Well, it has been a whole 3 months since I last purchased new toys for my home gym, and that clearly is far too long. Last month I finally snapped and got a piece of equipment that I have had my eye on for years - - a Water Rower.
Now regular readers of my blog will be saying to themselves "But Magniloquent, didn't you own a perfectly adequate magnetic rower years ago? Didn't you in fact sell your rowing machine to make room for the elliptical machine of awesomeness?". Yes, dear reader, I did in fact have a rowing machine.
But cast your mind back to the summer of 2012 when I last used that piece of equipment. I was about 120 pounds heavier than I am now, with all the attendant issues with mobility (bad back, bad knees, reduced mobility and flexibility) that come with being morbidly obese. Add in the fact that I was not the cardio machine that I am now (!) and you can see how that machine did not get the love that it perhaps deserved. I could barely get on and off the machine at all, and at my best I could only row for 2-3 minutes at a time before I simply had to stop. My back hurt and my knees hurt after using the machine for added negative reinforcement, just in case the shortness of breath and dizziness were not enough.
Rowing is an excellent all-over workout, working legs, arms and core. A rower will help make you fit, but ironically it helps to be at least somewhat fit before you row; at least that has been my experience. I had been mulling over the idea of picking up a Water Rower for some time, delayed for that magical time in the future when I was fit enough to see some benefits.
Well the time for rowing is now, gentle readers. So I took the plunge and picked up a Water Rower (or more accurately, had a Water Rower delivered). And holy moly does it give me a workout!
I am delighted at how much easier it is for me to row now that I have lost so much weight. My knees, although by no means pain-free or strong, do not hurt when I row (as they used to). I have no trouble getting down onto the rower, nor do I have any trouble getting up off the rower. I think I have Mr. Fitness and the work we have done on balance and flexibility to thank for this. And 15 minutes on the rower - about 5 times my previous personal best time - is only the beginning. I can certainly go longer - only boredom (I can't read on the rower like I can on the elliptical) - keeps me from staying on the rowing machine for an hour.
All in all, I am loving the new rowing machine. My only complaint is that because it is a water rower it is not so good if you have a full bladder - - listening to the gentle swoosh swoosh of the water will increase your need to pee beyond belief, turning a normal workout in the longest workout of all time.
The machine fits perfectly into my (increasingly crowded) workout room because it stands up out of the way when not in use. I have it next to the closet, between the elliptical and my barbell rack.
The pretty product photos on the manufacturer's website show the rower standing up out of the way with the seat facing out (so that the bottom of the machine is against the wall). This is not really practical because it requires that I completely rotate the machine before each use. Because I know myself and know exactly how lazy I am I simply stand it up in its natural orientation so that when I lower the machine it is immediately ready to use. This means that the bottom of the machine (the not-so-pretty side) is facing out when the machine is standing up, but I don't mind that given that I am the only person (other than the Nerd) who sees it.
I don't row every day, but when I do I get one hell of a workout. Love it.