Best Online Rowing Classes

Hydrow is the best overall online rowing classes

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Using a rowing machine can be an excellent way to exercise, practice rowing, and build your muscles. Rowing sessions can use up to 86% of the muscles in your body, providing a total-body burn every time. Rowing can be especially good for people with limitations that may make other exercise options painful or unsafe. Rowing is safe for those who are blind or have low vision, as well as people who have joint issues related to their ankles, knees, hips, elbows, or shoulders.

Online rowing classes’ trainers and coaches can push you to improve your technique and provide technical advice while you work out at home. All online rowing classes require you to have a rower at home, and some have a unique rower that you can purchase. The best online rowing classes are led by fun and engaging instructors, set to great music, and offer various intensity levels. Here are our top picks for online rowing classes.

Best Online Rowing Classes

Best Overall : Hydrow Wave


Key Specs
  • Price: Machines starting at $1,695, plus $465 per year for an all-access class membership
  • App available: Yes
  • Machine required: Yes
Why We Chose It

Hydrow offers a Peloton-like experience on its rowers with high-energy live classes, competitive leaderboards, and racing challenges. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Sleek design with large screen

  • Excellent classes and instructors

  • Supports Bluetooth devices

Cons
  • Expensive, starting at $1,695 for the machine and $465/year for access to classes

  • Must purchase Hydrow rower for interactive experience

  • Limited workouts off the rower

Overview

The Hydrow Wave rower is sleek in design and offers all the benefits of an interactive home workout machine. It is one of the most popular in-home rowing machines due to its live and on-demand classes, competitive leaderboards, and racing challenges. 

The rower has experienced and engaging instructors, a large display, and many classes to choose from. You can select on-demand classes anytime or choose from one of the many live classes available throughout the day. 

Hydrow's app is excellent for all skill levels and allows you to track your workouts and look back on previous classes to view progress. There are classes for beginners such as “how to row” and others for more experienced rowers. 

The Hydrow Wave machine costs $1,695 and the annual class subscription costs $465. You have the option to finance the rower for a monthly payment and users report that it is high-quality, durable, and long-lasting. 

Online reviews state that the app does not allow you to filter workouts, which can be frustrating if you like a specific kind of class. Overall, if you’re looking to purchase a rower for your home and want an interactive and dynamic experience, Hydrow has all the features you need and more.

Best on a Budget : Asensei


Asensei

 Asensei

Key Specs
  • Price: $12.50 per month
  • App available: Yes
  • Machine required: Yes
Why We Chose It

Sensei's app only costs $12.50 per month and can be used with any compatible rower, which is great for those who want to try rowing with a low monthly commitment.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • On-demand classes

  • Real-time feedback

  • Customized training plan

Cons
  • Must purchase a phone cradle

  • Only works with compatible rowers

Overview

Asensei is designed to be a personal training and rowing app in one. You can download the app to your phone and connect it with several compatible rowing machines. If you don’t have a personal rowing machine but have access to a gym with one, you’ll still be able to get started rowing without the major financial commitment required by other programs. 

Compared to other apps on the market, Asensei is budget-friendly at just $12.50 per month. With your subscription, you’ll have access to thousands of rowing classes, customized training plans, real-time feedback during classes, and the ability to train with Olympic-level athletes. If you’re looking for an app that gives you detailed feedback and a customized training program, then Asensei is a great choice.

Best for Strength Training : CityRowGO


CityRowGO

 CityRowGO

Key Specs
  • Price: Rowing machine starts at $1,499, plus app subscription for $29 per month
  • App available: Yes
  • Machine required: Yes
Why We Chose It

CityRowGO’s classes are a combination of strength training and rowing, which means you’re in for maximum calorie burn.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • High-intensity classes

  • Combines strength training with rowing

  • Well-designed water rower

Cons
  • Somewhat expensive subscription

  • Water rower is slightly louder than magnetic rowers

Overview

If you are a fan of water rowers but also want classes that combine rowing and strength training, CityRowGo is a great option. You have the option to purchase CityRow’s high-quality rowing machine for live classes and benefit from the 19.5-inch screen, but you can also download the app to complete classes on a rower you already have at home. 

The rower starts at $1,499 plus $29 per month for a subscription to access classes. The classes are interactive and highlight your stats on the screen. Online reviewers share that the instructors are energetic and engaging.

If you want access to fun and interactive classes that bring rowing and strength training together, look no further than CityRowGo.

Best for Beginners : Dark Horse Rowing


Dark Horse Rowing

 Dark Horse Rowing

Key Specs
  • Price: $19 per month or $190 per year
  • App available: No
  • Machine required: Yes
Why We Chose It

Dark Horse Rowing offers beginner-friendly rowing classes that will help you learn the basics while also providing you with a fitness community.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • On-demand classes

  • Beginner-friendly programs

  • Warm-up, strength, and flexibility programs in addition to traditional rowing options

Cons
  • No app

  • Fewer workout options than some larger programs

Overview

Dark Horse Rowing was created by CrossFit athlete Shane Farmer and has grown in popularity since it started in 2015. You don’t need rowing experience to start rowing. The beginner program is designed to teach you how to use your rower efficiently with many easy-to-follow classes. And if you don’t have your own rower, that’s okay; this program also works for those who want to use a rower at the gym. 

As you progress and get stronger, you’ll have the option to upgrade to more advanced classes and workout routines.  You’ll also have access to a private community from the day you join, where you can find support from peers and coaches. 

While peers can cheer you on and share tips from their own journey, coaches can offer direct support to help you improve your technique. You can count on a response when you ask questions or send videos of your form to a coach. 

Dark Horse Rowing does not have its own app, but all programs are available online through its website. Subscriptions cost $19 per month or $190 per year.

Best for Variety : Apple Fitness +


Apple Fitness +

 Apple Fitness +

Key Specs
  • Price: $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year
  • App available: Yes
  • Machine required: Yes
Why We Chose It

Apple Fitness+ offers many classes in addition to rowing to challenge your body in different ways and add variety to your routine.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Integrates with Apple Watch

  • Can use any rowing machine

  • Great music

Cons
  • Not available for Android

  • Need an Apple watch

  • Many classes require equipment

Overview

Apple Fitness+ recently started offering rowing classes online, and it’s a great option for Apple users who already have a machine at home and want to do other workouts as well. The app shows your calories and heart rate on the screen during your workout if you are wearing an Apple watch. You can use the app with any rowing machine and can take it with you anywhere you go. 

The classes can be streamed on-demand on any Apple device such as your iPhone or iPad. There are fewer rowing classes available than other apps that focus solely on rowing, but the variety of other classes included, such as strength training, aerobics, dance fitness, yoga, and stretching, more than make up for it. Instructors curate their own playlists from the Apple music library, and reviews state that the music choices help the classes go by quickly.

Apple Fitness+ is free for the first month and $9.99 per month thereafter. If you purchase an Apple Watch, you will get three months of the app free. Unfortunately, it is only available on iOS, and you must have an Apple Watch to view metrics. You can filter rowing workouts by type, time, instructor, or music, and it gives you personalized suggestions on workouts you may like.

Best for Games : Aviron


Aviron

Aviron

Key Specs
  • Price: Machines starting at $2,000, plus $300 per year (or $29 per month) for membership
  • App available: Yes
  • Machine required: Yes
Why We Chose It

This program knows how to keep things fresh with challenges, multiplayer games, and a supportive online community.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Over 500 games, challenges, and workouts 

  • Includes gamified options

  • Added strength training available with 100+ lbs of resistance 

  • Onboarding for beginners helps you learn the program 

Cons
  • Expensive machine and program to maintain

  • Games and coins may not be of interest to more solitary rowers 

Overview 

Boring classes make it less likely that you’ll stick with any workout program. Thankfully, with Aviron, you’ll never have to worry about getting bored. After purchasing your machine, you’ll watch a comprehensive walk-through and onboarding video to help you understand how to get the most out of your machine. After that, you’ll be able to jump right into the fun. 

Aviron offers standard workouts but also includes single-player and multiplayer games, races, and challenges. You can coordinate your workouts with real-life friends or race against other app members. Each time you participate in a race, challenge, or workout (and for each minute you row) you’ll also earn virtual coins that you can exchange for app extras like unique backgrounds and access to special courses and games. 

While fun is a major focus of Aviron, it doesn't come at the expense of getting in a good workout. Aviron games are designed to ensure your workouts are comprehensive, and the many class offerings allow you to focus on different priorities, like strength training or cardio. You can also search classes by length, and Aviron offers lots of short classes, so that you’re able to squeeze in a high-intensity workout even when you’re short on time. 

Aviron is the only rowing machine in its class to offer gamified fun that will encourage you to return to the machine again and again. 

Final Verdict 

At-home rowing workouts have come a long way, and interactive rowers allow you to feel like you are part of a class or rowing outdoors without having to leave home. The best overall online rowing class is Hydrow. With Hydrow, you’ll have a high-quality rowing machine that you can use to participate in interactive live and on-demand classes at any time. 

If you’re searching for a budget option, Asensei is an excellent choice. It’s compatible with several rowing machines, so you’ll be able to use the app at a gym or with a rower of your own. 

If you’re a beginner, Dark Horse is an excellent option. With classes created just for beginners, you can safely start this program even if you’ve never used a rowing machine before. 

Guide to Choosing the Best Online Rowing Classes

What Are Online Rowing Classes? 

Online rowing classes are designed to give you the experience of an in-studio rowing class at home. Classes are instructor-led and accompanied by music or interesting visuals. Classes are available live or on-demand and often allow you to compete against others, sync with Bluetooth devices such as a heart rate monitor or headphones, and track your progress as you go. 

Comparing Online Rowing Classes

When you’re choosing an online rowing class you’ll want to consider a few factors:

  • Price: Rowing programs range in cost from around $20 per month to several thousand dollars in machine and subscription costs. Think about how much you’re able to spend both monthly and upfront when considering which program will be your best fit. 
  • Machine requirements: Some rowing programs consist entirely of an app that can be used with any machine. Others consist of apps that can only be used with specific rowing machines. Still other programs require the purchase of specific machines and annual class subscriptions. Your preference for specific machines may ultimately determine your program choice. 
  • Experience level: While most online rowing classes boast that they can serve both beginners and experts, some are geared more specifically towards beginners while others are for more experienced rowers. Be sure to read reviews and consider which programs are a better fit for your current and desired level. 

Are Online Rowing Classes Worth the Cost? 

Depending on your goals, your budget, and how much you use your rowing machine, online rowing classes may or may not be worth it. Rowing classes tend to require more of an investment than many other forms of exercise, as you must have access to a rowing machine in order to participate. If you choose a program that does not require you to have your own machine and you have access to a gym with a rowing machine, you may be able to try out rowing classes without purchasing expensive equipment. 

If you want to improve your fitness, strengthen your muscles, and are committed to participating in the online rowing classes you sign up for and use the machine you purchase (if you purchase a machine) then online rowing classes are worth the cost. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Online Rowing Class?

Online rowing classes are designed to give you the experience of an in-studio rowing class at home. Classes are instructor-led and accompanied by music or interesting visuals. Classes are available live or on-demand and often allow you to compete against others, sync with Bluetooth devices such as a heart rate monitor or headphones, and track your progress as you go. 

Do I Need to Buy a Rower?

It is necessary to purchase a rower because it's challenging to complete an at-home rowing class without a rower. You can, however, use an app at the gym if you do not have a rower at home. 

Can I Take a Class As a Newbie?

Absolutely! We love that many online rowing programs have classes designed for beginners that focus on teaching you proper form, breathing, and more. You can also choose your classes based on elements like time and intensity, making it easy to find ones at your level. 

How Long Should You Work Out on a Rowing Machine?

A 20- to 30-minute workout can give your body the workout and burn you're likely looking for. More than anything, it's important that you're consistent to get the best results.

What Are the Health Benefits of Rowing?

Rowing is a great full-body, low-impact cardiovascular workout that will help increase your endurance and strengthen your coordination over time. It can help you burn more calories, lose weight, manage your blood sugar, decrease blood pressure, and more. Since it is easy on your joints, rowing is terrific for people of all ages or those with prior injuries.

How Often Should You Row?

How often you row per week will depend on your goals. If you plan to use rowing as your primary form of exercise, consider rowing three to five days per week. If you plan to use rowing as a supplementary exercise to your regular routine, rowing one to two times per week may be more than enough. In general, it is recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day at least 5 days per week.

How Can You Track Your Rowing Distance?

Many of the apps that pair with rowing machines will track your rowing distance. If your app or program of choice does not automatically do this, you may be able to use your Apple Watch or another fitness tracker to track your rowing distance.

How Long Should You Work Out on a Rowing Machine?

This depends on your goals and current fitness levels. If you’re just starting out and learning how to use a rowing machine, you may want to begin with shorter, less intense workouts. If you're intermediate or advanced, you might want to row for 30 to 60 minutes.

Methodology

 We searched for the best online rowing classes available in the U.S. and considered eight companies in our research. Rowing classes fall into one of two categories: companies with their own at-home rower with an interactive screen and live classes similar to a Peloton, or those that are app-based and designed to work with any rower you have at home. We included a mix of both to provide you with options, depending on whether you already own a rower or not. We compared things such as cost, availability, class types, and customer reviews to compile our list. Overall, the best online rowing class for you depends on personal preferences, experience level, and whether you already have a rower at home.

Young woman exercising in gym with rowing machine

Westend61 / Getty Images

Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Nystoriak MA, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular effects and benefits of exercise. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018;5:135. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135

  2. Shin KY, Choi EH, Lim JY, Cho AR, Lim YH. Effects of indoor rowing exercise on the body composition and the scoliosis of visually impaired people: a preliminary study. Ann Rehabil Med. 2015;39(4):592. doi:10.5535/arm.2015.39.4.592

By Natasha Freutel, M.S., O.T.
Natasha is a writer and occupational therapist who has covered health and wellness topics for Healthline, Livestrong, and Fitness magazine. Her expertise lies in rehabilitation and therapeutic exercise, personal training, and geriatrics.

Edited by
Ally Hirschlag
Allison "Ally" Hirschlag

Ally is a senior editor for Verywell, who covers topics in the health, wellness, and lifestyle spaces. She has written for The Washington Post, Scientific American, The Guardian, BBC Future, and more.

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Updated by
Julia Pelly
Julia Pelly

Julia is an expert in maternal and child health who has written for NatGeo.com, TIME.com, NYT.com, and more. She also consults with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations in addition to her writing.

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