Top positive review
This machine may save my life
Reviewed in the United States on January 4, 2015
I'm a former marathon runner who now has severe arthritic pain in both knees. Even walking long distances hurts. I transitioned to an elliptical machine, which was better, but still leaves me with some pain as there is still some weight bearing. I'd stopped exercising for the last few years, and have watched my weight balloon and my health start to decline. I'm so out of shape that housework and even climbing a flight of stair leaves me out of breath. I'm about 5'10" and a depressing 280 pounds of flab. So I'm basically starting from zero. I've talked to my doctor and orthopedist - both of which suggested swimming as an aerobic activity which won't stress my knees. No pool close to me so not an option. I found this machine by accident and was convinced by all the stellar reviews to try this. So here are my first impressions.
Amazon had this delivered in two days via UPS. Came in a strong secure box, well packed with large pieces of Styrofoam.
UPS brought this via handtruck to my back door. Since the total package weighs about 70 pounds there was no way I was going to be able to get this into my house (My roommate is disabled, so I have no one to help me.). I opened the box outside and planned to bring the pieces into the house. There are just two main pieces - the Flywheel and the seat frame. I brought them in and had this machine together in literally less than 10 minutes. There are just 8 screws to put this machine together. (They even included a screwdriver - no hunting for the right size!) The two main sections are joined at the middle with a hook design and then a locking mechanism. The seat frame just "drops" into flywheel section and you lock it down. No tools needed for this. Easy to take the two pieces apart for vertical storage. As someone who has put together a lot of IKEA and Sauder furniture, I was astounded at how easy this was. Brilliantly designed. Even the batteries were installed in the console. The only thing I needed was to set the date and time.
USAGE: So 10 minutes after opening the box, I'm ready to row. I have had some experience with rowing machines in gyms in the past, so I'm familiar with the stroke and form. I take my first few strokes. The machine is set on middle level as default. My first thought is, "this is too easy. I'm not going to get a workout from this." I keep going and after two minutes, I can feel my heart start to pump and I'm getting a little winded. Kept going at a slow pace for 10 minutes. THIS IS A MIRACLE. I found a machine that is comfortable and gets my heart going and is not hurting my knees. One of the muscle groups this works is the quads, so I'm hoping that will strengthen my knees over time (hoping to delay surgery for as long as possible). I'm slowly working myself up - started at 10 minutes for a few days, then 15, now I'm up to 30, and feel absolutely wonderful. One side effect is that I'm a lot more flexible than I was. A low impact rowing for 5 minutes is a great way for stretching out the major muscles. I would sometimes wake up hunched over with back pain from so much sedentary work. Just five minutes on the machine warms up my muscles and straightens me up until I have time for a full workout. I'm grateful that I found this machine. Will update my progress in a few weeks - hopefully a few pounds lighter and fitter.
For those thinking that this machine is too expensive, please, please reconsider cheap machines. You get what you pay for. I saw a "deal of the day" for a cheap rowing machine this morning and started to kick myself for not waiting - "I could have saved hundreds of dollars." Then I read the reviews. Junk, garbage. Fell apart right away. I would have bought a $300 machine and then come back to this one in the end. It's true that you usually get what you pay for. I've purchased cheap machines for my mother, and they usually arrive damaged because the manufacturers cut corners on the packing. Not the case here. I'm looking forward to a long, fruitful relationship with this machine. Cheers!