Air vs. Magnetic Rowing Machine: What is the Difference?
Recently many people have asked me, “What is the difference between an air vs. magnetic rowing machine?”
While many people can use their imagination to make a decent educated guess, I’m sure a lot don’t even know both exist!
Most people see a rowing machine in a gym and don’t think, “Is this an air or magnetic rower?” They just hop on and start rowing!
While both workout the same muscles, have the same functionality, and require the same technique, there are quite a few differences.
Differences like noise level, data accuracy of monitors, resistance operation, machine weights, etc..These magnetic vs. air rower differences can help you decide between the two at the gym or which one to purchase if buying one for your home.
Below I will completely breakdown the air vs. magnetic rowing machine similarities, differences, and how both rowing machines operate.
Air Rowing MachineAir rowing machines offer a smooth, strong rowing stroke that is excellent for all types of workouts. They are also offered in every price range, making it great for anyone looking to buy a home rowing machine.
One of the main benefits is that air rowers closely mimic the resistance felt while rowing on water (which I explain more below). This makes them very popular in the fitness community and great for training.
Air rowers are the chosen resistance type by Olympic athletes, so you know they perform well!Resistance OperationIn this section, I explain how an air rowing machine resistance operates.
Firstly, an air rower uses “wind” or “air” to create resistance. It does this by having a user pull a handle, which spins a “fan flywheel”. As the flywheel spins, it must move the “air” in the front and side of the flywheel.
This “air” or “air particles” around the flywheel creates drag/resistance, which requires force to move.As a user rows faster, the flywheel spins faster and must move more “air”. The greater number of air particles means a greater drag/resistance, which requires more force to move!Basically, the faster you row, the more resistance you will feel. More specifically, to double your speed while rowing will require 8x as much force!
Due to this exponential relationship of speed vs. power, we call resistance on air rowing machines “variable”. There really is an infinite amount of resistance levels you can feel.
This may sound a little confusing, but just know there are technically no resistance settings on an air rower. To feel more resistance, a user must row faster.
Below is a short video that can help explain. It also explains how “air resistance” and “water resistance” react the exact same way. This is why air rowing machines closely mimic the resistance felt while rowing in a boat on water…