Ergatta rower review after 124,798 meters of rowing

TThe Ergatta rower is the best-looking piece of workout equipment you’ll ever own. However, that’s not the only thing that makes it great. Any rower is capable of engaging 86 percent of your muscles (as opposed to stationary bikes and treadmills), but the Ergatta stands out for an engaging, gamified experience unlike any other. For the purpose of an in-depth and unbiased review of the Ergatta rower, I set out to aim for at least 100,000 meters of rowing. That sounds like a lot, because it is. But getting there was easy because the Ergatta rower is strategically designed to break the monotony of rowing. For me, the best fitness equipment strikes a balance between price, design, technology, and functionality—something Ergatta pulls off with ease.

In terms of connected fitness technology, Ergatta’s content philosophy is different. You are not following along with a human coach who is verbally motivating you. To be clear, the Ergatta experience is not the same as Peloton, and that’s what I love about it. I don’t need an overwhelmingly charismatic instructor shouting through the screen to motivate me. Ergatta doesn’t film fitness classes; It continuously develops software to improve the rowing experience. You are actively participating in a game, perhaps competing against other people. You get real-time feedback. You are interacting with and controlling the experience from start to finish. The result is a streamlined, efficient, and perfectly distilled workout that fits seamlessly into your day like the rower itself blends into your decor.

Ergatta Rower – $2,499.00

The optional $29 monthly subscription allows for unlimited user profiles and a wonderful variety of programming.

Use code BF500 to save $500 on Black Friday 2022.

Ergatta rower design

In a word, Ergatta feels the rich. (It’s even better.) Made for Ergatta by a Rhode Island waterrower, everything from the Brooklyn-based company’s solid cherrywood rower-handle grip and seat slide to the white-glove delivery is extremely special. It comes fully assembled and upon delivery, a technician sets it up in the room of your choice to ensure everything is working properly. (You can put it together yourself, but I think you’re just asking for trouble if you do.) When making such a big investment — and it’s an investment in your health — you’ll want to consider the customer service experience; I found that any issues were resolved easily and without delay.

Rowing is basically resistance training married with cardio and strength training, but there are four main types of resistance: air (most common), hydraulic (least common), magnetic (new) and water (my favorite). It comes down to personal preference, but I find the water rower’s jerk is much more satisfying and realistic than a comparable air rower. (Full disclosure: I also own a Concept2, which is a great machine, but it’s been in the basement and I haven’t used it since the Ergatta rower came out.) No, it’s not rowing. in the waterBut because the flywheel is rotating through real waterThe general sensation feels more natural, eliminating any dead spots (mid-stroke resistance drop) you’d get with an air rower.

Weighing just over 100 pounds (including water), the Ergatta rower is about 7 feet long. In the upright position, however, it takes up no more floor space than a small chair. My rower sits against the wall in my dining room, but you can easily keep it out of sight in your bedroom or wheel it into a closet when not in use. If you’re dealing with limited space and don’t have, say, a designated room for all your fitness equipment, rest assured you’ll get nothing but compliments from inquisitive visitors.

A picture of an ergatta rower standing against the wall in the bedroom.
The rower rests unobstructed against the wall when not in use. (Photo: Ergatta)

The foot stretchers on the Ergatta rower are narrower than some other rowers, which other reviews have noted is not ideal, especially for larger people. But at 5 feet, 9 inches, I have no problem with it. In fact, I enjoy the compact rowing experience because, again, it reminds me of rowing on water in a narrow racing shell. Standing at 6 feet, 4 inches, my partner also had no problem with the size of the machine. In general, Ergatta rowers support users up to 500 pounds with a maximum inseam of 40-inches (typically 6 feet, 8 inches in height).

Ergatta interface

The crystal clear, 17-inch ergatta tablet sharply displays informative data visualizations with a truly pleasing color palette. You can review your progress after each workout as it tracks your total distance, average and best split time (how long it takes you to row 500 meters), calories (the amount of energy you expended), total number of workouts completed, and more. To set up the tablet, you must first connect to your Wi-Fi network This allows for regular updates from Ergatta, ensuring you never run out of new workouts to try. Even better, Bluetooth is built into the tablet which lets you connect your heart rate monitor and AirPods or other wireless headphones (which is great, because tablets don’t have speakers). You can also connect to Strava or your WHOOP fitness tracker, and a newly released iOS companion app syncs effortlessly with Apple Health.

An example of data visualization for the Race mode in Ergatta Rower.
An example of data visualization for race mode. (Photo: Ergatta)

The tablet is responsive and easy to navigate. I have to admit that normally I’m the kind of person who looks past tutorials, but for the purposes of this review, I went through each one to make sure I understood the full capabilities of the Ergatta Rower. If anything is lacking, this is more instruction on how to use the rowing machine outside of the “Rowing for Beginners” plan. An effective (and injury-free) rowing workout requires good technique, something that can take years to perfect.

The dynamic 3D racecourse is part of a recent update that isn’t my favorite. The fuzzy visualizations make me nauseous. I doubt I’m the only user who’s experienced this, as Ergatta quickly pushed out a later update that lets you go back to the more simplified visualizations that I prefer.

Ergatta rower workout experience

I couldn’t wait to start rowing, and Ergatta wasted no time prompting me to complete the initial calibration of my profile with a 2,000-meter row, which took me about 8 minutes. (The diagnostic row is now 1,000 meters, which is much more accessible to new rowers or those who haven’t rowed in years.)

After every 10 workouts the machine automatically recalibrates to match you with other rowers at your skill level, using the information to determine your effort level and difficulty for four “intensity zones” in future workouts:

  • Pedal (55 to 75 percent effort): Low intensity. Breathing is easy. Good for warm-up, cool-down and recovery.
  • Steady (75 to 85 percent effort) moderate intensity. Heavy breathing can sustain a conversation.
  • Race (85 to 95 percent effort): Aggressive intensity. Heavy breathing, difficulty speaking.
  • Sprint (100 percent effort): Maximum intensity. Difficulty breathing, unable to speak.

Now, this is not a humble brag, but I am competitive, and I found myself eager to recalibrate the machine, as it first paired me with other rowers that I could easily beat. That said, I love racing against myself, using different rowing techniques to figure out how to most efficiently complete a 5,000m race. One feature I really enjoy is the ability to choose other rowers based on their ranking. My average split for about 125,000 meters is 2:01 (with a personal record of 1:25), so if I’m trying to push myself, I’ll pick several rowers with splits 10 to 15 seconds faster than me (ie, alongside some slower speed rower so as not to bruise my ego too badly). Ergatta has since pushed out a new update with classifications to better match your skills with other Ergatta rowers. You can even challenge your friends.

“Our workouts and instructions adapt to you, not the other way around,” says Tom Olette, co-founder and CEO of Ergatta. “It’s not just a video file [of an instructor] Tells you what to do.” Because Ergatta’s software is like a game, the whole experience is calibrated to my individual abilities. As I get better at rowing, the system adjusts to maximize my potential.

Currently, Ergatta offers four ways to work up a sweat on its rowers (a total of 870 workouts at the time of this review):

1. Pulse Workout: Pulse workouts are highly structured intervals that challenge you to hit and maintain personalized strokes-per-minute and split goals. Workout sections focus on endurance, HIIT and technique. The Pulse Workout proves you don’t have to go out to break a sweat.

2. Race Workout: I spend most of my time in race-based competitions against myself and other members of the Ergatta community. “The 5K” offers a perfect 20-minute workout, but I really enjoy long races with fast sprints and evenly spaced intervals. This type proved most interesting to me as a competitor even though the races are asynchronous (ie, not live), although Ergatta ensures that there are new experiences in the future.

3. Meteor Workout: Meteor workouts are inspired by classic 2D side-scrolling video games. You must collect tokens while flying through space at different target speeds that are specially calibrated. The harder you row, the more points you get.

4. Open the row: Open row workouts are the least structured of the four. Whip at your own pace and row. That’s it.

Combining a series of interval and race workouts that unlock one after the other, skillfully designed push programs are the most interesting long-term and where I’ve seen the most progress. Each program is organized around an ultimate challenge, incorporating what I’ve learned to improve strength and endurance. In fact, “The Power Hour” is my personal favorite for its meditative qualities. Yes, it’s intense, but I just blank and row my mind.

Bottom Line: After a thorough review, the Ergatta Rower is worth it

ergatta rower review
The cherrywood rower’s arm folds smartly. (Photo: Ergatta)

The Ergatta rower is not a cheap piece of equipment, but after careful review, I believe it pulls double if not triple duty, replacing a treadmill, a stationary bike, and even a set of weights to provide a lower impact. – Physical exercise for people of all ages and abilities. It looks beautiful and the software is remarkably intuitive.

Ergatta rowers are fun. That’s the bottom line. It’s the only piece of gym equipment I’ve used in the last six months and I’ve never felt better. As Ergatta puts it, their workouts can win you over.

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