Rowing machines are great, but just like treadmills, ellipticals, and other cardio equipment, they take up so much space, they’re downright impractical for a lot of smaller homes and apartments. That’s why we’re so excited about the Rowbro, a rowing machine that can collapse into a size that fits inside cabinets and shelves.
That’s right, this rowing machine collapses into a really compact bundle that makes it possible to hide it inside boxes, cabinets, and other storage compartments at home, instead of leaving it in place or hanging it up a wall like other options. No need to find a dedicated spot to put your exercise equipment – just take it for assembling during workouts and break it down for putting away as soon as you’re done.
The Rowbro’s main component is a box measuring 15 x 12 x 12 inches (depth x width x height) that houses the resistance mechanism and all electronics on the inside, with rowing grips on top and foot pads on the exterior. To set it up, you need to put the machine inside a door frame, then use the included bar to secure it to that frame similar to how your secure a pull-up bar. Once that’s in place, attach the included guide rail between the foot pads and unfold it to full length, then place the seat on the guide rail. From there, you just grab the cable grips, plop yourself on the seat, and begin rowing. The seat comes with wheels that allow you to glide forwards and backwards, while the rail ensures you stay in a straight line the entire time.
It uses magnetic resistance similar to a few modern rowing machines in the market, allowing it to operate with a lot less noise compared to air and water models. Sadly, it’s more limited than its full-size counterparts, as it only allows three resistance settings (low, medium, high), so you probably won’t be able to dial in the perfect amount you want for every workout.
The Rowbro has a dock on top where you can put a phone or tablet. Launch the companion app and pair it to the machine over Bluetooth, so you can see all your standard performance data, similar to the rowing machines at the gym. According to the outfit, this basic stuff is free with the app, although they will also offer a paid tier with on-demand workouts, live classes, and games for those that want a more Peloton-like experience.
The machine itself can support users weighing up to 256 pounds and standing up to 6’7”, so most people should be able to use it. Because it uses wheels to glide, they recommend people use it on hard flooring to eliminate any struggles with the carpet. Because it uses a bar to secure the rower, the same bar can actually be used as a pull-up bar for adding more exercises to your workouts, while the resistance cable can be used to do basic resistance exercises like bicep curls if you want to use it for that. Do note, it won’t offer much resistance on those kinds of movements (it’s only meant for rowing), but it’s still a nice way to change things up.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for Rowbro. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $300.