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astrojohn
 
rowing machines?

I've been trying to find a good deal on a rowing machine for the past couple months, I don't understand why no brick and mortor stores carry any rowers at all. Why are they not more popular? It's great low impact cardio that's working all your major muscle groups without dishing out abuse to the joints....

Naturally I've been looking for a Concept 2 Model C or D, but they're tough to find and I live in a pretty large urban area (bay area). I really didn't want to spend more than $300 on a new/used rower. I missed a couple Concept 2's in December for around $350, but nothing else has turned up.

My biggest requirement is to find one that's quiet, I'll be using this in my apartment so I don't want to bug the neighbors if I'm using it before work or late at night.

We had an old piston rower at my house when I lived there, nobody ever used it and it was more or less junk - but air/mag rowers seem a lot better. Does anyone have a piston rower they can recommend? I honestly don't know much about them, so if someone had some experience to shed share, I'd appreciate it.

why no love for the rowers? everyone seems more into treadmills and running, personally I'd rather save my knees from the abuse. I found that cycling used to work best for maintaining target heart rates, and I used to use my bike on an indoor trainer, but unfortunately it got busted in shipping so I was looking to try something new...
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:51 PM astrojohn is offline  
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LegendNH
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They are very bad on the back (especially the lower back) and the knees.

If you are so concerned about saving your joints, go swimming instead.
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:02 PM LegendNH is offline  
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They have their place, sure. Like anything though, unless you are a rower, they only serve for part of a workout regime and whereas leg endurance is awesome for nearly everyone, not many people care a whole lot about upper body endurance outside of specific sports and activities. They are great for shoulder rehab I have found though.

As an individual exercise for cardio, they are not as awesome as you seem to think. None of the professional trainers I have come across recommend even whole single sessions revolving around rowing machines, never more than 10 minute or so sessions as part of a cardio circuit. There may be reasons for that other than the obvious.
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:07 PM vinnie is offline  
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astrojohn
 
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They have their place, sure. Like anything though, unless you are a rower, they only serve for part of a workout regime and whereas leg endurance is awesome for nearly everyone, not many people care a whole lot about upper body endurance outside of specific sports and activities. They are great for shoulder rehab I have found though.

As an individual exercise for cardio, they are not as awesome as you seem to think. None of the professional trainers I have come across recommend even whole single sessions revolving around rowing machines, never more than 10 minute or so sessions as part of a cardio circuit. There may be reasons for that other than the obvious.

hmm....maybe I'll just get a new bike then and throw it back on the indoor trainer because it worked insanely well for me when I was doing HIIT. To be honest, I just really wanted to find something as effective as the bike because I want to wrap up my cut before the summer is here and I only have about 10lbs to drop to be very happy.

Outdoor cycling didn't give the same chance as I had indoor to be very exact w/ heart rate targets. The concept 2's hodl their value well enough that I'm going to try and snag one locally, then just dump it if I'm not happy.
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:29 PM astrojohn is offline  
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LegalMaven
 
If you have good form, then a rowing machine is not bad for your back. But form is important, as is keeping the damper at a reasonable level (drag factor ~100, which is usually a damper of 4 or 5). You'll actually strengthen your back if you row well, although you very seldom see good form on the erg (what rowers call rowing machines).

As far as knees, I'm actually unsure about that. I've had some patellar problems (a dislocation and subsequent instability). While I got hurt playing basketball, I think that all the erging I've done loosened the tendons and made the injury more likely. On the other hand, I do have a bit of a family history of patellar dislocation, so that may be the cause. I've never heard of anyone else with knee problems from rowing, and I didn't notice issues in the 100K meters I rowed before hurting my knee. The upshot is that you're probably not going to run into any issues in non-competitive erg use.

Personally, even though my competitive rowing days are behind me, I still like to erg because I find that there are very, very few cardio exercises that allow me to achieve and keep as high a heart rate for as long. Rowing is very, very hard, especially if you're not experienced. Erging is pretty much unparalleled for interval training, in my opinion, provided you go hard enough. That's actually most of the problem I see when people use the erg: they just don't push it. On a Concept2, a reasonably-fit 150lb man should be able to keep a 2:00 500m split for 2000m, but most people I see tend to hover around 2:20-2:30, which is a slow recovery pace.

If you get an erg (which I recommend), definitely get a Concept2. There's no substitute. The fancy monitor on the Model D is nice, especially the pace boat feature (which lets you "race" against a set pace) and some of the stroke analysis charts. There's also a cheesy little game on the newer ones that might help you do intervals. But the Model C served the rowing community just fine for a decade, and it's more than adequate.

If you want erg exercises, just post! There are a couple of people here with competitive experience and we've all suffered through a litany of great erg workouts.
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:53 PM LegalMaven is offline  
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astrojohn
 
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Originally Posted by LegalMaven View Post
If you have good form, then a rowing machine is not bad for your back. But form is important, as is keeping the damper at a reasonable level (drag factor ~100, which is usually a damper of 4 or 5). You'll actually strengthen your back if you row well, although you very seldom see good form on the erg (what rowers call rowing machines).

As far as knees, I'm actually unsure about that. I've had some patellar problems (a dislocation and subsequent instability). While I got hurt playing basketball, I think that all the erging I've done loosened the tendons and made the injury more likely. On the other hand, I do have a bit of a family history of patellar dislocation, so that may be the cause. I've never heard of anyone else with knee problems from rowing, and I didn't notice issues in the 100K meters I rowed before hurting my knee. The upshot is that you're probably not going to run into any issues in non-competitive erg use.

Personally, even though my competitive rowing days are behind me, I still like to erg because I find that there are very, very few cardio exercises that allow me to achieve and keep as high a heart rate for as long. Rowing is very, very hard, especially if you're not experienced. Erging is pretty much unparalleled for interval training, in my opinion, provided you go hard enough. That's actually most of the problem I see when people use the erg: they just don't push it. On a Concept2, a reasonably-fit 150lb man should be able to keep a 2:00 500m split for 2000m, but most people I see tend to hover around 2:20-2:30, which is a slow recovery pace.

If you get an erg (which I recommend), definitely get a Concept2. There's no substitute. The fancy monitor on the Model D is nice, especially the pace boat feature (which lets you "race" against a set pace) and some of the stroke analysis charts. There's also a cheesy little game on the newer ones that might help you do intervals. But the Model C served the rowing community just fine for a decade, and it's more than adequate.

If you want erg exercises, just post! There are a couple of people here with competitive experience and we've all suffered through a litany of great erg workouts.

That's actually why I really loved my bike on the indoor trainer, I got great HIIT success because the heart rate targeting was very very easy. Also, with indoor training I can give 110%, where as outside I'm stuck w/ a lot of other factors (returning back home, varying road conditions, other variables that make it tricky). I don't think I'll have any trouble pushing myself very very hard rowing. What's the noise level like on the model C? I'm talking to a guy on CL who's selling one w/ 30k for $675 and I could probably talk him down a bit more if I really push. I mean the resale value/demand on these guys is crazy enough that I don't mind tying up my money in it.

The computer isn't a very big deal for me in the begining, I use a Garmin heart rate monitor now that lets me dump my stats on the pc for trend following, which is my biggest concern. Plus, Concept 2 lets you buy all that from them and add it as need be, right?
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Last edited by astrojohn; 02-23-2008 at 10:38 PM..
Old 02-23-2008, 10:33 PM astrojohn is offline  
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LegalMaven
 
30k meters is nothing, especially for the C. That's practically brand new.

The Model C and the Model D basically make the same amount of noise. It's noticable, but it's no more than a stationary bike, an eilliptical or a treadmill. And it's all white noise, so it's highly unlikely to bother people. I've never had anyone complain.

I believe you can get the PM3+ monitor from Concept2 to upgrade the C.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:01 PM LegalMaven is offline  
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el_diablo007
 
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30k meters is nothing, especially for the C. That's practically brand new.

The Model C and the Model D basically make the same amount of noise. It's noticable, but it's no more than a stationary bike, an eilliptical or a treadmill. And it's all white noise, so it's highly unlikely to bother people. I've never had anyone complain.

I believe you can get the PM3+ monitor from Concept2 to upgrade the C.
lol 30k is under 2 hours of use for most competitive rowers. The noise diff. between the C and D is pretty big though, I find the D to be m uch quieter. I also like the fact that the handle isn't so short on the D.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:28 AM el_diablo007 is offline  
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LegalMaven
 
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lol 30k is under 2 hours of use for most competitive rowers. The noise diff. between the C and D is pretty big though, I find the D to be m uch quieter. I also like the fact that the handle isn't so short on the D.

I've always felt that the C was faster and had a little better feel than the D. I also like the rougher handle covering, but that's all incredibly minor. I haven't noticed any noise difference, although I've never used them side-by-side.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:17 PM LegalMaven is offline  
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astrojohn
 
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I've always felt that the C was faster and had a little better feel than the D. I also like the rougher handle covering, but that's all incredibly minor. I haven't noticed any noise difference, although I've never used them side-by-side.

Well I found the guy who's selling the C w/ 30k on it for $675, I can talk him down most likely to about $640 I'd hope. There's also a guy selling a model D near my parents place for $650, it can be shipped out here for free (long story, but shipping isn't an issue).

Should I just opt for the D since they're both the same price? Any advantage to the C? Greater availability of parts or anything?
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:23 PM astrojohn is offline  
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el_diablo007
 
As far as functionality, the major difference between the C and D is just the monitor, having extras like a paceboat, stroke analysis, and other stuff. If you're just using it to track split times, calories burned, distance travelled, time spent, the C will do the job just as well. Both machines row about the same, the D a tiny bit smoother, but not significantly so.

In a nutshell, the D offers some extra computerized workout features, but is the same in workout effectiveness. These things very rarely break down...so I wouldn't worry too much about parts. Save the cash and get the C if it's a little cheaper.
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:39 PM el_diablo007 is offline  
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LegalMaven
 
I would go for the C unless you're enamored with the techy features of the D. I have never seen a broken C, even though some of the ones I've used were ten years old or more. I have seen more than a few Ds that have worn out, although then only through institutional level abuse. Just get whichever is easiest. If you'll feel deprived with the C's monitor, then go with the D.
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Old 02-24-2008, 09:43 PM LegalMaven is offline  
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