There is no shortage of Black Friday rowing machine deals (opens in new tab) this year, but the Ergatta Rower (down $350 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)) offers something different from all of them. It’s a rowing machine for people who, for all intents and purposes, aren’t overly interested in rowing. This might seem counterproductive, but let us explain.
We put the Ergatta Rower to the test last month and, while the concept confused our fitness writer at first, they were soon hooked. You see, the brand understands the many health benefits of using a rowing machine (opens in new tab), such as its ability to provide a comprehensive low impact, full-body workout (something that can’t be said for the best treadmills (opens in new tab) and exercise bikes). But, it also knows that not everyone finds racking up the miles on a rower particularly enjoyable.
So, Ergatta set out to make fitness fun with a range of games and races based on the addictive principle of mobile gaming. And, after putting it to the test, we think it succeeded, promptly placing it in our roundup of the best rowing machines.
Rather than standard interval or HIIT sessions, you are challenged to reach targets or chase down high scores. Brightly-colored graphics on the 17.3-inch Android-powered touchscreen distract you from the physical task at hand, and you can compete against fellow members of the Ergatta community.
These features combine to provide added motivation to get back on the rower, and our writer found the engaging games meant they were covering thousands of meters without even realizing.
It’s for this reason that we think the Ergatta Rower’s discounted (but still undoubtedly high) Black Friday price of $2,149.99 (opens in new tab) could be great value for some people. After all, if a piece of fitness equipment can keep you coming back for more and contribute to a healthy lifestyle, then it’s worth its weight in gold.
That’s certainly what our tester found with the Ergatta Rower’s racing feature. It pits you against several fellow Ergatta owners in a head-to-head sprint to the finish, all shown on the touchscreen through exciting real-time graphics.
This is brilliant for anyone with even one iota of competitive spirit, whether that’s one previously been awakened by sport or gaming. Our writer repeatedly found themselves squeezing in a race here and there to improve on their results.
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Another feature setting the Ergatta apart is its customized training. When you set up your account, you’re asked to perform a short test and you’re assigned a “class” depending on your performance.
From this point onwards, all games, races and training sessions will be tailored to your fitness level, with the Ergatta platform recognising improvements in performance and changing the difficulty accordingly. The result? Challenging but achievable workout goals that always hit the spot.
The final thing to note about the Ergatta Rower is its design. While the platform itself is very much future-facing, the handcrafted cherrywood frame is more classically styled, making it a sleek addition to any home workout space. It can also fold flat and be stored upright against a wall, if you’re looking to save floor space between workouts.
Even so, there’s no denying that avid exercisers might benefit from a more traditional machine like the ever-in-demand Concept2 RowErg (opens in new tab). Meanwhile, beginners that want to get to grips with the sport of rowing may prefer the exemplary Hyrow Rower and its more affordable cousin, the Hydrow Wave, which have both had their prices slashed in the Black Friday sale (opens in new tab). But if you’re tired of traditional workouts and need something new to refresh your relationship with fitness, I think the Ergatta Rower might just do the trick.