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OT: Rowing machines at home.

WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,992
edited February 2018 in Commuting chat
I’m hoping there’s some well informed opinions here...

Considering getting a rowing machine for home, for a few reasons:

- Would like to take up kayak paddling for a new hobby and am guessing a rowing machine is the nearest equivalent for that movement in gym equipment?
- Had a broken neck 6 years back and have issues with upper spine stability and muscle fatigue, need to (gently) build up some strength
- General aerobic work in addition to bike trainer

Any tips on good machines to look for? What work well for resistance and what don’t?

Any and all advice much appreciated!
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  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 4,039
    I going to predict that the words "Concept 2" might feature often in this thread.
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  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,843
    Yep followed by Precor.
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  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I've done a bit of both and paddling isn't much like rowing but I'm no expert.

    Yeah Concept 2 is the go to machine at all the gyms I've seen.
  • rower63rower63 Posts: 1,991
    The two most popular "home" ones that tick most of the boxes are Concept 2 and WaterRower. C2 is beautifully engineered and there is a healthy 2nd hand market on eBay, meaning that when you finally decide the dust is too thick on it, you'll get most of your money back. Not so familiar with WaterRower used market. Any other machines are basically either highly specialized for the rowing market (such as RowPerfect) or shoddy censored .
    I'd go for a 2-3 generations old C2, i.e. Model E onwards.

    edit: if you go for a used one, and I would recommend that, make sure it was originally purchased as a home one, it'll've had very light use. Avoid at all costs an ex-gym or especially an ex-rowing club one, they'll be f*cked beyond all hope.
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  • jds_1981jds_1981 Posts: 1,858
    Kayaking and rowing are nothing like each other I'm afraid.
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  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    jds_1981 wrote:
    Kayaking and rowing are nothing like each other I'm afraid.
    OT - but I've always wondered how rowers and kayakers interact on the same piece of water. Kayakers are (generally) going a bit slower than rowers, and can't see what's behind them without looking round; rowers generally travel faster, and can't see what's in front of them without looking round. Sounds like a recipe for disaster! Maybe it's no coincidence that the stretch of the Thames with the biggest canoeing club (Teddington-Richmond) doesn't have many rowing clubs...
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  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    I have a C2 rower .... its nothing like kayaking in the slightest ... a completely different movement. ...... its not like rowing a standard boat either.

    its like Sculling on a perfectly still bit of water with no waves, wind, current and where your hands dont cross

    That said though if you can workout a way past the tedium, its a great workout for cardio with about 70%:30% legs to arm ratio uses up a lot of calories in one go

    again though, being a repetitive motion of push with legs, pull with arms and back, you still need to supplement the workout with a motion that works the front of your body to avoid injury
  • rower63rower63 Posts: 1,991
    tgotb wrote:
    jds_1981 wrote:
    Kayaking and rowing are nothing like each other I'm afraid.
    OT - but I've always wondered how rowers and kayakers interact on the same piece of water. ... Sounds like a recipe for disaster! Maybe it's no coincidence that the stretch of the Thames with the biggest canoeing club (Teddington-Richmond) doesn't have many rowing clubs...
    You'd think there might be lots of such incidents, but there aren't. I can't recall a single incident on my stretch, which sees a fair few canoeists, involving a canoe-rowing boat accident. Steerers in coxless boats tend to be (are required to be) hyper-aware of what's in front of them and very skilled. Similarly for canoeists I'm sure. I've been Safety Officer at my rowing club for 10+ years on the Sunbury to Hampton Court stretch.

    Another good reason there are few rowing clubs there is that (during the 80s at least when I was briefly a member of Twickenham Rowing Club) sometimes at very low tide, most of the water drains away, and I've seen parts of that stretch no more than knee-deep and very narrow at deepest point.

    But maybe that fact has been a factor for the canoe club being sited there. Ironically my worst rowing accident ever was just opposite that canoe club, but didn't involve a canoe. I sculled head-on into an eight, both of us at full pelt (the eight was on the wrong side of the river and I was less experienced in 1986).
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  • rower63rower63 Posts: 1,991
    fat daddy wrote:
    ... its like Sculling on a perfectly still bit of water with no waves, wind, current and where your hands dont cross ...
    it's even less like rowing than that! see my little articles on that topic here and here .
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,602 Lives Here
    rower63 wrote:
    I sculled head-on into an eight, both of us at full pelt (the eight was on the wrong side of the river and I was less experienced in 1986).

    Christ, that IS bad.
  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,992
    Thanks for the info, will investigate those machines out this way.

    Not concerned about the mechanics of the movement being different, just whether the same muscle groups will be used. I’ve no intention of any competition, not even interested in much outright speed. I’m moving house to live right on a big scenic bay which looks perfect for a sea kayak to cruise about and enjoy the scenery.

    Right now, I struggle with *any* repetitive upper body exercise, figured rowing might be a good solution.
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  • jds_1981jds_1981 Posts: 1,858
    Thanks for the info, will investigate those machines out this way.

    Not concerned about the mechanics of the movement being different, just whether the same muscle groups will be used. I’ve no intention of any competition, not even interested in much outright speed. I’m moving house to live right on a big scenic bay which looks perfect for a sea kayak to cruise about and enjoy the scenery.

    Right now, I struggle with *any* repetitive upper body exercise, figured rowing might be a good solution.

    I've only ever used a rowing machine, so not the best person to answer, but no, the muscles are quite different.
    Kayaking is generally just about the arm muscles and turning the trunk.
    See the first video form about 2:32. http://www.epickayaks.com/article/artic ... que-series Note that they're using racing blade paddles which are a slightly different technique.

    If you're getting a rowing machine for upper body exercise then sure, just don't expect much crossover to kayaking.

    I believe you can get kayaking machines, but to be honest, I'm sure they'd be even more dull than using a bicycle stationary trainer.
    https://www.canoekayak.com/gear/kayakpro-compact-erg/
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  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,992
    jds_1981 wrote:
    Thanks for the info, will investigate those machines out this way.

    Not concerned about the mechanics of the movement being different, just whether the same muscle groups will be used. I’ve no intention of any competition, not even interested in much outright speed. I’m moving house to live right on a big scenic bay which looks perfect for a sea kayak to cruise about and enjoy the scenery.

    Right now, I struggle with *any* repetitive upper body exercise, figured rowing might be a good solution.

    I've only ever used a rowing machine, so not the best person to answer, but no, the muscles are quite different.
    Kayaking is generally just about the arm muscles and turning the trunk.
    See the first video form about 2:32. http://www.epickayaks.com/article/artic ... que-series Note that they're using racing blade paddles which are a slightly different technique.

    If you're getting a rowing machine for upper body exercise then sure, just don't expect much crossover to kayaking.

    I believe you can get kayaking machines, but to be honest, I'm sure they'd be even more dull than using a bicycle stationary trainer.
    https://www.canoekayak.com/gear/kayakpro-compact-erg/
    Thank you, makes sense.

    Given my complete lack of experience with either, am hoping any effort will be a step in the right direction!
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  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,300
    Any tips on good machines to look for?

    Concept 2 model D or E and a PM5. You can Zwift with it. :D

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  • kingstoniankingstonian Posts: 2,352
    I’d def agree with the comment above re avoiding an ex rowing club’s Concept 2. They only ever get sold when they are at the end of their useful lives.
  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,992
    I’d def agree with the comment above re avoiding an ex rowing club’s Concept 2. They only ever get sold when they are at the end of their useful lives.
    I may even have to stump up for a new one - as per Rower's advice above, if I get bored and sell it they appear to retain the value fairly well.
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  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    There's a lot of leg work with the rower and your legs don't go anywhere when you paddle. What kind of paddling ? White water ? Surf ? River ? Sea ?

    You could get something like this if you're serious

    http://stroke2max.com/
  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,992
    cougie wrote:
    There's a lot of leg work with the rower and your legs don't go anywhere when you paddle. What kind of paddling ? White water ? Surf ? River ? Sea ?

    You could get something like this if you're serious

    http://stroke2max.com/
    Most definitely *not* serious :D

    Moving to an area with access to a big shallow (river) bay which is very tidal. This is the front yard of my new place where I'll be going paddling...

    38955546754_b9a791143f_h.jpg

    I'd expect to maybe go up and across the river eventually which is probably 8 - 10 km each way, but for the time being just get used to it sightseeing around the local bay area.

    I'm still reasonably strong upper body, in that I can still lift a decent weight - once. I just have no muscle endurance at all as a result of the neck injury and subsequent nerve problems. Even simple stuff like sweeping the leaves off my driveway requires a break in the middle because my arms tire so fast. That's what I'm aiming to address...
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  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Agent57 wrote:
    You can Zwift with it. :D
    Shouldn't you put the monitor behind you, and glance at it over your shoulder?
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  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    cougie wrote:
    There's a lot of leg work with the rower and your legs don't go anywhere when you paddle. What kind of paddling ? White water ? Surf ? River ? Sea ?

    You could get something like this if you're serious

    http://stroke2max.com/
    Most definitely *not* serious :D

    Moving to an area with access to a big shallow (river) bay which is very tidal. This is the front yard of my new place where I'll be going paddling...

    38955546754_b9a791143f_h.jpg

    I'd expect to maybe go up and across the river eventually which is probably 8 - 10 km each way, but for the time being just get used to it sightseeing around the local bay area.

    I'm still reasonably strong upper body, in that I can still lift a decent weight - once. I just have no muscle endurance at all as a result of the neck injury and subsequent nerve problems. Even simple stuff like sweeping the leaves off my driveway requires a break in the middle because my arms tire so fast. That's what I'm aiming to address...

    Yowzers! Where. Is. THAT? I want it to be Scotland.

    If that was my front garden, I'd probably avoid buying an indoor trainer for the moment. Instead, I'd try to use the beach for some type of circuit training, with press-ups, tricep dips etc., interspersed with short, sharp runs. I would have thought that would build muscle strength and fitness.

    As it happens, I did 2k on a Concept 2 this morning for the first time in years. It was tiring, but I don't think I'd use it enough to justify buying one for home; it's enough of a challenge to get on the turbo, and I didn't find it particularly interesting. We've got a step-machine type thing, with the bars you push and pull with the arms. I find that to be a good workout, but I think I'd rather run on the beach...
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  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Oh I'd not bother with indoor stuff with that location. It's stunning. Paddle slower and you get to see more !
  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,992
    cjcp wrote:

    Yowzers! Where. Is. THAT? I want it to be Scotland.

    If that was my front garden, I'd probably avoid buying an indoor trainer for the moment. Instead, I'd try to use the beach for some type of circuit training, with press-ups, tricep dips etc., interspersed with short, sharp runs. I would have thought that would build muscle strength and fitness.

    As it happens, I did 2k on a Concept 2 this morning for the first time in years. It was tiring, but I don't think I'd use it enough to justify buying one for home; it's enough of a challenge to get on the turbo, and I didn't find it particularly interesting. We've got a step-machine type thing, with the bars you push and pull with the arms. I find that to be a good workout, but I think I'd rather run on the beach...
    Not quite Scotland... other end of the world, in Tasmania. Just around the tip of that beach on the right foreground is another bigger bay too.

    That photo was last week, mid-summer with a light breeze up. This is the same spot late afternoon on a glass-calm day in mid winter :)

    35785199461_3f225a8e89_h.jpg
    Behind where I'm standing the beach extends maybe a kilometre in the other direction with a big headland at the end of about 100 acres of open space for walking, running, cycling, so yes I am expecting to do plenty of outdoorsy stuff!

    I'm considering the rower mainly for a more structured approach to it - too easy and tempting to go walk/run/ride and get distracted and lazy out there. Yeah I agree the indoor machines are dreary, but might get me better results in the medium term I think, provided I use it.. :lol:
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  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Hmm, yeah. I checked the photostream after I posted, and then thought "That's not Scotland".

    It's stunning. Took some pictures of the beaches out on the east coast and then Wineglass Bay (there's that viewing point before you descend to the beach, I think).

    Froze my nuts off when I went for a swim down there!

    You ever ride up that peak over Hobart? Mt Wellington?

    You're probably going to lose a lot of friends on here if you keep posting pictures like that... ;)
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  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,992
    cjcp wrote:
    Hmm, yeah. I checked the photostream after I posted, and then thought "That's not Scotland".

    It's stunning. Took some pictures of the beaches out on the east coast and then Wineglass Bay (there's that viewing point before you descend to the beach, I think).

    Froze my nuts off when I went for a swim down there!

    You ever ride up that peak over Hobart? Mt Wellington?

    You're probably going to lose a lot of friends on here if you keep posting pictures like that... ;)
    Wineglass Bay is spectacular. Used to go camping up that coastline when I was a kid. Not lived there in almost 30 years now, looking forward to going back.

    I've not ridden to the peak of Mt Wellington, would be a rubbish ride, pretty rough surface, narrow and a LOT of traffic any day when the weather is half decent. Have walked all over the area though, and used to do a lot of cross-country running on the trails around the lower slopes. Family lived there for years - I used to commute to University across that mountain road on my first proper road bike. Going home was a 10 km steady climb from the city up through Ferntree and beyond. Steel frame, 52/42 chainrings with a 6 speed 12-21 block. Ouch.

    Water can be a bit nippy. :D
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  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    tgotb wrote:
    Agent57 wrote:
    You can Zwift with it. :D
    Shouldn't you put the monitor behind you, and glance at it over your shoulder?


    I have found it slightly less disconcerting to just put the view to "looking back at the rider" .. that way you still have all your metrics, bt you only see whats catching you up or what you have just over taken.

    Must admit though its not as realistic as your solution
  • mamil314mamil314 Posts: 1,103
    Looks like awesome location, congratulations!

    Provided it's not too windy around there, can i propose getting a stand-up paddling board; if you do it regularly, it builds up upper body and core like nobodys business
  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,992
    mamil314 wrote:
    Looks like awesome location, congratulations!

    Provided it's not too windy around there, can i propose getting a stand-up paddling board; if you do it regularly, it builds up upper body and core like nobodys business
    I've a mate who's heavily into that, although he does it for surfing rather than just paddling. May give it a try, but the principal issue I have is any non-symmetrical forward reach stuff is what aggravates my neck the most. Until I've got some strength back to start with I think the stand-up boards would kill me. :(
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  • GT29GT29 Posts: 53
    I’m hoping there’s some well informed opinions here...

    Considering getting a rowing machine for home, for a few reasons:

    - Would like to take up kayak paddling for a new hobby and am guessing a rowing machine is the nearest equivalent for that movement in gym equipment?
    - Had a broken neck 6 years back and have issues with upper spine stability and muscle fatigue, need to (gently) build up some strength
    - General aerobic work in addition to bike trainer

    Any tips on good machines to look for? What work well for resistance and what don’t?

    Any and all advice much appreciated!

    Maybe a ski erg.

    http://www.concept2.co.uk/skierg

    Probably a better choice for kayaking....

    Rowing has a lot of knee flexion, so works the lower and upper leg very heavily.... The ski erg is just as good for cardio, but more hip and shoulder joint, which are the areas used in kayaking.

    In fact you need shoulder strength and endurance for kayaking, but in rowing your shoulders wont do much except let the legs do all the work.....

    The skierg is what the GB Rowing team uses when knee injuries keep them away from rowing....

    Its also cheaper than a rowing machine:

    http://www.argos.co.uk/product/6686394

    £699.99
  • rower63rower63 Posts: 1,991
    GT29 wrote:
    ...Rowing has a lot of knee flexion, so works the lower and upper leg very heavily....

    ... you need shoulder strength and endurance for kayaking, but in rowing your shoulders wont do much except let the legs do all the work.....
    rowing certainly works the upper leg muscles (knee extensors) very intensively, but no so the lower leg (calves). The only work the calf muscles do is pull the boat back underneath you during the recovery, which is almost negligible work. On the rowing machine, the "pulling yourself forward" work is a little more than in-boat but not nearly enough to be called heavy. I know a good few rowers, my wife included, who have had DVTs (whilst still highly active in the sport) arising from circulation problems starting from clots in the calf muscles.

    The shoulders in fact also do a lot of work, as do the muscles in your back and all the "pulling" arm muscles: shoulders, biceps ...
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  • GT29GT29 Posts: 53
    rower63 wrote:
    The only work the calf muscles do is pull the boat back underneath you during the recovery, which is almost negligible work. On the rowing machine, the "pulling yourself forward" work is a little more than in-boat but not nearly enough to be called heavy.

    That is primarily the work of hip flexion or the anterior lower leg... The 'calves' at the back of the lower leg are not capable of dorsiflexion or knee flexion....
    rower63 wrote:
    The shoulders in fact also do a lot of work, as do the muscles in your back and all the "pulling" arm muscles: shoulders, biceps ...

    A lot of work is transferred through the shoulders, but actively contribute very little, unlike, skiing or kayaking, as the OP is seeking to train for.
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