by Rhian Hunt
As a history buff, I have often read about the health benefits of rowing – health benefits which were realized to some degree long before the concept of fitness had entered the human mind. Sailors maintained their strength for shipboard tasks for centuries by rowing small boats on various errands.
In Roman times, several writers noted how the galley slaves who rowed merchant and pleasure vessels, chained to their oars and driven by the lash, usually possessed magnificent physiques, their bodies toned and their muscles sculpted by hours of steady rowing.
Now, thanks to modern technology, you can also benefit from the healthful effects of rowing – fortunately, without the need to be shackled to your oar or to endure the whips and curses of a barbaric overseer. The modern need for fitness machines to offset the effects of an increasingly sedentary, bureaucratic workplace has led to the creation of scores of different rowing machines offering the calorie-burning, muscle-building, impact-free benefits of actual rowing in the comfortable, dry, safe surroundings of your home.
The Pro Rower H2O RX-750 Home Rowing Machine – A Good Entry-Level Rower
Some of these models are top-of-the-line, cutting-edge rowing machines, built to precision specifications and costing a considerable amount. However, there is also a need for good-quality, reliable rowers which cost less than the top-line models – entry-level or moderate-use models that provide a good workout. A fine example of such sturdy, no-frills exercise machines is the Pro Rower H2O RX-750 Home Rowing Machine, which uses actual water for resistance and offers the beginning or casual user an excellent workout at an affordable price.
Basic Features of the Pro Rower RX-750
Weight and Assembly Time
Arriving disassembled in two separate boxes, the Pro Rower H2O RX-750 can be assembled in somewhat less than an hour, and weighs a total of only about 65 pounds fully built, making it one of the lighter entries on the exercise machine market.
Despite its lightness, the frame has a lifetime warranty, and, surprisingly, can support users of up to 350 pounds.
The two-year warranty on mechanical parts and three-year warranty on the tank and seals indicate that most of the highest-stressed parts are made of metal, since a 90-day warranty is often the sign of cheap plastic parts in areas where metal should be used.
The Pro Rower H2O Rowing Machine is 78 inches long and 22 inches wide when fully built and extended, making it considerably more compact than some other rowers, and more likely to fit into the limited exercise space available to those who need an affordable rowing machine in the first place.
The machine folds into a smaller size for storage, and is equipped with wheels making it easier to move in and out of whatever place is chosen for it when it is not in use. Storage is made easier by its relatively light weight as well, since it is far easier to work a 65-pound object over a lintel than it is to do the same with a machine weighing 200 or 300 pounds.
Water Resistance – An Interesting and Successful Approach
One of the main features of the Pro Rower H2O RX-750 rower is readily visible to anyone – resistance is provided by paddles moving inside a flattened, circular polycarbonate water tank mounted at the front of the machine. The tank is colored light blue and is transparent, allowing the user to see how much water is in the tank and make any needed adjustments.
Despite its adaptation to dry-land use, the Pro Rower Rowing Machine has brought a small portion of the ocean with it – an interesting and clever feature which caught my notice immediately and which provides a special approach to adjusting resistance.
Resistance is provided by the actual water in the tank – pulling on the handle rotates the paddles inside the tank. Resistance can thus be modified in two ways. Adding more water to the tank – which is done with an included filling kit – increases resistance, since water is heavy. Draining water from the tank lowers resistance.
How To Adjust The Resistance
Since water provides more or less resistance depending on how hard an object is pushed against it, rowing faster will thrust the paddles against the water harder and increase resistance as well. Thus, you will set your own resistance level naturally while paddling – when you are feeling vigorous and paddle rapidly, the water will resist your efforts more, while resistance will slacken when you begin to tire and row more slowly. This is accomplished without the need for any active adjustment by the user – since it is simply an application of action and reaction.
I was concerned when first reading the details of how the tank resistance system works that the Pro Rower RX-750 would be unable to provide resistance levels high enough for well-muscled, robust rowers. However, some users who have built up strong sets of rowing muscles through decades of actual rowing report that the Pro Rower H2O Rowing Machine can easily give them a challenging, thorough workout.
Water is dense, its resistance is strong, and more water can be easily added to the tank when a certain level of resistance becomes too light. The use of water as a resistor also ensures an extremely smooth, impact-free exercise session.
Among the Pro Rower RX-750’s other virtues, the near-silence of its operation should also be mentioned. There is a soothing, rhythmic swishing noise from the paddles moving in the water, and a light clicking sound from the footrest, but the seat slides noiselessly on the beam. You can get a vigorous, thorough, calorie-burning workout while making an absolute minimum of sound.
The Monitor – Somewhat Less Accurate Than More Expensive Models
Most of the Pro Rower RX-750 Home Series Rowing Machine’s features mark it as one of the strongest products in the affordable rowing machine niche. Its tough design, self-adjusting, smooth water resistance, quietness of use, and ease of storage, as well as its excellent warranties, set it far ahead of many low-cost competitors which lack one or several of these features. However, the one place where it can be described as only “adequate” is in the monitor fitted to the machine.
The monitor includes large text that is easy to read even while lunging back and forth in the rowing sequence, and tracks time, distance, calories expended, and heart rate (although a heart rate monitor must be bought separately to use this last feature). However, the monitor, unlike the rest of the machine, is engineered to only a passable standard. The information displayed on it is not highly accurate, and should be used as an approximation rather than viewed as a precise measure of actual effort.
Those wishing to track the minutiae of their exercise regimen while using the Pro Rower H2O Rower will need a third-party monitor to gain truly rigorous, accurate data. For most users, an estimate of effort will probably suffice, however, and the monitor can furnish that at least.
What others are saying about the Pro Rower H2O RX-750
[The machine is] rugged, durable, dependable, and sturdy, all while weighing only sixty five pounds! Clearly, this puts it among the best fitness machines ever created. – Anonymous user
I am impressed with the quality of the product and its fun to use as well as being effective and sturdy. – testimonial from Sandy from Vienna, Virginia
Good, solid product. Easy to use. Great workout. … Felt great and in shape after 3 weeks using every other day. – testimonial from Jeff from Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
Where can you buy the Pro Rower H20 RX-750 Rowing Machine?
There are many sites offering the Pro Rower RX-750, but one of the best prices, as well as excellent customer service, is to be found on Amazon.