It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Peloton Row. All those rumors were true. I'm only slightly exaggerating my feelings when I welcomed the newest Peloton launch in my apartment. It felt like a spacecraft landed in my guest bedroom, and considering all the tech involved, it's not too far off.
I'll be honest, I'm a total rowing newbie. I jumped at the chance to secretly sweat test the Peloton Row. My experience is limited to dabbling on a few other at-home rowing machines, cranking out a session or two on the dusty rower in the corner of the gym, and kayaking on vacay. After working out with it for a week, I realized that actually makes me the ideal Peloton Row consumer.
Setup is as streamlined as the machine.
I started my stopwatch when the delivery duo rang my doorbell carrying a couple giant boxes, and just shy of 9 minutes later I had a fully functioning rower. I logged into my Peloton account and completed my calibration within 5 minutes. Whatever you do, don't skip the calibration, trust. More on why in a sec.
That's it. You're ready to rock and row. (Funny story: My first delivery was the wrong prototype, so I experienced delivery twice and both were equally efficient!)
The Peloton Row is sleek, but it does take up some solid real estate during a workout.
It features smooth angles and a minimalist aesthetic. And, my first impression: NBA players could sweat with this rower. I was right, it can accommodate rowers up to 6'5". The seat slides along a track that's a bit shorter than my humble 5'3" height.
In total, the Peloton Row has an 8' x 2' footprint and ideally an additional 24 inches of clearance on all sides. I found the extra side-space unnecessary and knocked out row workouts well within the confines of the machine. Thankfully, it has wheels and a handle built in to pivot from floor to stowed quickly. While I've struggled to store other pieces of equipment solo, the Peloton Row required minimal leverage and felt super stable en route and in its upright position.
It comes with a clear, no children under 16 years old warning on the tag and it's definitely not a toy. But, I will say as a mom of an 11-month-old, I didn't worry about my daughter taking a peek at the machine under my close supervision. (Her favorite part: the velcro foot straps.) Whether on the floor or stored upright, all corners are smooth and moving parts are securely locked when not in use.
The Peloton Row is thoughtfully designed to enhance your workout and not intrude on your home.
The Peloton Row screen is so massive it creates the sensation of exercising in a private movie theater. (It's 23 inches compared to the 24-inch Bike+ screen or 21.5-inch Bike screen.) Plus, it swivels up, down, and side-to-side 45 degrees to hit the ideal viewing angle from the seat or next to the machine while completing a row bootcamp class or any of the many other mat workouts.
Continuing with the workout theater theme: The seat is seriously comfortable, too. Don't take my word for it. I confirmed with Peloton instructor Matt Wilpers, who has years of crew and other indoor rower experience. I'm confident my leg muscles would fatigue and give out long before my tush would get achey. Conveniently located between the feet is a console to keep your water bottle and phone within reach.
Nobody will shush you. The "chain," which is is like a tightly woven, heavy duty strap on a backpack or a dog leash, and the electronically controlled resistance make the machine nearly silent. I mean silent. I had no problem rowing one room away from my sleeping baby when I don't dare speak above a whisper during her naps.
About that resistance: Advanced rowers can fine-tune the "drag factor" (between 0 and 230) or how quickly the flywheel slows between strokes. Everyone else can leave it at the recommended medium drag factor.
Even the pre-launch workouts are Peloton caliber and big on motivation.
Peloton brings the same energy and some of the top instructors from Bike over to Row. Cyclists will recognize Wilpers and Adrian Williams in a new role rowing on-screen. Keep an eye out for new instructors Ash Pryor, Alex Karwoski, and Katie Wang.
Pre-launch, the class options filled about two pages of the 23-inch touchscreen, but I still had plenty of variety to choose from. Workouts include form-focused drills, beginner-friendly welcoming classes, endurance rows, and heartpumping Tabata all to energizing soundtracks. The only downside to rowing to bops, there's not really a way to dance along mid-workout without sacrificing form or dropping the handle altogether.
There's never a doubt your instructor is working hard right along with you either, if that's a pet peeve of yours too. There's absolutely no coasting on a rower. I can't stand it when the instructor isn't sweating along with the workout, and I'll never worry about that here.
There are even more Peloton Row workout possibilities. If you prefer to do your own thing, Peloton Row lets you explore a scenic row or make up your own class and track your metrics. Live classes will debut in 2023.
Peloton Row levels up the custom, connected workout.
The clear selling point of the Peloton Row is Form Assist. As an inexperienced rower, this feature welcomed me into unfamiliar cardio territory like a personalized guide. Once you've completed the calibration, a tiny stick figure appears in the upper left corner of the screen mimicking your moves with real-time visual feedback. Your bod is moving in more different ways in rowing than say an indoor cycling sesh, so the guidance is crucial for maximizing the work and avoiding injury.
The tech tracks your whole stroke through the entire class with sensors in the machine. It flashes red on any areas that didn't hit the legs-body-arms, arms-body-legs cadence. I zeroed in on the little figure correcting my miss-strokes as I went. It only took me three classes to have a breakthrough (going from 40% to 90%+ rating on my form).
The best part is the in-depth analysis and recommendations available after class ends. The analytics nerd in me soaked up the detailed performance tips and took the lessons into the next workout. It works, the proof is in my progress.
Another way to personalize the experience is using the Pace Targets. Based on your selected level (between one and six), you'll see stroke rate and pace ranges. I found it gave me smart targets to shoot for, instead of going ham and trying to climb the leaderboard. As a beginner, I started with level one and upped to level two within a week.
The Peloton Row is a mental workout, too, keeping tabs on all the widgets on screen if you choose to. Form Assist is optional, you can opt out and simply enjoy the row anytime, just like the leaderboard.
For a fully immersive rowing experience, connecting bluetooth headphones is a must and a breeze. Click, pair, and row. The same is true for a Peloton (or other) heart rate monitor and Apple watch.
If you've been thinking about joining the Peloton community, the Row is best your way in.
If you've never considered yourself a rower, the Peloton Row is here to change that and more than ready for you. It's absolutely an investment ($$ and space) but the efficient, low-impact, total-body workout (plus all the form tips to make sure you're nailing every stroke) is well worth it.
The Peloton Row costs $3,195 (including that super speedy delivery and set-up). Then, add in a $44/month All Access subscription for unlimited live and on-demand classes.
Dare I say it, IMHO, Row is better than the Bike. Convinced? Pre-orders are open and deliveries are expected starting in December 2022.
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