The LifeSpan RW7000 Commercial rowing machine certainly looks the part - sleek, tough, durable and great to use. And it has to be, being a rower aimed at the gym and home market, while coming up against some stiff competition. And if it can hack it in a gym with constant use, then imagine how long it could last with the odd hour in your home.
So moving on. This is an easy model to assemble - even if your DIY skills are limited, it shouldn't provide much of a challenge.
The build-quality is top-notch and you immediately get the impression this will last for years. The stainless-steel rail and nickel-coated steel chain means minimal maintenance is required, plus it adds to the great look-and-feel.
The rowing position is very comfortable. Getting on and off is easy when the seat sits 19" off the floor. The seat itself is shaped for maximum comfort and support, the handle is angled and well-padded allowing for a good grip and no possibility of hand blisters (not recommended if you want to row daily!)
The resistance is a hybrid system of air and magnets. The magnetic part keeps the noise down, while the air fan provides the realistic action of 'real' rowing - as in, the harder you pull, the harder it resists - just like water. The RW7000 has 16 levels of resistance which offers a wide variation of workouts.
A big advance of a magnetic system is the computer can control the resistance level without you having to stop and operate the lever. This is great for the built-in programs as the levels will adjust to keep you on target for your workouts - see below for more information.
The 5.5" LCD Blue, backlit screen sits on an adjustable arm, and is simplicity in itself to use. We really like the blue - makes a change from the black on gray displays you find on most machines.
The screen display all the data you need to monitor your progress, plus watts. Watts respresents how hard you're working out, and gives you the option of doing Tabata Rowing Workouts - really challenging training sessions for quick results.
The computer has 8 workout programs to choose from. These include goal-setting where you select whether it's distance, calories or time that's your target, or one of our favorites, race mode - you compete against the computer. Another option is the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - they ain't easy but boy, can they deliver fast results if you stick with them.
The LifeSpan RW7000 Commercial rower is a sleek, no-nonsense machine that's built to last but also for ease of use and comfort. The workout programs are a real bonus with a wide range of options that will prevent your training becoming dull and repetitive. It has the feel of a gym machine that's priced to tempt many home users - you won't be disappointed, and you'll be really fit if you use it on a regular basis. All-in-all it's a great rowing machine.
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The obvious contender in this price range is the ever-popular Concept2 Model E, or the unique Assault AirRower is something to seriously consider. Or if you can stretch your budget, the remarkable Hydrow Reality is taking indoor rowing to the next level.