For serious rowing enthusiasts, the Concept 2 Model E will place you in the training company of elite athletes. Thankfully it's also a machine beginners can use. If you've never tried rowing before you'll not feel the same climbing down the equipment ranks and working on a cheaper rower. This one will spoil you.
If you are sitting on the fence about rowing, It’s definitely something you should check out if you are looking for a thoroughly challenging aerobic exercise to perform. Rowing is an effective, full body low impact workout.
It’s rare that such an exercise offers all this and one of the lowest rates of injury.
Got A Back Injury? Read This...
If you are wondering if rowing can injure your back or if you have disc and back problems, will rowing make it worse? First of all rowing can actually help back problems and strengthen your core, which can help support your spine to prevent spinal injuries.
It all comes down to form. If you row with improper execution you can injure your spine.
Correct Rowing Technique
The Rowing Stroke Is Broken Down into 4 points: The Catch - The Drive - The Finish -The Recovery
The Catch (starting position)
- Sit up tall with shoulders in front of hips arms straight ahead grabbing the rowing handle- Keep shoulders square and relaxed and look straight ahead at PM5 monitor to avoid back hunching
- The upper torso should be slightly leaning forwards and arms long
- Shins relaxed on foot rests and can lift off if needed
- Keep relaxed- don't stiffen up or tighten grip on handle
- Drive starts with legs not arms - push heels into foot stretchers and drive back and fully extend legs as hip hinges, only engage arms once handle clears knees
- Handel and seat should move back simultaneously to and from the flywheel
- Shoulders stay low and loose
- Only small movement in shins should occur
- Legs fully extended and handle should be touching solar plexus as upper body leans backwards on monorail. Core should be tight
- Extend arms forwards letting them straighten then hinge at hips and let handle and seat travel towards flywheel- let momentum propel you forward
- Knees will naturally bend as seat propels forward
- You will naturally arrive at starting point (catch). Rinse and repeat
Row Flow TIP - Push hard with legs on each and every drive and relax immediately on recovery
Go With The Rhythm
Working on the principle of airflow- you can never really max out with a rower in terms of hitting the highest resistance setting or top speed, as you can exponentially increase your speed/stroke/force to infinity....or in other words until you top out.
This gives rowing a natural feel and flow. I mean when you run outdoors or jump on a bike the only speed restriction is what you can give.
Start Where You Are and Grow
With the Model E, movements are super smooth with minimum noise at whatever speed you get going. With an unlimited arc of resistance, you can begin at any stage and dramatically increase your strength, speed and endurance over time.
Higher Seat Makes A World Of Difference
One of the biggest advantages of the E is the elevated sitting position. It is 6 inches higher than the groundbreaking Model D. With most rowing machines, you sit close to the floor. But this model features a 20 inch high seat, providing more than adequate comfort. The extra height makes it far easier to mount and dismount.
You might not have a bad back today but in the future...
And then there’s the adjustable foot rests and ergonomic handle. Both contribute to a more comfortable rowing experience that helps you stay on the machine for longer stretches and expand your fitness level in the process.
Easy Storage & Assembly - Separates Into Two Sections
When you're done with your rowing workout, you can separate your Model E Machine into two pieces, for more compact storage. And casters make this rower a little more mobile than its large frame suggests. If you need to adjust it slightly the casters will take most of the strain.
If you are looking at a rower without casters, it won't be as easy to manoeuvre and moving large units takes strength, especially if space is limited. Rowers are awkward to move anyway because of their lower profiles which pits most of their weight closer to the floor.
It’s Large and Strong
This isn’t your run of the mill rowing machine in any way, shape or form. The Model E does take up considerable space, with an overall footprint of approximately 4 feet x 9 feet. Most rowing machines are quite a bit smaller and more compact.
The length of the rail is 54 inches - which should comfortably fit those with larger inseams of up to 38 inches. Feeling cramped on other gym equipment? You'll be at home here.
There are plenty of advantages of this larger sized unit. Most notably, the 500 pound capacity - so just about anyone can climb onboard and not worry about testing the machine’s limits. It features a rock-solid build and comes with a five year warranty on the frame.
Comfort and Style
I think it’s fair to say that the Concept 2 Model E is considered a luxury rowing machine. When you compare this fine piece of equipment to a lower end machine - the differences are significant. This one isn’t for pretenders or those who want dip their toes into the rowing experience to see how it feels.
The Concept 2 is for those who are serious about exercise and rowing in particular. Its for exercise enthusiasts who want a machine that's going to last them a number of years.
Takes Rowing To A New Level
The differences on the Concept 2 are considerable. As stated, this one is a much larger machine than most other rowing machines. It looks like something you’d find in a quality gym environment and you’d be correct. Concept 2 Model E’s are often seen in the better fitness clubs across the country. But it also makes a fantastic rowing machine at home too.
It has a fine glossy finish that's double powder coated. It looks great and the finish holds up too. The chain is nickel plated for greater durability.
Is This Much Of An Upgrade From The Model D?
The Model E has heavy competition- from itself- the Model D is the next machine down in the Concept range. It is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper. The upgrades here are the finer high gloss paint finish, the tougher chain, the monitor is closer to your eye level, which makes it easier to read, and of course the seat height. Perfect for those with back and mobility problems.
Not only does the 20 inch seat height on the Model E make it much easier to get on and off, for those with joint issues (like bad knees from arthritis) or mobility considerations - the model E makes a much better choice than any other rower. Sitting up higher vs. closer to the floor makes a world of difference for those of us who are getting a little older, yet still want to be able to row when we want.
The E is 15 pounds heavier and has a more robust steel welded construction. The front leg comes in one piece as opposed to 2 pieces joined together in the model D. Not a lot added by this except a little more sturdiness.
If you like rowing, the Concept 2 E makes an excellent piece of home gym equipment. It speaks quality and you'll have no problem putting this in any room of your house just to show it off. Heck, why wouldn't you? This thing is a beauty that will likely outlast most other brands on the market.
Data Collection and Display is Top Notch
Another thing that sets this rowing machine apart from competitors is the accuracy and availability of the data it collects and displays. The backlight increases visibility compared to lesser machines. Oh, and since the monitor is mounted on a longer arm, it's within reach and closer to your range of vision, making it much easier to see and read. Display monitors on some rowing machines are just too hard to read - particularly for aging eyes.
The Model E is also compatible with USB flash drives - so you can store all of your data and monitor your progress throughout the months and years. This in itself is a huge advantage as most rowing machines do not save your data, so it’s difficult to see how far you’ve come, a few months down the road. You can also wirelessly monitor your heart rate - another plus.
E Got Game
There are onboard games that you can play on the monitor as you get your workout in. Additionally, other apps are available from Concept 2 for additional options such as your own logbook, challenges with friends, and rankings, to see how you measure up to others. In a fashion that’s similar to what Fitbit has long offered buyers of its fitness trackers, you can challenge other users and motivate your friends and family (near or far) to get involved and stay active on their rowing machines.
Unboxing The E
Interestingly, it ships in a single (albeit, heavy) box. It can be a little awkward to move it around. But once you have the box near your chosen location, the Model E set up is quick and easy. If you’ve got 15 to 20 minutes that's all it takes for you to go from cardboard box to complete set up - and you’re ready to row.
Un-boxing will probably take you longer than the actual assembly. Once you figure out the various parts and pieces, putting it all together is pretty easy. But as is the case with most do-it-yourself assemblies - it's always easier with two people.
American Made Means Quality
The Concept 2 Model E rowing machine is manufactured and assembled right here in the United States, using both foreign-made parts and American-made parts. This alone sets it apart from the lion’s share of exercise equipment (including rowing machines) that have flooded the market in recent years. Most rowing machines are made overseas where labor costs are much lower - but so too is the quality of those products in most cases. If you want one of the best, shop American-made by picking up your own Concept 2 Model E.
It's built like a tank, so you can pretty much rest assured that it's going to last you a lifetime. It's an investment and one of the best pieces of exercise equipment you'll ever own. If rowing is your thing, picking up the Model E can make a lot of sense.
You'll feel the difference every time you step on. The quality of the materials used and the overall design is notable. The seat slides along the rail silently and comfortably and fan noise is minimal. You can easily listen to your favorite music while rowing. or, if you prefer, watch TV or listen to an audio-book or recorded lecture. Stimulating your mind as you work over your body is an excellent use of your time.
Use A Mat To Protect What Lurks Underneath
It's usually a good idea to place any rowing machine on top of a rubber floor mat. Although it's not absolutely necessary, it does help transfer any vibration and provides a less noisy environment for others who share your living quarters.
Beginners Can Hop On Too
Although it's a high-end machine, there's nothing intimidating about the Model E for beginners. It's easy to use and fun at the same time. And it's something that you can grow with. If you've used other exercise equipment such as a stationary bike, elliptical machine - even a treadmill and then you get on this rowing machine, I think you'll like the experience of rowing much better. That’s the effect the Model E from Concept 2 has. Once you get used to using it - you’ll probably love it as much as I did.
It’s a low-maintenance machine. But like any piece of equipment with moving parts, you'll need to lubricate it occasionally. In this case you need to add oil to the chain about every 55 to 60 hours of use. So if you're rowing for half an hour a day, you only have to oil your machine about every four months.
Saves Space When Storing
When you want to put it away for storage, the Model E unit separates into two sections. It's a good way to make space when you have company coming over - perhaps over the holiday season - and you need to make a little extra room. It's not something you'd want to do too often though because it's always easier to get back on a rowing machine (and not talk yourself out of a workout) when your machine is there and ready to go.
Rowing is one of those exercises that involves the whole body and if you do it consistently - your body will thank you.
If you work from home, having this kind of rowing machine gives you a physical break from the work you would normally perform at your desk. It also gives you an opportunity to reflect, plan ,or simply relax as you enjoy some inspiring music or your favorite sitcom on TV.
Worth Owning Because...
- Quiet and super-smooth operation
- Easy-to-use for beginners
- Fitness monitor is large, easy-to-read and readily accessible
- Professional quality piece of equipment
- Well packaged (as you’d expect from any quality product)
- Clear, easy-to-read and understand assembly instructions
- Top quality workmanship and finish
- Solid, heavy duty construction and strong welds that should never come loose
- Top-quality design and finish - the Mercedes of rowing machines
- Solid and stable - there's no squeaky parts nothing gives way (it doesn't shake or move around)
- Chain is quiet and smooth
- Comfortable seat - Comfortable handle grips (large enough handles so your hands don't cramp up)
- Electronic display is adaptable and easy to use
- Something that's going to last you for years
- Relatively easy to put together by yourself
- Connectivity - Competitive exercisers can connect to the community and challenge one another
- Solid piece of gym equipment that’s durable enough to last for years (it’s built like a tank)
- Great for rehab and those recovering from injuries
- Concept2 provides excellent support (they still supply parts and support for their first model released in the 1980s)
Reasons To Stick With The Cheaper Model D
- Model D is still amazing Do you really need high gloss paint?
- It's $200 cheaper
- If you have no mobility issues higher seat won't make a difference (for now anyway!)
- The chain has been improved (nickel plated) but the old one ain't too shabby either
- Has the exact same warranty and features + it's 15 pounds lighter
Should You Take A Seat Or Move On?
If you've got the space, the Concept 2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with accompanying PM5 monitor is well worth the investment. If you're looking for low impact exercise equipment - this one's tough to beat. It's not silent. Nothing with moving parts is. But it is relatively quiet. In fact, it's quiet enough for you to workout late at night - without disturbing sleeping children.
If you're serious about getting into shape or maintaining your conditioning - this is an excellent option. Rowing is one of the best exercises you can do. It's low-impact, involves the entire body and you can burn plenty of calories - relatively fast. It works both the lower body as well as the core, arms, and upper body.
The higher seat on the Model 2 is perfect for older people, anybody with mobility issues, or those recovering from injury. It just makes the machine that much more accessible. You can grow with it too. Begin with the basics and really ramp-up your workouts as needed. For a high-quality rowing experience - this one gets our highest recommendation.