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For the past month I’ve been trying out a futuristic and rather stylish new rowing machine called the Hydrow rower.
They say the 22-inch immersive screen and patented magnetic drag system will make it feel like you’re rowing through water.
And the fun, and immersive workouts will help you get in the best shape of your life.
Rowing does work over 86% of your body after all.
But is it as good as it’s been hyped up to be and is it worth the hefty price tag?
Carry on reading my Hydrow rower review to find out!
Hydrow is a company founded by Bruce Smith, a former US national rowing team coach who set out to create a rowing machine that feels as close to real rowing as possible.
The company’s flagship product is a premium indoor rowing machine called the Hydrow rower:
They say it offers an immersive life-like experience like real rowing.
With an all-access membership, the Hydrow rower lets you choose from 3,000+ live and on-demand workouts.
Instead of using a chain or fan-wheel it uses a patented computer-controlled electromagnetic “drag system”.
This new system makes pulling feel much smoother as if you’re rowing through water.
The Hydrow also comes with a webbed strap rather than a chain, so each stroke is much quieter too.
And the 12-roller seat glides back and forth, smoothly, and quietly and provides maximum comfort and support.
A major part of buying a Hydrow rower is the membership program, so let’s take a closer look at what’s on offer.
Will the Hydrow rower work without the membership program?
Yes, but only in the limited “Just Row” mode it still requires power and an internet connection.
That’s why the company expects that most users will shell out the $38 monthly fee and become paid members of the All-Access program:
After creating a profile (you can create unlimited profiles for family members) you can dive in and start rowing along to various instructor-led workouts and challenges.
Here’s an in-depth look at what you get with the Hydrow all-access membership:
The most popular feature is undoubtedly the live daily workouts.
You can join Hydrow athletes and instructors as they are filmed on-location around the world giving engaging workouts and motivating you every step of the way.
Besides live workouts, there are also over 3,000 pre-recorded rowing-based workouts that cover everything from strength and conditioning to yoga and Pilates.
For some workouts you may need extras like a yoga mat, yoga blocks, and resistance bands which are all sold separately.
Hydrow’s on-demand content takes a ‘show-up-and-sweat’ approach to rowing.
You simply choose whichever workout takes your fancy and start having fun.
You can sort workouts by:
And each workout even has a sweat rating, so you know what you’re in for!
The Hydrow membership also brings a strong social element to rowing as your profile will record, track, and display your rowing achievements.
You can also work your way up the leaderboard when your complete races or participate in classes or events.
And you can interact with the community, join races, create your own, or challenge your friends to different courses.
All the above features are available on the Hydrow app, so you can stay connected, and track your progress on your mobile device.
If you want 1 on 1 support and guidance you can pay extra for Hydrow personal coaching sessions.
These sessions, delivered online via the screen, maximize your motivation, and improve the quality of your workouts.
I think this is quite exciting and provides something completely new to the home workout space.
Despite its lofty price tag, the Hydrow rower is very popular, and customers seem to love it.
Hydrow has racked up over 8,570 reviews on Trustpilot and over 84% of the reviewers said the rower was “Excellent”.
Like Gina, who loves that she can get a good workout done from in her own home. She says the instructors are easy to follow, the scenery is beautiful, and it all makes the time go quicker.
And Laurie loves her new Hydrow! She says the workouts are interactive, engaging, and fun!
The Hydrow rower isn’t cheap but after reading all the positive reviews I decided to take the plunge and order one for myself.
I was a little hesitant about spending so much money on home fitness equipment but after seeing that it comes with a 30-day risk-free trial, I decided to go for it.
Plus, I really like working out at home as it means no travelling to the gym, yay!
Let’s talk about cost:
The price of $1,995 includes only the Hydrow rower.
The other packages on offer are:
None of the packages include the upright storage kit so you’ll need to spend another $80 if you want to save space and store your Hydrow vertically when not in use.
On top of this, you’ll also need to spend $456 for a 1-year membership subscription unless you plan on using the Hydrow in the limited “Just Row” mode.
I went for the basic package, so I got a rower and a mat plus the 1-year all-access membership, so my total spend was $2,516.
There are two delivery options for the Hydrow. Standard shipping and In-home delivery.
Standard shipping, which is where the Hydrow is delivered in a box like a regular package, is included in the price.
However, In-home shipping (where the Hydrow is delivered, unpacked, and set up for you) costs extra.
I didn’t think I’d need any help unpacking so I opted for standard shipping and my Hydrow took just over 2 weeks to arrive.
I found the Hydrow rower easy to unpack by myself, connect to the internet, and set-up.
The Hydrow rower has a very stylish design and makes a beautiful addition to any home gym.
The handle has a nice matt finish and the seat glides smoothly, and quietly.
And the foot straps make your feet feel snug and are easy to get your feet in and out of.
The Hydrow’s screen has a premium look and feel but has a limited range of movement, which can make it difficult to see if you are following a yoga or Pilates workout from the floor and have limited space available.
The main selling point of the Hydrow is that it offers a realistic rowing experience.
As someone who has rowed on real water a lot in the past, I think this is as close to real rowing as you’re going to get from a machine.
It has the smooth pull to it that feels like real water, unlike other rowers that you must yank.
Overall, I’m super impressed with the feel of it and find that the smooth glide encourages you to use your full body and legs more unlike old rowers that require you to yank and work your back more.
The home screen is clearly laid out and easy to navigate.
It’s almost like a Netflix for rowing.
From the “Library” you can view and sort all the Hydrow on-demand classes.
I like that you can filter the workouts by:
There’s also a “Racing” page where you can choose at least one other person to compete against and try to log your best times.
Racing adds a competitive feel to the Hydrow and lets you join the weekly leaderboard and will also contribute to your stats page.
I’m competitive by nature and loved competing against others and seeing where I ranked on the scoreboard.
Trying to rank in the top 5% in each class was incredibly fun and really pushed me to row harder!
For me, one of the best aspects of using Hydrow was joining the live daily classes.
Hydrow uses professional camera crews to capture instructors rowing live and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
While the live classes don’t match the feeling of being out on the water, I found them incredibly immersive and got a real sense of participation, almost like I was in the boat with the instructor.
The only downside of the live classes is that they only happen once or twice per day so you’re not always around to do them.
But that’s fine because there’s thousands of on-demand classes you can jump into instead.
After using the Hydrow rower for a month, I’m hooked!
For the first time in a long time, I look forward to working out and am getting fitter and fitter every day.
Here’s a few reasons why I love my Hydrow rower:
Ok, so that’s more than just “a few” reasons why I love the Hydrow rower and would recommend one if you’re considering it.
And to top it off, I’ve lost almost 7lbs this month just rowing and have had a few people tell me I’m looking slimmer.
The Hydrow rower comes with a 1-year warranty (5 years for the structural frame) and a 30-day risk free trial.
So, if you’re thinking of buying a Hydrow rower you can buy one, try it for a few weeks and if you don’t like it just send it back.
I’m keeping mine because I love it!