How to Choose your Rower with the proper braking system

The rower or indoor rowing is one of the most complete fitness equipment and the most beneficial to health. Buying a rower is an excellent choice! But how to find the right model? In this folder, find our advice to understand the different types of devices, the criteria to take into account to choose your rowing machine and make the right purchase!

The rowers are equipped with a resistance that allows to adjust the intensity of the effort. The rower with double oars (Scandinavian or Latin) is generally equipped with a resistance with hydraulic piston. The center-pull rower, meanwhile, offers several types of braking, each with its advantages and disadvantages that we summarize in the table below with our suggestions. Some devices combine several systems, such as air and electromagnetic braking systems.

Hydraulic piston braking

hydraulic braking rower

This system consists of hydraulic cylinders attached to the handles or oars. The pulling movement causes pressure on the cylinders acting as a brake.

Interest: This system is very cheap and offers high levels of resistance. Lightweight, compact, it generally equips the Scandinavian rowers and is suitable for athletes training at high intensity. The movement is fluid and silent. Its small size can be an argument.

– Disadvantages: Hydraulic piston braking, by its design, allows only a linear movement. Used on double-rowed machines, it limits movement (hence guiding).

Magnetic braking (manual or motorized)

rower with magnetic braking

Magnetic braking consists of 2 magnets positioned around the flywheel. The resistance is modified by bringing the magnets closer to or away from the wheel. The adjustment is done either manually by a wheel or by a motor controlled from the console. There is no friction so no noise.

Interests: this system is cheap, quiet and fluid. The motorized system makes it possible to follow programs completely controlled by the console.

– Disadvantages: the manual adjustment does not allow the automatic control of the resistance by the console.

Electromagnetic braking

Similar to the magnetic braking system, it operates using an electromagnet (electric coil producing a magnetic field) whose intensity is adjustable from the console. There is no mechanical element since the magnetization force is electrically controlled. This system is therefore perfectly silent and reliable.

Interests: completely silent, reliable (no mechanical parts in movement), controllable by the console and therefore by the training programs. Does not require any maintenance. “Buy your Rowing machines for a home in 11 Best Rowing Machine in 2019 (Review guide) – Mippin

Air braking

This system aims to reproduce the resistance of water on the oars for an experience close to that of rowing, hence its use in many professional machines. It consists of fins set in motion by pulling the rudder and braked by the force of the air. The braking force depends on the speed of rotation of the fins, therefore the traction force. The more the user trains hard, the more the resistance increases. The level of resistance is therefore self-adjusting and potentially infinite. Resistance can also be modulated by adjusting the ventilation openings of the unit.

Interests: this system offers sensations close to those of rowing. It is very fluid, very realistic and the resistance is self-adjusting. It is widely used in gyms and appreciated by professionals. It’s a very good choice.

– Disadvantages: noisy (like a fan), ideal in sports halls, less at home. It requires a regular dedusting of the fins.

Water braking

This system is the one that comes closest to the natural rowing training conditions. It consists of 2 blades, such as paddles, placed in a container filled with water. The resistance is naturally self-regulating, ie proportional to the force applied by the user, just like on an oar. The basic resistance can also be adjusted by filling the water tank more or less. The sensations and lapping water give the impression of rowing outdoors.

Interests: this system offers sensations close to those of rowing. It is very fluid, very realistic and the resistance is self-adjusting.

– Disadvantages: it is more expensive than other systems.

Our advice

If your budget allows it, or if you want to experience the sensations of outdoor rowing, opt for a water braking system, very realistic, fluid, offering almost infinite resistance and sensations close to rowing. Benefits of rowing machine it’s a Great Calorie Burn.

You can fall back if not on the air brake system, widely used in gyms and professional devices but a little noisy.

For occasional to regular use, excellent fluidity and complete quietness at the noise level, the electromagnetic resistance system, even magnetic, is a very good alternative. Just make sure that the level of resistance is sufficient if you plan high intensity sessions.

Finally, if you are hesitant, there is, recently, a very good compromise combining the power of the air brake to the silence of the magnetic brake. You thus have the advantages of both solutions (high resistance of the air brake for the intense efforts and discretion of the magnetic brake for the efforts of moderate intensity).

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