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Looking to invest in a WaterRower Natural for personal home use? Or just investigating the workings of a water rower machine as opposed to a traditional flywheel and baffle operated erg? Or perhaps you have a career in professional fitness and are looking to invest in a WaterRower Natural for your clients to use? Then hopefully this review of the WaterRower Natural with S4 Monitor will be of some sort of assistance, whether you agree with this given product assessment or not.

In terms of pricing, one of WaterRower’s “Natural” editions complete with an S4 monitor will run you about $895.00; however, you can also opt to buy the WaterRower Natural complete with their S4 monitor, and that will run you about $1,095.00. Another option if you’re not looking to invest around a grand and purchase a WaterRower Natural for good is that WaterRower also allows you the option to rent their machines for about $10.00 a week.

The machine is built from stained Honey wood, and in terms of being aesthetically pleasing, the WaterRower Natural emits an aura quite different than that of a traditional metal erg. Despite the fact I can identify with how the sleek cold metal of a traditional erg such as the Concept2 is appealing to the sense that I’m going to get an intense, unmerciful workout; there is something about the WaterRower Natural that makes you feel as if you actual are out rowing in nature. In fact, the WaterRower Natural wood is even harvested sustainably from the Appalachian Mountains. The wood is finished with Danish oil, and combined with the smooth whoosh of the water at the catch, the WaterRower Natural does indeed intensify the aura of becoming one with the water and nature whilst achieving that rower’s high. Plus, the fact that it is portable with wheels means that it can easily be transported outside for a set that allows you to throw on those Rudy Project shades and soak up some rays.

Fitness Professional OnlineIn terms of workouts, I found the WaterRower Natural to be most soothing on a longer set of 8-10km; however even though the WaterRower Natural is smooth and cohesive in flow, you can still be sure to get a solid heart-pounding sweat session of it. One of the Fitness Professionals at Conditioning Specialists Santa Barbara, Rob DeCou, recommends incorporating one-minute sprints or 500m sprints in combination with any workout to maximize the use of muscle groups and increase the tempo of a workout.

So why is it that people choose to row over other forms of aerobic exercise in the first place? Well for starters, the stroke used in rowing is one of the best aerobic exercises one can choose when evaluating time use and overall benefit of the workout. In less time than other aerobic exercises such as the treadmill or cycle, one can achieve significantly more muscle mass exertion (see image to the right) and caloric burn. For those that have never been on a WaterRower or other brand of flywheel erg machine, it is important to know that the rowing stroke is an incredibly beneficial workout when evaluating bodily benefit per unit of time. So whether you are a long-time rower looking to assess the difference between a WaterRower and another air operated rowing system for use in your personal home, a newly introduced rower looking to learn more about erg mechanics in general, or a fitness professional looking to invest in a rowing machine for your gym or for use by your clients, the WaterRower Natural is in my opinion perhaps one of the best choices out there.

The WaterRower, specifically the company’s “Natural” model, is designed in order to offer an “on the water” type of feel. The difference between the WaterRower and more typical air operated rowing machines such as the popular Concept2 is what causes the resistance. In the case of a traditional air erg, the resistance can be varied by adjusting the baffle, which in turn accordingly adjusts the amount of air let into the flywheel. In the case of the WaterRower, resistance can be varied by adjusting the amount of water in the tank. In simpler terms, the more water let into the WaterRower and the more the baffle limits air into the flywheel of an air rower results in higher resistance per machine. In terms of being able to accommodate to varying strength levels and rowing levels, I have found that the WaterRower Natural is able to accurately accommodate to varying strength levels despite how strong one is.

Finess Professional OnlineWhat the difference in the WaterRower Natural boils down to is that, since its resistance level comes from a difference in water, it is resembles the feeling of rowing on the water in an actual boat more so than that of air ergs. A stroke consists of four parts: the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery. With a traditional air erg the stroke feeling consists only of an acceleration phase and a deceleration phase, with the first part of the stroke causing the flywheel to accelerate and the recovery portion of the stroke causing the last part of the stroke to decelerate. With the WaterRower Natural, the entirety of the stroke feels more complex. The initial catch and first part of the stroke cause increased acceleration, and thus even water dispersal in the WaterFlywheel, which causes a decrease in resistance. But towards the end of the drive and throughout the finish the water is no longer evenly dispersed throughout the WaterFlywheel and thus there is a subtle, yet increased resistance to the third part of the stroke. It is because of this variance, even if very slight, that I feel the WaterRower Natural has a more realistic feel to that of the water. A complete stroke is not just increased acceleration and then deceleration alone, but rather a more complex process that the WaterRower Natural’s mechanics allow it to capture. This aspect seems to set the WaterRower Natural apart from other ergs, and allows for a more realistic, water-like experience.

All in all I would say that the WaterRower Natural with S4 Monitor is an ideal choice for a water rowing machine. Although I know this review might not be enough to convince the Concept2 die-hards out there to switch teams to the WaterRower Natural, it is safe to say that this machine is indeed not only beautiful to look at, but smooth and pleasurable to row on.

Kathryn Ryan

Kathryn Ryan

Kathryn Ryan is a third year student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and she is pursuing a double major in both Psychology and Communication. She loves the outdoors, and in her free time you can most likely find her at the beach or hiking the beautiful trails of Santa Barbara, California. With a passion for food, one of her favorite hobbies is cooking (and of course, eating!), and she loves to cook meals for both her friends and family. With graduation on the horizon next year, Kathryn hopes to pursue a career in marketing for a non-profit organization.
Kathryn Ryan

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