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Of All the Rowing Machines, the Concept2 Rower Is the Best

It’s one of the best-known secrets that the Concept2 Rowing Machine Is the best home rowing machine, as well as the best ergometer indoor rowing machine most recommended by rowing coaches, personal fitness trainers, and athletes.

Concept2 RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine - PM5 Monitor, Device Holder, Adjustable Air Resistance, Easy Storage
12,524 Reviews
Concept2 RowErg Indoor Rowing Machine - PM5 Monitor, Device Holder, Adjustable Air Resistance, Easy Storage
  • Integrated Device Holder allows you to keep your Smart Phone or Tablet securely in place. Compatible with over 40+ apps.
  • 14-inch seat height fits most uses. Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
  • Indoor rowing is an effective full-body and low-impact workout; flywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel
  • Includes the Performance Monitor 5, giving you accurate, comparable data for every row. Bluetooth and ANT+ functionality to connect wirelessly to apps and heart rate monitors.
  • Easily separates into two pieces for storage. Caster wheels make it mobile. Construction: Aluminum front legs and steel rear legs.

Last update on 2024-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why I Like to Workout on a Rowing Machine

I have been interested in rowing because I figure it might help keep my knee in decent shape. Since I have had two cartilage and meniscus operations and one motorcycle plowing into the same knee while riding my bicycle, the last thing I want is to have to get a knee replacement. If you have knee issues, you should also consider one for your exercise.

normal vs torn meniscus

Interior of the knee, normal vs torn meniscus

I have other issues, too. Since I am over 65, I want to keep my weight down and to make sure my calories burned are less than or equal to calories I eat. I want to prevent my muscles from getting weaker. As we age, our muscle mass tends to fall, partly due to age and partly because most seniors are less active and more sedentary. The less you workout, the more likely you’ll gain weight…and every extra pound of weight is hard on your knees.

So the low impact body workout of cardiovascular exercise and muscle conditioning make an at-home indoor rowing machine a convenient option. Lose weight – get strong – keep your heart and circulation healthy – what’s not to like?

Before actually buying an indoor rowing machine, I wanted to try one out first. The fact is, rowing machines cost anywhere from a hundred bucks to several thousand dollars. So when you are looking for a good rower, how do you know what’s good and what’s not?

The Basics: The Main Types of Resistance Rowing Machines

The Model d Indoor Rowing Machine makes use of air resistance. However, there are several other kinds of resistance rowing machines. These use:

However, none of these indoor rowing machines has the performance record of the rowing machine that the Concept2 model has. The Murtisol is a budget rowing machine, as is the magnetic resistance sunny health fitness sf-rw5515.

The WaterRower is a water rowing machine, seen on the TV show House of Cards, and costs more than the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine. Magnetic resistance does work, but it has a different feel from the air rower, which athletes seem to prefer.

Plus, the Sunny Health and Fitness, while a budget machine, appears to be less reliable than the Concept 2.

A Fitness Professional Demonstrates the Concept 2 Rower

With that in mind, I asked fitness professional physical fitness and personal trainer, Eric Anderson, tried it out myself and asked him to demonstrate it in person. You can see the complete ‘unedited’ straight to the point interview, which demonstrates the Concept2 Model D right here.


Is the Concept2 Model D Really the Top Selling Rowing Machine in the World?

The answer, yes, the Concept2 Model D really is the top-selling rowing machine in the world. Of all the dozens of rowing machines that are available, why does the Concept2 enjoy such an excellent reputation? It’s the machine the Olympic stars prefer. rowing athletes

I am a researcher. I use various tools that most people don’t have access to, although they’re available and usable, taking in to account their cost and the time needed to learn how to use them. Plus, I have a personal commitment to living a long and healthy life. That is what attracted me to the Concept2 Model D.

What Are the Key Factors in the Great Reputation of the Concept2 Rowing Machine

Several key factors are contributing to the Concept 2 Model D being the World’s Top-Selling Rowing Machine. What does it mean to be the best rowing machine, as well as the most popular? [2]

A simple internet search shows this machine mentioned consistently. In fact, “USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committees…..USRowing’s official suppliers include Concept 2…”[3]

Long and Reliable History

Concept 2 Headquarters

Concept2 Company Headquarters

  • 40 old Vermont, USA company–Has updated its model rowing machine several times
  • Used both in-home gyms as well as boathouses and professional training centers
  • Endorsed by the 2016 US Olympic Team
    • Extremely durable–stands up to demanding use by professionals worldwide
  • People of all ages and fitness levels can use it safely
  • Numerous features that appeal to the beginning user and professionals alike

Computerized Performance Monitor to Track Your Rowing Machine Workout

Concept2 Performance Monitor

  • Tracks your strokes per minute–measures your progress
  • The backlit LCD is easy to look at
  • Wireless Bluetooth capability to monitor your heart rate and use with other apps
  • You can play games with it to keep you engaged, or simply use it as a form of meditation
  • Can save your workouts on a USB drive for further tracking

Choose Your Level of Workout

  • 10 Level Adjustable Resistance Flywheel–Adjusts to Your Fitness Goals
  • Very Quiet as You Simulate Rowing Strokes
  • The Machine Rows Very Smoothly, Just Like You Feel in a Boat!
  • Has an Ergonomic Handle

Super Convenient Features for Indoor Use

  • Easy Assembly – uses only eight screws
  • Easy to Move – Has caster wheel, so it rolls
  • Easy Storage – Separates without need for tools
  • Takes up Little Storage Space – 2 feet, 1-inch x 2 feet, 9 inches x 4 feet, 6 inches
  • Takes up little workout space

Helps You Stay Focused

stay focused note

  • Can Store Your Workouts on your smartphone
  • Features Many Online apps
  • Daily Email Workout Ideas Available
  • Compare yourself to other users to keep you motivated

High Customer Satisfaction

One review I found particularly compelling since I have knee issues. And my guess is that you do too if you’re at the For-Knees website. The guy was a marathon runner, who apparently burned out his knees and now needs a low impact way to stay in shape, instead of miles of knee pounding on the pavement.

Here is his review, which you can click on to see for yourself: This Machine May Save My Life

How to Use the Concept 2 Rower

When using the indoor rower, simply sit in the seat and adjust the lever on the flywheel. Your training consists of 1 to 10 resistance levels. You can then use the pm5 Performance monitor to decide:

  1. Length of time for your workout
  2. Simulated distance
  3. You can choose intervals of time to row and rest
  4. You can choose to play games that take your mind off the activity itself, such as ‘the fish eating the fish game,’ which many people enjoy

The best home rowing machine, the Concept 2 Model D Rower: finger pointing at the tracking screen

What I Personally Like about the Concept2 Model

Since I have had a history of knee problems, I am quite careful with my exercise routine. On the one hand, if I don’t exercise enough, my knee starts acting up, and if I exercise too hard and put too much stress on the knee, it can also create residual pain.

Man with knee pain

Man suffering from knee pain

With the Concept 2 Model D flywheel mechanism, the user can easily set the resistance level.

The Concept2 Model is great for strength training in your home gym. It can take the place of:

  • Treadmills
  • An exercise bike
  • Ellipticals

The other thing I like about it is that it is meditative. As a kid, I used to row a boat at summer camp. When I use the rowing machine, I can close my eyes, coordinate my breathing with the action of pulling and releasing, and imagine myself on a tranquil lake. Rowing is a way to create a peaceful space in life, drop the hectic cares we deal with, and JUST ROW. Simple.

Of course, some people like to listen to music or maybe even an audiobook, which is fine, too. In my own case, I am a firm believer in silence. The world is noisy enough, and we have flooded with information enough already.

Get seated, set the time and/or distance, and off we go….no news, no distractions, just breathing in and breathing out, feel our heart and muscles respond. When you think about it, that is REAL LIFE. What is simpler than using our body and breathing rhythmically?

Is the Concept2 Worth Its Higher Price?

For some people, the $1300+ price tag may be a little expensive. However, you could always finance it by, for example, paying with PayPal over several months with little or no interest due. Needless to say, you could buy a cheaper rower, and there are some pretty good ones out there; however, they may not be as durable and trouble-free as the Concept 2. Plus, the manufacturer has an excellent reputation for taking care of its customers, should the need arise.

The other alternative is to get a gym membership. These memberships vary in price and quality tremendously. And there are some excellent gyms and membership programs, should you choose that route. However, your yearly gym membership fee will probably cost the same as the Concept2 Model, which lasts for years!

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To sum up, here are its advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of the Concept 2 Rower

  1. Easy to use – Just hop on and with very little instruction, you’re ready to go
  2. Comfortable – Just sit in the contoured seat, pull on the handlebars, push back with your feet
  3. Versatile – You can adjust the electronic controls for distance, time, even play games to entertain yourself as you work out
  4. Adjustable – A separate lever allows you to adjust the level of strength needed to pull back
  5. Durable – In even a professional setting with multiple users, the rower Concept 2 needs little or no maintenance
  6. Safe – It is almost impossible to injure yourself because it is low impact, and easy on your joints
  7. Easy to Assemble
  8. Provides a good range of motion
  9. Noise level is reasonable (not too noisy)
  10. Ergonomic Handle
  11. The machine comes in two colors, the black or light gray model


Disadvantages of the Concept2 Model D

  1. The LCD Monitor, which determines the type of exercise you choose, requires a once a year battery change
  2. It doesn’t have a padded seat. Some people complain that the seat is a little hard when using it for longer sessions. Using a foam pad, however, should take care of that issue, should it arise.
  3. In the case of knees, while it does encourage circulation and knee health, it also minimizes impacts on the joints, unlike jumping or going downhill. However, if your knees can’t withstand impacts, that is positive
  4. The price of the Concept2 Model D may be high for some people, although it does have a five-month payment plan

Gym Membership vs. Home Exercise

Gym membership

Gym Membership

If you are looking for resistance training, you can certainly sign up for a gym membership. Prices vary widely from about $29/month to well over $100 per month, depending on where you live. Plus, if you don’t know what you’re doing, paying a personal trainer can cost up to $50 per session or more. In addition, it takes precious time to get the gym, change, do the workout, shower, and return home. This results in many gym memberships going to waste, as high as 67%!

So if you can create a space in your schedule right at home, it is not only more time-efficient but in the long run, it is a lot less expensive than a gym membership.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Model D and E?

The difference between the two machines is that the Model E has a higher seat. That makes it easier if you have mobility issues and find it hard to get up or sit down in the lower seat.

What is the difference between the Concept2 Model C and Model D Rower?

The Concept2 Model C is older and has a lifetime of around 1.6 million meters. The other more significant differences between the two rowers is the price, the seat height, and the monitor arm. The price on the Model D may also be lower.

How much does it weigh?

Model D weighs 57 pounds. Model E weighs 65 pounds.

How much weight can it bear?

It can carry someone weighing up to 500 pounds

Does the machine fold up?

Yes, it folds for easy storage

How does resistance work?

The resistance works by the adjustable flywheel, which the user can set to 10 levels

Why choose Concept2 indoor rowers?

If you are looking for an effective full body workout that will exercise every major muscle group, then an indoor rower is definitely a great choice. It can help tone your upper and lower body and can promote greater joint health through the wide range of motion that rowing requires. Concept2 is a well-known and reputable brand that delivers high-quality equipment you can count on for the home.

Rowing machine versus elliptical – which is better?

The rowing machine can actually burn more calories per hour than the elliptical can. For example, the rowing machine can burn around 800 calories while the elliptical may only burn around 700 calories. If you have limited flexibility or mobility, the rower is also the better choice.

Why is the Concept2 the rower of choice for CrossFit?

The superior design of the Concept2 makes it the rower of choice for CrossFit. The design is actually one of the more popular elements of these rowers because they are designed and built to last even when they are constantly in use. It will not break down or wear down like other rowers do.

How long will a Concept2 Rower last?

The longevity of these rowers are rated very highly. The lifetime mileage on Concept 2 machines is in the tens of millions. So, if you were to row 5k at least three times per week and you did this consistently for up to a year, you would reach approximately 780,000 meters. Repeat this for ten years and you are still well within this rower’s capacity which speaks volumes to its longevity.

What is the best type of resistance for a rowing machine?

Levels five and higher are going to be a more intense and longer cardio-building rowing session. Level 8 offers the greatest resistance and provides you with a more challenging workout.


Rowing, whether indoor or outside, is a great overall body workout for both resistance, strength, and cardiovascular training. There are many rowing machines available.

However, 40 years of excellence, plus the endorsement of numerous coaches and athletic organizations suggest that the Concept2 Model D, or its cousins, the Concept2 Model E Rower if you need a higher seat due to flexibility or mobility issues.


Video: Eric Anderson, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist,
Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson, Personal Trainer

Credentials: NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Social Media Links: website: www.moobaafts.com instagram: moobaastrongmangym facebook: Moo Baa FTS