Top 5 Rowing Machine Accessories

Using a rowing machine at home is a big step – you are committing yourself to using a particular piece of equipment for a prolonged period of time and need to get a minimum amount of usage to justify the investment.

In order to make the experience both as comfortable, and as beneficial as possible, I believe there are a couple of key rowing machine accessories you should have in your possession. This excludes larger periphery items like heart rate monitors or clothing/ shoes, all of which I cover elsewhere on my site but things that are much more closely related to the rowing machine itself. I also believe these are items a bit more commonly overlooked but make a huge difference to performance and enjoyment.

  1. Seat Pad

My first item here is something that I think will probably the make the biggest difference to comfort for all home rowing machine users – a seat pad. It is quite common in the world of crew rowers to use a seat pad, sometimes for adding height in the boat, but quite often for grip and comfort. Given the relative cost compared to the rowing machine, these are a must purchase if you want to get through months and years of long sessions on the rowing machine.

  1. Rowing Machine Mat

This really serves two key uses:

  1. Prevent slipping of the machine
  2. Protect the floor from marks/ sweat

The need for a mat is really dependent on the environment that you have set it up in, but if you feel there is a chance of the machine moving whilst you row or you want to avoid sweat or rowing machine marks on the floor then a purpose made mat is an ideal purchase. This company makes floor mats for all sorts of equipment and comes highly reviewed.

  1. Mirror

This is a purchase for either the more advanced user, or somebody who is very driven to perfect their rowing technique. In my time as a rower, I probably did about 50-60% of all sessions in front of a mirror. They are absolutely great for being able to see your stroke and certain key points e.g. when you draw the handle to on your chest or whether your head is wobbling from side to side. The benefits of a free standing mirror are that you can also move towards the side and look at the angle of your back and analyse many more parts of your strokes.

As I say – this is really only worth the investment if you want to work on your technique. If you are – then training with a mirror is a great way to change things up.

  1. Gloves

Now I have to caveat this suggestion by pointing out that no one in any rowing club wears gloves to use a rowing machine, or indeed in a boat. It is important when you need to have control of an oar to have the best possible grip in all weather, and that simply can’t come from a glove. Given the amount of training done at club or higher levels, calluses are built up quickly and the pain of rowing on the hands just becomes accepted (and we become very good at applying creams and plasters!).

I think the situation for a home user is completely different, and quite often you be someone who wants to avoid having blisters which might both look bad and feel bad during your day job. In this situation, I think using a lightweight glove, or something similar designed for gym users is a worthy investment. I think these palm pads look great – and they will avoid the sweatiness you might get from a full glove.

  1. Sweat Bands

Finally – something I actually rarely see, but something I think can make such a huge different to your grip and enjoyment is such a simple purchase. I always used sweat bands on my wrists, I found I would get sweaty arms, that would then drip to my hands and end up affecting my grip on the hand.

In addition to this – I also found I needed to get unobtrusive ways to mob my forehead when on a rowing machine. Again, do so with bare hands then transfers the sweat to the handle. Using a sweat band by wiping your forehead with your wrist is a great solution. For the very small price, these can make a huge different to your rowing experience!


So there we have it – a wide range of items here, but I really think each one can make a huge difference based on the reasons you row and the environment you use your rowing machine in. To recap, my top 5 accessories are:

  1. Seat Pad
  2. Rowing Machine Mat
  3. Free Standing Mirror
  4. Gloves
  5. Sweat Bands


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *