Hydrow Wave Review: I can not believe I love to row now
I must admit that rowing has never really been my jam. Aside from a handful of times I’ve used it during an orange theory class, it’s a sport I mostly associate with the Winklevoss twins. Nevertheless, I have seen and heard many people highlight the virtues of rowing as a very effective form of cardio and strength training with low effect – I simply did not feel interested enough to publicly try it on the sad, neglected rower with me. local gym. So with that in mind, I was curious but skeptical of the $ 1495 Hydrow Wave.
The Wave is Hydrow’s second rower and comes about two months after the Peloton announced that it would enter the connected rudder room. It is slimmer, slimmer and a thousand dollars less than the original Hydrow rower at 2495 dollars. According to Hydrow CEO Bruce Smith, it is because the machine is intended to address the two main barriers to indoor rowing: price and space.
The original Hydrow measures 86 inches long, 25 inches wide and 47 inches high. It also weighs 145 pounds and has a 22-inch HD screen. It is basically the size of a three seater sofa. Meanwhile, the Wave has a slightly smaller footprint, measuring 80 inches long, 19 inches wide and 43 inches high. It’s also a bit lighter at 102 pounds and has a smaller 16-inch touch screen. Like the original, it supports rowers up to 375 pounds and has a proprietary resistance mechanism that supposedly mimics the feel of water without creating much noise. Wave’s smaller size means it can be shipped directly to customers via UPS, eliminating the need for scheduled deliveries.
If you look at the specifications, it does not seem that Wave is that much smaller or slimmer. But once it was in my living room, I could clearly see the differences. The base is not quite as thick, and at a glance it looks quite similar to the Concept2 rudder – if you attached a larger screen to it and moved the flywheel to the bottom. If it fits into any apartment … yes and no.
When Wave was first delivered to my apartment, I had the delivery staff install it in my office. Technically, it fit. Except that the end protruded into the doorway so we could not close the door, and I knocked my leg on it during the first 24 hours. I tried to move it diagonally so we could close the office door, but it just made it impossible to walk from one end of the room to the other.
Eventually I had to redo my entire living room to accommodate the wave. I also appreciated that this 102 pound unit was easy for me to move on my own, thanks to the wheels on the front of the unit. It’s better now, but I do not love how there is such a big focal point in the room now. Sure, it’s elegant and makes our living room look quite modern. But it is also the first thing you see when you enter our front door. I would have preferred to store it vertically – like you can do if you do not mind paying $ 190 for a vertical anchor set. I would have done it in no time, but $ 190 is too expensive for my liking.
So when it comes to space, the wave is more manageable in tight spaces than its predecessor or a traditional treadmill. The slimmer design also gives the illusion that it is smaller than it is and is more aesthetically pleasing. However, a stationary bike is still much more space efficient, so I will take Hydrow’s claim of Waves smaller size with a pinch of salt.
When it comes to build quality, Wave is a fine piece of equipment. I wish the screen was a little bigger since I have poor eyesight. That said, it was easy to read my measurements during a workout, and I could always move closer to the seat when choosing a class or reviewing my performance afterwards. It is also one of the quietest exercise machines I have ever tested. My husband took several calls while using it in the same room and never once complained.
While Hydrow’s space requirements were a bit exaggerated, Wave makes a stronger case in terms of price. Admittedly, $ 1495 is expensive – especially compared to the $ 900 Concept2. You basically pay an extra $ 600 (and monthly $ 38 membership) for the classes, the touch screen and smaller footprints. Smith said the company is partnering with Klarna to offer a four-year financing option, which means you can pay about $ 32 a month for the machine. In total, it’s about $ 70 per month if you include the subscription. That said, I would argue that for beginners in rowing it may be worth the extra bump.
This is because, as I mentioned earlier, proper rowing is not intuitive. It involves three steps – the capture, the drive and the recovery. (Rowing generally has a lot of jargon that can be intimidating to newcomers.) I have heard it described as a waltz since you move arms, body and legs before reversing it with legs, body and arms. For me, it was easier to visualize it as a sitting ground lift. Anyway, it feels weird, and there’s a reason I never felt safe making it public at the gym.
However, Hydrow’s beginner programming was incredibly helpful in guiding my rowing shape. It appears automatically on the home screen, and the first three 15-minute workouts are dedicated to acclimatizing you to the right shape and the three types of Hydrow workouts: Breathe, Sweat and Run. Breathing sessions are lower intensity with a focus on shape, while sweating sessions are more intermediate workouts with a focus on “heart health and toning.” Drive training is the most challenging and really pushes you on both the fitness and strength training front. Immediately after these three workouts, you will be asked to enter a new 10-workout program designed to gradually build up your fitness with shorter workouts.
I went through all the introductory classes the first week I used Wave. To my surprise, I enjoyed myself. Part of that was that I could experiment and learn at home and not in front of more experienced trainers. It’s my own self – awareness, but it’s a real thing that stops many beginners from going to the gym in the first place.
When it comes to on-demand training classes, I’ve been around the block. I would not say that Hydrow is revolutionary in the sense that you still follow experts who spew out motivational quotes and tips about your form. However, each class is well-designed and strangely soothing – probably because it is filmed on an actual body of water, and rowing has a meditative quality because they are rhythmic in nature. You can tune out the inspirational speeches if you want and focus on matching the instructor’s castling while looking at their shape.
Did I think that after three weeks I would do a 45-minute driving session with several full effort intervals and have fun with it? No. Similar workouts on treadmills usually make me swear, and so do I. love running. But I cost myself. A lot. I’m a skeptical person. I do not often find gadgets that surprise me positively. The fact that I actually … like to row now and plan to take it up as my main form of cross-training going forward is genuinely shocking.
Although I have few complaints in terms of content, I wish it was easier to use Wave with the Apple Watch. Previously, you had to download a third-party app to do so, and it ended up being easier to pair my Polar H10 chest strap over Bluetooth for on-screen heart rate tracking. After its first release, Hydrow announced that they recently released a new Apple Health integration via the iOS app. This is not out of the ordinary when it comes to integrating third-party apps with exercise equipment – it’s simply annoying. For example, I liked not having to download the Hydrow app on my phone to use the device. But if I want to automatically sync my workouts with Apple Health, I have to.
As with all connected training technology, my biggest concern is the health of the company itself. Unlike “stupid” exercise equipment, if a connected exercise company goes under, you could end up with a bricked machine. The chances of this happening are greater now that this space is starting to get really crowded, with more startups coming up with their own suggestions for equipment to accommodate more established players. Rowing may be the next big thing in connected fitness, but that does not automatically mean that Hydrow will remain the leader forever.
For example, while Hydrow’s claim of fame may have been like “The Rowing Peloton”, the Peloton himself comes out with a rower. The company itself may have been driving the combat bus lately, but Peloton is a well-known name. Hydrow is not there yet. There is also Aviron, another connected roselskap, out here that creates similar content. Apple Fitness Plus also includes rowing among its classes – and they integrate automatically with the Apple Watch.
Ahead of today’s launch, I asked Smith if Hydrow felt the heat. You would think that Hydrow would be a little salty that the Peloton (and others) are trying to “intervene on the turf,” so to speak. However, Smith says he is not so worried about the competition.
“Honestly, every single investor I’ve ever talked to about Hydrow has said, ‘Well, people do not know about rowing,'” Smith said. “So as a company, we all asked that they [Peloton] would launch a rower earlier because we want the rest of the world to understand that this is a really great exercise. “
Smith points to the fact that studies have found that rowing trains 86 percent of a person’s muscles in a relatively short 10-15 minute workout. That said, rowers are nowhere near as popular as bicycles and treadmills. Part of this is due to the fact that rowing has historically been a more exclusive sport, but indoor rowing itself has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to boutique-style training classes.
“We will take full credit, you know, to lead them [Peloton] into the revolution, says Smith. “We see the bicycle category and the treadmill category fall over the next five years because it will give market share to the rowing category.”
There may be some truth in what Smith says. From 2020 to 2021, Hydrow says revenues tripled when consumers began returning to physical fitness centers. The company also received $ 255 million in financing, and counts celebrities such as Lizzo, Justin Timberlake and Kevin Hart among the investors. But again, the connected fitness industry has more competition now than ever before – and the post-pandemic environment has not been entirely kind to any of its biggest players.
It is difficult to predict how all this will happen. But if my experience is any indication, I would say that Hydrow has a decent chance of at least maintaining its small niche. Usually, when I send reviewers back to companies, I quickly move on to the next one. I keep a tight lid on my expenses, and this is an expensive category that does not guarantee that I use my own money to maintain multiple subscriptions. The fact that I’m sitting here discussing a $ 20 Hydrow subscription for apps only, so I can continue my hours on the gym’s sad, neglected beets? It’s wild.
Photograph by Victoria Song / The Verge
Correction, July 7, 12:00 ET: Following its initial publication, Hydrow contacted to clarify its Apple Health integration, financing options, and vertical storage for Hydrow Wave. The article is updated with the correct information.