I t’s good that you have decided to do something to take the pressure over your cardiovascular system, and yes, a gym machine that can increase your pulse is the right pick in this case. Yet, if you’ve rounded it down to these two options we are going to discuss, it can be tricky to pick one over the other as they both are extremely efficient. As many instructors or sports reviewers have put it, the best rowing machine will give you a complex workout in a relaxing way, while the best elliptical trainer will get you energized, sweaty, and burning a lot of calories. They are both modern apparatuses that come with monitoring functions, and the differences between them are not that striking, especially when it comes to the results. Nevertheless, the design and functions may be the ones that tip the balance, so let’s take a moment to look at them.
A rower is the indoor version of a boat used during rowing competitions, and it allows you to do the same movements you would do if you found yourself paddling on a river. The effects of this practice on health have already been proven by extended research, which showed that training on an ergometer increases the size of the muscles and reduces the risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases, especially in seniors.
The apparatus consists of a set of rails and a seat the users use to slide across the base. It also includes a handle that helps the users maintain balance and engage their upper body. It is similar to a Pilates reformer in the sense that the movement is done on the horizontal and not on the vertical.
Regarding the features of a rowing machine, it is characterized by the followings:
An elliptical trainer provides excellent cardio training, and according to this study published in the International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology, it can even replace treadmill workouts, as it provides similar results while putting less pressure on the joints. This study also showed that an elliptical engages the gluteal muscles more than regular walking, so it can be used to speed up results in this area. Although the shape is different and it is more similar to an indoor bike, it has a few things in common with the rower:
The differences between the two machine types are:
Both machines provide low-impact exercises, which means that you shouldn’t expect to burn a lot of calories in a half of hour or training, however, they put less pressure on your joints and muscles and, as this study has shown, they can be a better option during recovery programs than a treadmill.
These being said, there are situations in which choosing a rowing machine is a better idea. For instance, if your joints are really weak or hurt a lot, the fact that it allows you to exercise on the horizontal can be of real help. Moreover, if you are trying to find your inner peace through physical exercise, this is an excellent option, as it imitates rowing on the water, and if you choose the right instructional video, you can truly create a mental image of the landscape. New studies have even proven that the experience can be complete if you are using VR technology. On the other hand, remember that rowing devices require a lot of space, and you may not be able to experience the expected meditation state in a cramped room.
If you are looking to burn more calories, the elliptical may be a better option as it is more engaging, and some models allow you to adjust the resistance in two ways. It is also more compact and can provide stress relief as well. However, it is not as gentle on the joints as a rower, so you should try to avoid it in case you are trying to get back in shape and regain muscle strength after an injury.
Experts recommend doing low-impact exercises even if you are training just to stay in shape. In the long run, high-intensity interval training, if employed exclusively, can weaken your joints and leave you in pain. This doesn’t mean to leave it completely out of your routine, just to combine it with milder exercises. Now that you know the particularities of both cross trainers and rowing apparatuses, it is easier to decide on the right option for you. So, just get one and get moving!