Hydrow Review: This is What We Thought of the Rowing Workout That’s Peloton’s Newest Competitor

Living a healthy and active lifestyle can be more challenging than one might think. Carving out space in your day to get to the gym or a fitness class can be next to impossible depending on your schedule. Gym memberships can also prove to be incredibly costly, and while some of us live in climates where the weather is temperate year-round, the rest of us must deal with extreme stretches of heat or cold that can certainly limit running or exercising outside. Fortunately, Hydrow by CREW eliminates all of our long-held excuses.

Founded by U.S. National Rowing Coach and entrepreneur Bruce Smith, the Hydrow outdoor reality rowing machine provides a total body workout for all exercise levels while giving users a stunning interactive experience that involves live broadcasts from the water.

Man rowing on Hydro

Man rowing on Hydrow | Hydrow

How is Hydrow different from Peloton?

Currently, spin classes and spin-bikes are all the rage. Cardio lovers can’t seem to get enough of the Peloton Spin bike experience. However, Hydrow gives a much more inclusive total body workout than any spin bike ever could. The slick machine uses 86% of the body’s muscles while strengthening bone density, reducing joint stress, and improving overall workout performance. With biking and running you only tap into 44% of your body’s muscles.

If you’re a fan of, Cross Fit, running, or HIIT workouts, then you know how straining those workouts can be on your knees and other joints. Thankfully, the Hydrow won’t leave you at the mercy of ice packs and bath salts because there is no added stress on your body. The machine’s seat is comfy and plush, and it won’t leave your glutes screaming for relief. It also holds up to 300lbs and fits up to a 36″ inseam which essentially means it fits almost anyone.

A tranquil experience

Working out is supposed to help relieve stress, but if we’re being honest, it often does the opposite. If you’ve ever been on a traditional rowing machine at the gym, then you know how loud and blistering the machine’s fan can be. The noisy spinning, coupled with a tiny black and white monitor display leaves many of us counting down the moments before we can move on to something else.

Bruce Smith and his team wanted to change all of that with the Hydrow. Along with gorgeous interactive views from the machines 22” HD, water-resistant touchscreen monitor complete with HiFi speakers, an embedded 2-megapixel camera, and a microphone, the Hydrow is exceptionally quiet. There is no fan on the machine, and the rowing strokes are so smooth, that you can hear both the music and instructors clearly as they row along locations like the Charles and Hudson rivers. The equipment is also ANT+ enabled, has WiFI, Bluetooth, and a USB 2.0 connection. If you’re an early riser, you’ll be less likely to wake up your partner or your family in the midst of your workout. The Hydrow also folds up nicely to 24″x 32″ so even if you live in a crowded city like NYC; the machine won’t take over your living space.

Making it interactive

Lack of accountability is another reason why people aren’t always successful in their fitness journeys. This is why Smith thought it as so essential to have his users interacting with world champion rowers and instructors. “When you work out, you’re actually rowing in the same rhythm, and using exactly the same muscles as the instructor,” he explained to The Cheat Sheet. “It really is fun and engaging. That community piece, for us it’s the most important part of our company. It’s letting people connect that way.”

Hydro screen views

Hydrow screen views| Hydrow

What do the workouts consist of?

The fantastic thing about Hydrow is that there is something for everyone, even if you’ve never rowed a day in your life. The workouts are broken down into four levels of intensity — breathe, sweat, push, and drive and range from just five minutes to an entire hour for a really vigorous sweat. Hydrow’s elite instructor and three-time World Rowing Championship silver medalist, Danielle Hansen was on hand when The Cheat Sheet tried out the Hydrow. She revealed,

We have a breathe workout, which is more meditative and restorative. You’re getting on there to breathe and loosen up your body. Then you have sweat workout which is a little livelier, and a little bit more exciting but still pretty chill and low key. You have your push workout, which is higher intensity. It’s for when you want to get on there and push yourself that day. Then, the highest intensity that we offer is a drive workout. Its max effort, really fun, and really high energy. We offer all different lengths of workouts in those four categories as well.

Is it pricey?

Unlike the extremely costly Peloton which retails for over two thousand dollars minimum, Hydrow is committed to making their machine as affordable as possible.  At present, Hydrow is offering special pricing with Indiegogo. You can snag your own Hydrow for $999 with a year free subscription.

Traditionally, the machine will cost, $2199 with a $38/monthly subscription.

Woman rowing on Hydro

Woman rowing on Hydrow| Hydrow

A bangin’ body for your buck

One of our favorite things about the Hydrow is that there is no room for boredom. Many of us know that when we fall into an exercise rut, it’s typically because we’ve been doing the same routine for months or years. The Hydrow experience includes hundreds of customizable workouts including daily rows, challenges, and special events. Each week, as the instructors head around the globe to row on various bodies of water, new workouts are added.

While some of us don’t mind being in the gym for hours on end, more and more folks love a good sweat as quickly as they can get it. Since the Hydrow engages so many of the body’s muscles, the average person can expect to burn over 400 calories in just 20 mins. Essentially this means that rowing burns more calories than any other human activity on earth.

Giving back

If the stunning machine, versatility of the workouts, pricing, and the interactive functions of the Hydrow aren’t enough to entice you, then you should also note that CREW is committed to giving back. Once each person hits 60 workouts on their Hydrow, the company will provide safe drinking water for a family in need in Africa for life. We don’t think it can get much better than that.

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