targets are the:

  • upper back
  • chest
  • arms
  • abdominal muscles
  • obliques
  • quadriceps
  • calves
  • glutes

Rowing is also a low impact fitness activity, making it ideal for people just starting out with an exercise regimen.

As it also provides a cardiovascular workout, rowing is a great way to strengthen the heart and lungs. Research also suggests that rowing is among the gym activities that burn the most calories.

A 2017 study suggests that participating in virtual group classes can be beneficial and help improve physical, mental, and emotional health.

An older study notes that exercising with a virtual partner may help improve aerobic performance. This finding is consistent with other research indicating that people improve their performance when competing against others.

There is also evidence to suggest that online group exercise may help boost motivation and be a way for individuals who are less physically fit to get into exercise. The reason for this is that people are less likely to lose motivation in an online context when they are not spending time comparing themselves with others.

As with any type of exercise equipment, proper form is essential. While rowing is a low impact activity, it is still possible for people to injure themselves on the machine.

People with back issues may be more likely to develop lower back pain when using a rowing machine. According to a study from 2015, 25–81% of rowers report lower back injuries. Other common sites of rowing injuries include the knees and ribs.

For some people, an interactive rowing machine such as the Hydrow may be too costly. A regular rowing machine may be a more affordable option and provide similar benefits.

Several competitors, including NordicTrack, also offer rowing machines with similar interactive fitness features.

Furthermore, people may wish to consider other home workout equipment, such as exercise bikes or treadmills.

Learn how Peloton compare with NordicTrack.

The Hydrow is an interactive rowing machine. Rowing works the whole body and is suitable for people of all fitness levels. With its added interactive features, the Hydrow machine may help users maintain their motivation to exercise.

However, the Hydrow machine is relatively expensive, and people may get similar benefits from traditional and cheaper rowing machines. Additionally, alternative smart exercise machines, such as treadmills and exercise bikes, are available to purchase if people wish to try those instead.