Fitness Magazine

A Rowing Machine from Argos – Girl on the River Tries out a Budget Erg

By Girlontheriver @girlontheriver

Hot on the heels of my new resolution to make my peace with the ergometer came an offer from Argos to try out one of their rowing machines. Argos? Seriously? Not Concept2 or Rowperfect or Oartec?

Roger Black Air Rowing Machine

Roger Black Air Rowing Machine

Actually, yes. Argos has a range of rowing machines that are unashamedly budget – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Given the fact that I can’t afford a brand new, gleaming Concept2 of my own, and that my indoor training at the club was regularly disrupted last winter by snow, ice, parents’ evenings, school concerts and the occasional night out, I was keen to find out if a more basic ergometer would do the job.

The model I chose to try out was the Roger Black Air Rowing machine which at the date of writing retails at a very appealing £149.99. At this price, I had wondered if what would emerge from the box would be flimsy and feeble, but I needn’t have worried. It was straightforward to assemble and turned out to be a surprisingly sturdy air rower with a pleasingly smooth action and that familiar whooshing sound loved or hated by every rower.

There are, predictably at that price, a few downsides. I found that I reached frontstops at what would be the equivalent of 3/4 slide, so you can’t take as long a stroke as you would on a more upmarket machine.

Argos rowing machine - monitor
The monitor isn’t designed for rowers – although it shows stroke rate, time and distance (or, if you prefer, number of strokes, speed and calories), there’s no split to pit yourself against (which made a nice change for me, but would be a problem if you needed to make comparisons with your regular club workout).

The height of the footplate isn’t adjustable, and rocks backwards and forwards as you row, which takes a little getting used to, but wasn’t problematic once I’d taken a few strokes.

On the plus side, although there is no mechanism to adjust the drag factor, the resistance is pretty substantial and I found myself gratifyingly achey, sweaty and tired after the nasty pyramid session prescribed last week by our coach.

So final verdict? Well, this wouldn’t be the machine for a serious rower, but for a novice rower wanting to practice at home, or for any non-rower wanting a good, solid full-body workout at home, it is excellent value for money and will give you a satisfying and challenging workout. Good work, Argos.


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