Best Rowing Applications: Virtual rowing class providers
These days, connected rowing machines and other fitness equipment is all the rage. Many of the latest models of indoor rowers and other types of home fitness equipment can connect directly to live classes and even private trainers.
All you need is a rower and a strong, high speed internet connection, and you can basically connect to other users around the world. It has created a sense of community amongst those who use these machines, and is an added incentive to continue to workout. Here are a few of the most popular rowing applications for your indoor rower.
Table of Contents
One of the original online fitness companies, Peloton is a maker of super premium workout machines. They are famous for being one of the first brands to place a large monitor right on the machine that allows users to join into live classes with other users from around the world.
There is an exclusivity that comes with owning a Peloton, although the market is becoming crowded with smart fitness machines. Peloton charges a monthly subscription for its users which costs about $39.99 for users with a machine or $12.99 for users who just want to follow along from the website.
Peloton currently does not have a rowing machine, but it does provide several levels of treadmills and stationary bicycles. There are rumors of a Peloton rowing machine that could hit the market at some point in 2022.
Peloton Row incorporates the concept of “row levels” where users can select a specific setting that determines the required paces to achieve certain “pace intensities.” When an instructor calls out “moderate,” the meaning will vary depending on the row level chosen by each individual.
To adjust the intensity on a Peloton row machine or any other rowing machine connected to Peloton rowing app, you do not need to change any settings on the machine itself. Instead, you modify your effort during the drive to increase or decrease the intensity.
The pace is determined by the power in watts that you generate. While cadence (strokes per minute) is one factor that contributes to power, it is not the sole determinant. You can refer to the video from Concept2 on techniques to generate more power at the same cadence: [link provided].
It is possible to perform challenging or maximum efforts at a cadence as low as 18-20 strokes per minute, while rowing at a higher cadence of 30+ can still result in low to moderate effort.
Peloton Row has different row levels, and as an example, I am at level 5 in their system. Each level has specific pace ranges for different intensity levels: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Max. For instance, at level 5, the pace ranges for each intensity are as follows: Easy 2:40-2:10/500m, Moderate 2:10-2:00/500m, Challenging 2:00-1:50/500m, and Max 1:50-1:40/500m.
To provide clarity, Peloton defines the pace intensities as follows: Easy feels effortless, like a walk; Moderate is something you can sustain for a while, similar to a jog; Challenging should feel like a hard effort, comparable to a run; and Max represents a maximum effort, similar to a sprint.
Zwift is one of the more popular online platforms for training across a number of different types of workouts. It helps you connect with friends or even strangers, and allows you to train and compete with them in the virtual Zwift setting.
Zwift does offer rowing as one of its exercises that you can compete in as well as cycling which was the original reason behind Zwift’s creation. The company even has its own eSports segment, which allows e-races between cyclists on stationary bicycles. It is yet another part of the growing trend that features virtual and augmented realities, as well as competing in an alternate world or Metaverse.
Unlike many indoor cycling apps like Zwift that connect with almost every Bluetooth indoor bike, the iFit is a little picky on which machines can connect to the app. That means some fitness equipment except for NordicTrack RW900 rower and some other Nordictrack and Proform equipment don’t synch with this application and yours might be one of them.
So, I suggest you check with the guys at iFit and see if your specific spin bike can connect to their application. But if you don’t care about synching data to the app and only want to see and follow indoor rowing classes, this would be a good fit. Especially the Individual membership, it cost relatively and offers thousands of live and on-demand of indoor exercise classes.
Echelon gets a bad reputation of being a cheaper Peloton knock off. Well, in recent years, Echelon machines have certainly come a long way. Like Peloton, Echelon provides its users with a massive screen with which they can directly follow along with classes or training.
It offers many of the same features (which is why I mentioned that the connected fitness machine market is getting saturated), and really eliminates Peloton’s market edge. Unlike Peloton, Echelon does already have several models of connected rowers, which are available from sites like Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, WalMart, or the Echelon site.
This is an app that works primarily with the popular Concept 2 Rower model. While this isn’t as robust of an app as what comes on an Echelon or Peloton machine, the LiveRowing app does a good job of tracking your progress and daily workout.
There is an indirect competition with your peers or friends that also use Concept 2, and a leaderboard that helps track how you’re doing against the rest of the community. LiveRowing App comes with a free or a premium version, which obviously comes included with some added features and a monthly subscription price.
Row Forge is yet another app that works with the Concept 2 Rower, as well as other brands on the market. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices, and provides excellent workout suggestions for any connected fitness machine.
Given the name of the app, Row Forge specializes in workouts for rowing enthusiasts. There are specific workout programs for strength, conditioning, and even HIIT for those who are looking for that high intensity workout. Best of all, new users can try Row Forge for free for the first thirty days. If they wish to continue using the app after that there is a small monthly subscription fee.
The Hydrow app is used exclusively with the super premium Hydrow rower and is only made for iOS devices right now. The app provides hundreds of different workouts to use with your Hydrow rowing machine, with some that are even designed by Olympic rowers.
Like with Peloton, Hydrow does allow non-Hydrow users to use these training materials as well, with access only to the website. Both types of users will need to pay a subscription fee each month, but the quality of the Hydrow workout programs are like no other on the market.
You can stream the workouts in real-time right onto the large monitor that comes attached to the Hydrow rower, providing you with a realistic rowing experience in the comfort of your own home!
Can you use these rowing apps without a smart rowing machine?
Yes, you can still utilize these rowing apps even without a smart rowing machine. While you won’t be able to sync your progress directly, you can watch classes on the apps and adjust your workouts accordingly using the console on your own rowing machine. However, if you wish to sync your data with the applications, you will need a rowing machine equipped with Bluetooth technology to transmit the data.
Do these rowing apps support auto-resistance?
Yes, these rowing apps can support auto-resistance if your rowing machine is equipped with the necessary hardware and software. To enable auto-resistance adjustment, your rowing machine should have electronic magnetic resistance capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing seamless integration with these indoor rowing apps.
Which rowing machines are compatible with auto-resistance?
Smart electronic magnetic rowing machines like Nordictrack, Peloton rower, Echelon rower, and Hydrow rower have the capability for automatic resistance adjustment. However, traditional rowing machines like Concept2 rowers, WaterRower rowers, and other air and water resistance rowers lack the hardware required for auto resistance functionality.
When it comes to virtual rowing class providers, there are several top-notch applications available. Peloton, Zwift, iFit, Echelon, LiveRowing App, Row Forge, and Hydrow App offer exceptional experiences for individuals looking to engage in online rowing workouts. Each application brings its unique features, coaching styles, and training programs to cater to different preferences and fitness goals. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rower, these indoor rowing applications provide a convenient and immersive way to improve your rowing technique, increase your fitness level, and stay motivated. Explore these options and discover the perfect virtual rowing class provider that suits your needs and helps you achieve your fitness goals effectively.