This review of Peloton Row workouts is part of our Class Action, FLEETSTREET’s workout review series. We get sweaty to give you the low-down on what these fitness programs and home workouts are really like.
The brand — Peloton
Peloton is a brand I know well. Back in 2021, I bought the Bike+ after using the app in 2020 on a stationary bike I already owned. I was hooked and my sister-in-law convinced me to go for the plus-version since I already knew I would use the bike. It kept me active during lockdowns and subbed in nicely for my runs when I couldn’t run outside.
I have a Peloton wardrobe of tank tops and gear. So naturally, when I travelled to London, U.K., I had to stop by the studio for a selfie. Sadly, I wasn’t able to book myself into a Peloton live studio class. And, as one of 3 million Peloton subscribers I pay $55 a month, so it’s a bit of a head-scratcher why it reports losses and isn’t a blue-chip stock. In 2020, more than 23,000 Peloton members tuned into a live class in April 2020, according to this article from CNBC. There are fans, and I’m one.
The machine – Peloton Row
The Peloton rowing machine does stand out from other rowing machines, as you can have up to 20 users per household, which is worth it if you live in a complex or a sorority. (Check out FLEETSTREET’s comparison chart of popular rowing workouts in Canada.) The machine itself offers electric resistance, stores away on a wall mount, measures 94 inches in length and 24 inches wide, weighs 156.5 lbs and comes with some very cool app features
- Classes and workout data (like you’d expect from the at-home fitness)
- Swivel display
- Automatic resistance adjustments
- Form feedback
I bought it on launch day in Canada on October 24, 2023. I actually called Peloton to see if there was a discount code for that day. There wasn’t. But it was in my workout room within a week!
The workout – Peloton Row
I spin almost every day, and I use the Row for 10 minutes after. If you own anything from Peloton, the bike or the treadmill, you pretty much know what you’re getting with its rowing machine. And you’ll recognize some of the instructors, including Adrian Williams, Katie Wang and Matt Wilpers, along with some new faces with Alex Karwoski and Ash Pryor.
Like with other Peloton classes, your heart rate is tracked, along with form, calories, strive score, pace, output and stroke rate, as well as songs and leaderboard listed on the Peloton dashboard.
The classes I often do are the form and drills row. Typically there’s a warm-up and cooldown, split by one- or two-minute drills and straight rowing. The difficulty is about five out of 10. If you’re like me and are a fan of Elvis, check out Karwoski’s 10-minute Form & Drills on Friday 23-06-09. I like this one too because I need chatty instructors, otherwise, my mind wanders. Plus the drills, like keeping the legs extended or just moving the arms, mixes things up, so you’re not just rowing for 10 minutes straight.
At about two months into owning the row, these 10-minute classes made me feel stronger, and I’m able to hold myself up straighter for longer.
The first workout had my back super sore. But I just had to work through it.
My cardio is pretty good from the bike, and during these classes, my heart rate doesn’t spike at all. Actually, my heart rate barely goes into the yellow zone. It takes a bit to earn the form, as a newbie to rowing. Well, I did row for a season years ago.
Watching your form is critical in the beginning, but then you’ve got to shut it off. I found that if I’m just focused on the red signs on where to improve, my body defaults to going red all the time. You can just get too fixated on it, and you’re not really paying attention to what Alex is telling you. So when he says to increase your stroke rate, you’re not doing that watching your form.
I love, love, love my Peloton rowing machine. Who else would love the Peloton Row workouts? Someone like me who wants to improve cardio and core strength. I’m not strong in my back or my core, so I can’t row for very long. I’m probably at the stage where I could bike for longer than 30 minutes, but I like the Row to supplement my 30-minute cycling classes.
I saved up to buy the Peloton Tread. But when I consulted my chiropractor, they suggested that I go with the rowing machine instead because of my knee and other issues. There’s less impact on my joints because of the seated position through the movements. Also, because I’m hunched over the computer all day as an accountant, that pulling-back motion powered up my core.
The price is high at over three grand. It’s expensive for a piece of fitness equipment. As a second Peloton machine, the payback isn’t as easy to calculate as having just the bike. If you think about your monthly gym membership costs, plus travel and time factor, all that is paid back in a few years. The bike’s worth the cost. And that was apparent within a couple of months. So, who shouldn’t buy it? People who can’t afford it or have the space for it. It has sticker shock. Then again, so did the bike.
As for ages, anyone really can use it. My mom loved it, and she’s 70. I had my young nephews on it. You can loosen the tension and adjust the machine to whoever is rowing.
It looks nice, and the service and delivery were incredible. They were in and out of my house within six minutes. They just clipped together and said, “You’re ready to go!” And it was easy to get going. All I had to do was calibrate it to my body, and do a bit of setup.
Who wouldn’t it be good for? Someone who lives in a home with low-ish ceilings. The Row is eight-feet long, which can be tough to store on a wall. You know who should buy it? Condo developers for their amenity gyms.
This is a workout for anyone who wants to counteract being all hunched over their screens. I’m working 10-plus hours a day. Athletes have already jumped on the rowing machine (bandwagon). It’s tough. It’s not the easiest workout because of the coordination and pace. But I need to work out for health reasons. That’s how I feel.
Peloton Row, onepeloton.com; $3,845 for the Row, plus $55 a month subscription (subscription already included if you own the Peloton Bike, Bike+, Guide and/or Tread).