I get asked this A LOT! What is that rowing machine being used by Frank Underwood in House of Cards?
Well, this is a machine that is now getting a lot more popular – and its sales are spiking during every appearance on the show. However, you still don’t see it in many gyms, and you especially don’t see it in many rowing clubs.
Anyway, to cut to the case. Frank Underwood is using the imaginatively named WaterRower – which is an innovative addition to the rowing machine market. It is an incredibly sleek looking machine, and one with a novel propulsion system given typical rowing machines use air or magnets – the WaterRower uses an enclosed case of water to act as the main resistance. It is a machine that has a lot of traction as a rowing machine for home use given its reduced noise output compared to fan/ air rowers. I would also suggest that the scene where it breaks is definitely a shot for tv – these machines are of a very high quality!
I have written a review comparing this to the most popular rowing machine on the market (Concept2 vs WaterRower) if you wanted to see some more thoughts on it as a long term investment. I think there is a reason that sales are soaring for WaterRower, and that is because this really is a high quality piece of gym equipment.Buy on amazon
Aesthetically, it’s one of the best looking indoor rowing machines you can buy as it is made of solid ash wood and finished with a honey-oak stain. This is great for those who need to keep it in their living room as it is unobtrusive and is more likely to match your interior décor. An added bonus here is that if it is incorporated into a living area, you’re much more likely to use it. Even if it isn’t out on display, it easily folds up without the need to disassemble it and it has been designed to be sorted upright – perfect for saving space.
As the name suggests, this is water powered, and with the added fact that this machine is handcrafted from wood, it absorbs noise and vibrations. In fact, the only noise it produces is the gentle sloshing of the water in the tank. Much quieter than the Concept2 and could be a better option for a home gym in close proximity of others in the house.
On the subject of the tank, this wonderfully smooth rowing machine features a patented water flywheel. Enclosed in a tank of water, the flywheel is not only very quiet, but is designed to simulate the feel of being in an actual rowing boat. In a way it does, as you can’t just hammer your strokes out, you need to build the pace and be a bit more considered. However to those used to the Concept2, it is a very big change! The self-regulated resistance provided by this water flywheel means that the faster you row, the more resistance you feel.
The computer on the machine – whilst not as advanced as that on a Concept2 which is aimed at competitive rowers – is very user-friendly. The monitor tracks intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, duration, distance and other statistics. For a home user wanting just to be able to track their progress over time, it has all that you need.
Hope this helps answer the question!
Below is a great video of the WaterRower in action.