If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
It’s early, the sun’s about to come up over the water in London, and you’re about to crush your first rowing workout of the week. The coolest part? You never even had to leave your apartment to do it.
That’s the idea behind the Hydrow, a connected indoor rowing machine that lets you stream live and on-demand workouts from home. But how does it stack up to other exercise machines, and does it really deserve a spot in your home gym?
Here’s why it’s the coolest indoor rowing machine for new and experienced rowers alike — and one of the best overall pieces of fitness equipment for your health.
What Exactly Is the Hydrow?
Founded in 2018, the Hydrow is a connected rowing machine that works your entire body with real-life personal training, a space-saving design, and thousands of fun, immersive workouts that everyone will actually want to do.
But why should you row in the first place, and how is it any different from other cardio workouts? In short, rowing is one of the best full-body workouts you can do that targets your core, legs, and even your glutes all at the same time.
Hydrow says that rowing can “engage 86% of major muscle groups,” which the company explains is about twice as much as you’d get from, say, hopping on a bike or going on a run through your neighborhood. At first, that might not seem like that big of a deal — exercising is exercising, right? But indoor rowers like the Hydrow give you a low-impact form of cardio that’s powerful, easier on your body, and a hell of a lot more efficient to do every day, especially if you’re short on time or don’t want to leave your home.
Now let’s break down just a few of the other reasons the Hydrow deserves to become your new go-to fitness machine — and why it’s the smartest indoor rower in years.
It Can Fit in Any Home Gym (or Your Living Room, too)
If you have space to stretch out on the floor, you’ll have enough space for the Hydrow. The days of not having enough square footage in your home or apartment to use your rowing machine are long gone. That’s because Hydrow made sure its machine could be stored away when you’re not rowing. Here’s how it works.
On its own, the Hydrow measures 86 x 25 x 47 inches. But using the company’s upright storage kit, anyone can store the rower in an upright position against a wall using the wall mount and strap. It’s a storage solution that few other rowers (or other gym gear) can offer, saving you a ton of space in your home gym and freeing up room so you can finish out your full-body workout strong without running into any equipment.
Once you’ve installed the wall mount, you can fold the monitor forward into the rower, and tip the Hydrow upright on its front legs when you want to stow it away until your next workout.
It Feels — and Looks — Like You’re Actually on the Water
The Hydrow does something that conventional machines miss: Hydrow actually makes working out fun and puts you in the middle of the rowing action with a more lifelike workout experience. That’s thanks in part to its sleek-and-smooth performance that makes it feel like you’re rowing on water, plus its 22-inch HD touchscreen monitor display.
Once you’re situated in the seat of the Hydrow rower and your feet are secured, you can start rowing from locations all across the globe through one of the thousands of on-demand classes, from destinations like Miami, London, and Scotland. So even if you’re just in your living room, your Hydrow can take you all over the world in an instant. It’s like a personal tour guide and personal trainer all in one package.
Even though Hydrow immerses you in your rowing experience with its adjustable touchscreen, the virtual view isn’t the only noteworthy feature here. Hydrow sets itself apart from the competition even more with the monitor’s built-in speakers that pump out audio directly towards you. In other words, even when you’re rowing your hardest, you can hear everything in your workout crystal clear. Plus, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, you can connect your favorite workout earbuds to the Hydrow too.
An Easy-to-Use App With a Ton of Fun Workouts
Once you’re settled with the Hydrow, you’ll never run out of new workout routines to do. That’s because Hydrow members can access over 3,000 different on-demand classes — including live rowing sessions taught by expert trainers who know how to help you row like a pro. But just because this is a rowing machine doesn’t mean that the Hydrow stops there; in fact, there’s a workout for everyone through Hydrow’s platform, from Pilates classes to yoga and strength routines, too.
You’ll Get One-on-One Rowing Tips From a Pro
Even if you’ve rowed before or used a rowing machine at the gym, getting familiar with how to get the most of your personal rower can take some time. That’s why Hydrow also offers one-on-one personal training session packages with the machine itself. When you choose any of the current five Hydrow packages online, you’ll also get a free 1:1 Personal Coaching session with your machine — a $79 value.
Your coach will be able to help you navigate the virtual waters of your rower, make sure your form is correct, along with help answer any questions you might have as you get used to the new rowing machine. The live sessions take place virtually, so you’re getting real personal training all while staying in your own home gym. All you’ll need to do is sign up for Hydrow’s All-Access Membership to get your training session.