Difference between a machine and reality?

#1
So I have only ever used a rowing machine and never been out in a boat - mainly due to the fact that Im not a strong swimmer. Is there much difference? Is there a whole different technique? Is it physically harder?
 
#2
Machine is very consistent and it can get boring, whereas rowing outdoors seems to change depending where you are and there is nothing like being in the great outdoors doing a sport you love!
 
#3
There is a profound difference in rowing with a crew. Timing and precision is crucial, not to mention finding your position on the boat.

If you are sculling (by yourself), balance becomes crucial or you might take an involuntary swim or six.
 
#4
It's very different as there's not only an element of balance as your rowing in open waters but also changes in resistance as you row back. Physically it's much more demanding to row on water compared to a machine, although this can obviously depend on the resistance you use on the machine, but the machine also can't replicated the element of balance as your rowing on open water. The other thing which may not effect you but I'm certainly a little paranoid about but personally I prefer to row with my eyes closed which is fine when I'm on the machine but when I'm out at open water closing my eyes is definately a challenge.
 
#5
There is a profound difference in rowing with a crew. Timing and precision is crucial, not to mention finding your position on the boat.

If you are sculling (by yourself), balance becomes crucial or you might take an involuntary swim or six.
I agree 100%. Everything matters and the slightest slip-up can have you swimming. I had to learn this the hard way though.
 
#6
I would love to do outdoor rowing, but I'm also not a strong swimmer. There's a community college that offers rowing classes during the summer. I love watching the classes. Sigh...one day.
 
#7
One thing Ive always wondered is how do you watch where you are going? How can you see any potential hazards in your way when you are facing the other way?
 
#8
I'd have to say one of the main differences for me is the environment in which you do it. Doing it in actual water like a lake is better for me since you have more space around and scenery.
 
#9
Man, I cannot believe I missed this thread!!! Rowing on an erg is NOTHING compared to rowing on water. Firstly, the scenery is amazing, you get to see fish below you, the water can be as clear as a crystal and the sunrise is phenomenal in the mornings. Rowing is the best, hands down!!! Secondly, you get to row in a crew, where you get to form close relationships with each other, and you also get to participate in actual races.

The only downside to that is that you have to wake up early to get to the river at 5 (for me, that is - you don't have to do that!), but I reckon it is totally worth it!
 
#10
On a machine you are a lot more stable. The resistance changes on water, you need more strength to balance and stabilise yourself, especially when sculling. Learn to swim and find out for yourself, rowing on water is great fun.
 
#11
It kind of seems like the machine would get boring and stale after a while. You get to look at pretty scenery when you are rowing outdoors. Not to mention, you get to be in fresh air. I think indoor rowing is far more for exercising purposes than outdoor rowing. You miss out on the beauty of rowing when you do it indoors. :confused:
 
#12
So I have only ever used a rowing machine and never been out in a boat - mainly due to the fact that Im not a strong swimmer. Is there much difference? Is there a whole different technique? Is it physically harder?
I just am not the "gym" type. I tried for years to stick with gyms, including rowing exercises, but now that I get outdoors, it is actually fun. I don't think exercise should be a job. I mean, some folks have to get there exercise when they can, outside of work. So I think gyms serve a great purpose. I know I am fortunate to be able to do all my exercise outdoors. I have a hill in my backyard to hike, and a river less then a block away that has a perfect mile of rowing area (slow water).

I think that the difference between a rowing machine, and rowing on water, is equal to the difference between using a weight machine, or free-weights. Like someone said above, the machine is consistent, and unchanging pretty much. But water/current can change so you get an amazing work-out. I've worn my heart monitor just to see, and I've easily burned 300 calories in less then an hour (ok, so maybe not so much to some):cool: And that's typical for hiking/walking just using my legs.
 
#13
The elliptical rowing machines (of which I own one) give a reasonably good physical representation of the motion of rowing. But since I started rowing on a daily basis, the rowing machine has not been used. It is boring and just to get through a 20 minute exercise session was a real drag.
By comparison, I was out rowing today for 4.7 miles and 1 hour and 24 minutes. And I wanted to stay out on the lake for more rowing!
I'm also enthusiastic about the navigation aspect of rowing (actually going somewhere, seeing the scenery, etc.)
Here is a video clip of today's rowing adventure where I integrate using my new GPS with rowing exercise.

Rowing is an esoteric experience of mind, body and nature. :)
A rowing machine is just sweat and boredom. :(
 
#14
I can see where having a machine in the winter would come in handy, especially if you live in a cold climate. I would prefer the real thing anyday, but due to lack of funds at the moment, it is an unrealized dream.
 
#15
I think both have positives. If the weather is bad out obviously you can opt for the machine and still get your work out in. I'd rather be out doors more times than not. As I just find it more enjoyable and refreshing. Gives you time to kind of get out and about and to think. As well as take in some scenery and some natural air.
 
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