This Rowing Machine Helped Me Travel to Lake Bled Without Ever Leaving My Home

Ella Castle

There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do. © NordicTrack; Erica Murphy Rowing is truly […]

There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do.



Rowing is truly a full body workout, and NordicTrack's RW900 machine gives you the experience of rowing around the world without ever leaving your home. Check out our full review.


© NordicTrack; Erica Murphy
Rowing is truly a full body workout, and NordicTrack’s RW900 machine gives you the experience of rowing around the world without ever leaving your home. Check out our full review.

On Trial: NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine

Tester: Erica Murphy, a novice rower looking to switch up my exercise routine

The Brief: Over the past year, I’ve been seeing more and more articles about the full-body benefits of rowing. Because it’s a low-impact cardio option, it places less stress on your joints, which means that you can exercise harder and longer than during high-intensity workouts. Even though rowing is low-impact, you can still get all the cardiovascular and fat-burning benefits you’d get from a more strenuous workout. So when I got the chance to test out NordicTrack’s RW900, I jumped at the opportunity.



a plane flying in the sky: NordicTrack RW900 Rower


NordicTrack RW900 Rower

$1699.00

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The biggest misconception about rowing is that it’s just an upper-body workout. Spoiler alert: You actually use 86% of muscle groups during a rowing workout. “Rowing targets quite the array of muscle groups including the shoulders, back, biceps, and core,” according to director of iFit training, Mecayla Froerer, NASM CPT. “Proper technique during the rowing stroke can really help engage the core muscles, which will in turn help improve posture.”

Froerer says that rowing is also a great sport to build strong legs. I can attest: After using the rower a few days in a row, my hamstrings were feeling the burn.

NordicTrack uses iFit for their interactive personal training, and the program features olympic rowers, certified trainers, and more (in total, the program offers access to more than 130 trainers!). Their iFit program is the biggest way that NordicTrack differentiates themselves from the soon-to-be crowded boutique at-home workout space. It offers in-class experiences, but it’s the on-location classes that truly make exercising a fun experience.

Want to row in Slovenia’s Lake Bled? You can do that. Are you interested in supplementing your rowing workout with a bodyweight segment on the beaches in California? You can do that, too. The locations make every class interesting, and you don’t feel like you’re working out at home.



a screen shot of a video game: nordictrack rowing machine class


© NordicTrack
nordictrack rowing machine class

This also means that you need to give yourself an extra 5 minutes to browse through all the choices, because there are a TON. In addition to studio and on-location rowing classes, iFit also gives you access to warm-up and cool-down plans, yoga classes, HIIT classes, and even running classes. The rower comes with a year-long iFit membership, so you’ll have a solid amount of time to try out the various programs and workouts.

Now let’s talk about the actual machine.

When fully extended, the rower measures 7 feet, 2.5 inches long. But it was designed with saving space in mind and folds in half for easy storage. When folded, it takes up roughly 3 feet of floor space. If you’re wondering how big that really is, it fits in my NYC apartment both extended and folded up. Folding the rower up and down does take some getting used to, so I’d recommend practicing it a few times if you plan on keeping it folded when not in use.

The RW900 comes with a 22-inch HD Smart Touchscreen, and it’s just as clear as any other screen I’ve used on home workout equipment (The Mirror, Peloton, SoulCycle, to name a few.) The screen is adjustable to turn to the right and left, which helps if you’re doing a class that’s a combination of rowing and HIIT. The screen doesn’t tilt up and down — it hasn’t been a huge issue, but just something to note.

Because this rower does feature a screen to give you access to all that iFit has to offer, the price falls in line with other luxury at-home exercise machines. The RW900, which is the highest-end rower that NordicTrack offers, will set you back roughly $1,800. NordicTrack does offer a payment plan to lower the upfront cost.

Engineered with an inertia-enhanced flywheel, the rowing mechanism is smooth and relatively quiet. It also comes with 26 resistance levels, so you can up the ante as you progress with your rowing abilities.

As far as sound goes, two amplified speakers help crank it up pretty good. But there’s also an auxiliary music port for headphones so you won’t wake up your neighbors while going all-out at 30 strokes per minute.

Closing Argument: According to Froerer, “Rowing is a great form of exercise for people of all ages and can provide a great workout for the novice and pro alike.” I started out rowing roughly a month ago and still feel like a novice, but I can tell that my body is getting stronger and more toned, and it’s a workout I’m definitely keeping in my rotation.

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