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A rowing machine is hands down one of the best full body workouts anyone can undertake. It’s closest thing to actually rowing without entering the water.
As rowers are typical taller persons, it’s no wonder that there are so many complaints about rowing machines being too short. Fortunately, we are here to present the best rowing machines for tall people to comfortably fit in so that we all can get in one of the best exercises known.
Tall People Love To Row
It’s not just a myth that rowing is typically known as a tall person sport. According to the BBC UK, the average height for an Olympic rowing male is between 6’3″ to 6’5″ with Women rowers averaging a height of 5’11” to 6’1″. With the average height in the United States being for Males 5’9″ while Women average 5’3.5″.
Being taller, you certainly do get an advantage in typical rowing. The extra long levers (arms, legs, lungs and larger lungs for deeper breathes) allow you to maximize your full stride. In a boat this is extremely beneficial. But on a rowing machine, this can be detrimental to your workout if the machine is simply not built for your height and inseam measurements.
If the seat of the rowing machine smacks into the back, you are not using your full strides and are limited in your movements. This is what we want to avoid when buying a tall persons rowing machine.
Quick Links To Info On This Page
- 1 Rowers With Inseams Up To 44 Inches
- 2 How To Choose A Rowing Machine For A Taller Person
- 3 General Inseam Measurements For Rowing Machines
- 4 The Very Best Rowing Machine For A Tall Person
- 5 High End Commercial Rowing Machine 6’8″ Height
- 6 Best Water Rower For Taller Users
- 7 44 Inch Inseam Rower For Tall People
- 8 Top Rated Budget Tall Persons Rower
- 9 The Types Of Rowing Machines Explained
- 10 Does Being Tall Give You The Rowing Advantage
Rowers With Inseams Up To 44 Inches
In a hurry?. Below you can find a recap of the rowing machines listed below. Ranging from premium versions to the more affordable options to suit people on all budgets.
|User Height||Inseam||Check Price|
|6'6" Estimate||38"||Check Price Amazon|
|6'8"||36" Estimate||Check Price Amazon|
|6'8" Estimate||39"-40"||Check Price Amazon|
|Over 6'8"||44"||Check Price Amazon|
|6'7" Estimate||38"||Check Price Amazon|
How To Choose A Rowing Machine For A Taller Person
Below I have revealed a few of the known rowing machines that have a longer rail or come with an extension rail to cater to taller people. But if you continue your search beyond these recommendations, there are some key features to look for. It’s important to not disregard these as nobody wants to spend quite a bit of money on a product only to be disappointed when you find you that you are too tall for the piece of equipment.
The type of rowing machine doesn’t really matter in regards to how tall you are. But more for style, size of unit and resemblance to the real rowing on water action. At the bottom of this page, I have explained the four types of rowing machines available for further research.
As mentioned earlier, the rail length is important. This is the sliding bar the seat slides on when in action. The longer it is, the more leg room you have. Some models have rail extensions to cater to extra tall people.
Basing your buying choice from other people reviews
Other tall peoples reviews found through online department stores can be beneficial in helping you decide. But it’s important to know that just because someone says that he/she is 6’4″ and yes this rowing machine is suitable, does not 100% guarantee you that it will suit you. Even if you are 6’4″ as well.
This is because people have different inseam measurements. The inseam measurement is when you measure from the inner thigh to the top of your ankle. Typically represented in inches.
So back to the above 6’4″ scenario. This person may be the same height as you, but may have an inseam measurement of 34″. Which is pretty average for someone at that height. However, if you have extra long legs, your inseam may be 37″ which is rather long for this height. But nonetheless, it may end up causing you to have cramped legroom due to this false thinking.
So ideally what you want to look for are other people’s review where they mention their height and their inseam measurement. This combined with the measurement of the rail will give you a good indication as to whether the rowing machine will fit your height.
General Inseam Measurements For Rowing Machines
To measure your inseam, stand up against a wall with your back flat against it. Spread your legs 5-7 inches apart. If you are wearing a dress or loose fitting shorts pull them up tight so you give yourself a miniature wedgie. With a tape measure or with the help of someone else, measure the bottom of the groin to the top of your foot.
This will give you your inseam measurement. What this measurement represents is the distance from the top of the rowing machines foot rest and the front of the seat where you sit. So if your inseam is greater than the measurement from the top of the footrest and the front of the seat on the actual rowing machine, then you are not going to be able to get a full stride in. You will feel cramped which is not ideal for rowing.
Men and Women’s inseam measurement will also vary. So do keep this in mind when making your decision. However, here are a few measurements for tall people to help you get started.
- 5’10” to 6 Ft Inseam 32″
- 6’3″ to 6’5″ Inseam 34″
- 6’5″ or taller Inseam 36″ plus
The Very Best Rowing Machine For A Tall Person
Max Inseam: 37″
If you have done any previous research into finding the best water rower for tall people, you have probably noticed there is one rower that gets recommended more than any other. That is the D Model by Concept2 rowing machine, and for very good reason. Do note the Concept2 Model E is just as good and with similar tall person requirements. But it is a bit more expensive and I believe the Model D to be better value overall.
The very first noticeable feature that makes the C2D (Concept2 Model D) stand out fro the rest is it’s quality design. By this, I am directly relating to how far forward the handle go compared to cheaper models. With cheaper models, the furthermost you can push the handle is in line with your feet, or even worse your ankles.
With the C2D, the handles go beyond your feet. This is essential for a full stride. Think about if you were in real rowing conditions, would you hands automatically stop once in line with your feet?. No, for the maximum pull, you need to beyond your feet. This is especially important for tall people as we have longer arms. So the C2D nails it in this department.
Concept2 Model D Maximum User Height
While there is no specified user height maximum, Concept2 does have an inseam max measurement. That is a maximum inseam of 37″. Which can vary in actual user height as some folks have longer legs than others. But as a estimate, around 6’6″.
The good news is that Concept2 has a monorail extension bar which adds another 5 inches to the length of the rail. So this brings the total monorail to a measurement of 59 inches. Should you be 7 foot or more.
So with the height requirements sorted out, the next thing to consider is whether you have space for one of these rowing machines in your apartment/home. The actual floor space required is quite hefty. 9 ft x 4 ft in width is the smallest amount of floor space I would allocate to the Model D. This is because it is 8 ft x 2 ft when assembled.
Save Money On Assembly
Speaking of assembly, do it yourself. Don’t waste money on paying someone to assemble it for you. The only tool needed is a special screwdriver which is actually included. All you need to assemble is the leg/stand. The rest is very simple and straightforward. So save the $50-$100 on assembly. Best part is you an stand this rower up like you see at the Gym to keep floor space open when not in use.
Overall, The Concept2 Model D Is My #1 Recommendation For A Taller Person
The simple tall person facts: Arm reach (handles) go beyond the foot pedals, the inseam measurement suits taller people and the adjustable PM5 monitor height make this rowing machine a clear winner to me. Has a high weight capacity of 500 lbs if you are a big and tall user.
For the reasons mentioned above and the countless recommendations from fellow tall people, I have no doubt the C2D is the best rowing machine for taller than average people. While there is much much more that can be said about this incredible rowing machine, I think I will leave it up to the actual consumer reviews on amazon. They say it far better than I ever could.
High End Commercial Rowing Machine 6’8″ Height
Just when you think it can’t get any better than the Concept2 Model D rowing machine, along comes the VR500 by BodyCraft. This magnetic rower is a beast of a machine is the most solid and stable rower I’ve come across.
In comparison to the Concept2, the VR500 is a much smoother and quieter rowing machine. So working out in front of the TV is no longer a noise complaint. This model is also a little higher off the ground than the concept2 Model D. But similar height to the Model E.
How Tall? 6’8″ Are You Serious?
The VR500 has a specified height maximum of 6’8″. But if you remember me saying early on, that inseam measurements matter too. While I couldn’t track down an official inseam measurement, the closest documentation I came across was a user with a 36″ inseam stating there was still about 9 inches on the monorail behind them. So the 6’8″ user height may be pretty accurate in this case.
Much like the Concept2, the BodyCraft VR500 has features that stand out for a tall person. The handles go beyond the foot pedals by about 6 inches with a total travel distance of 38.5 inches.
But there are some clear standouts that make the VR500 a better rowing machine than the C2D. A few of the noticeable differences or improvements are:
- HUGE advantage is the buttons on the handle bars. This allows you to change settings without having to stop and affect your speed and or data. Massive game changer for the serious individual.
- Seat and the actual rower sit higher off the ground. This makes it much easier for long lanky legs to get into position when compared to low profile rowers. The seat comfort is to die for, its that comfortable. Plus it sits at 19″ high, so much easier to get into position as well.
- Like the C2D, the VR500 has oversized pedals for larger feet, but also has heel adjustable options which just raises the bar even more.
- Lower weight capacity at 350 pounds.
- The feel of pulling back on the nylon webbing compared to the chain on the Concept2 is smoother and quieter.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy The VR500 Rowing Machine
The only real drawback is the price which you can find on amazon. The Vr500 is more expensive than the Model D. But as you can see above, the features are there to back up the hike in price. But nonetheless, if you are on a tight budget, this model may be too much initially. Also, the tension is a little harder than that of the C2D. Which is good and bad at the same time. Forces you to really work hard. So if you are not serious about getting fit, loosing weight etc. Don’t buy the Vr500.
The last positive I didn’t mention earlier was the exceptional warranty offered with the VR500. Lifetime on the frame and 7 years on parts for residential use. This is incredible is you ask me. Basically buying this rowing machine will save you money in the long run if you frequent the gym or health clubs.
Best Water Rower For Taller Users
A water rower in my opinion is the closest piece of equipment you can buy that resembles life life rowing actions. This is achieved by pulling back on the handle/cord which turns the blade inside the small tank of water. The level of resistance is determined by how hard you row. Essentially just like you would in a boat.
For tall people, I recommend the A1 Series by Water Rower as these machines have a 39″ inseam maximum. Which is close to the longest measurement I have come across. Water Rower also has the biggest I’ve seen which is 40″ inseam, The M1 Series. However, this model is almost double the price of this unit. So I feel the 39″ inseam A1 Series is quite sufficient for the majority of taller people and at an affordable price.
About The A1 Series Water Rower
For the purist that wants rowing actions to the tee, this is the rowing machine. If you are after high tech digital displays that track everything, this is not the machine. While being one of the best life like rowers on the market, the biggest downfall is the lack of tracking technology.
This may not concern you, and if it doesn’t I highly encourage you to check out the A series. Besides lacking the tracking data most rowing machines boast in this price range, the A1 Series makes up for in ergonomic design.
Being extremely comfortable from the seat to the handle grips, you won’t get any complaints. The rower can be stood up like the other models and you won’t loose any water stored in the tank.
Maintaining the water is extremely simple. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the water will turn green and riddled with algae. To keep the water clean and fresh, you are supplied with chlorine tablets. All it takes is one tablet every 4 to 6 months and your maintenance is done.
A Classic, But A Goodie For Us Tall Rowers
The A1 Series by Water Rower is a classic rowing machine much loved around the globe. For its life like resemblance to rowing to the simply maintenance and lack of mechanical parts to break down. The A1 Series is certainly a hot favorite. For many people, the feeling of gushing water around the tank is not only quieter, but better than the loudness of a hydraulic and air type water rower.
44 Inch Inseam Rower For Tall People
While not for the big and tall, this Sunny Health & Fitness is a great choice for the slender and tall people. With a massive inseam measurement of 44 inches on the 48 inch slide, just about any tall person can find themselves comfortably positioned on the SF-RW5515.
Where it shines in leg room, the only thing that lets this machine down is that it excludes the big and tall folks. Many people turn to the rowing machine as a weight to lose weight and with a maximum weight capacity of just 250 pounds, sadly many of the big and tall people won’t be able to safely use the Sunny Health & Fitness rower.
The oversized foot pedals are another feature the tall person can enjoy. With extra height, usually comes longer feet. So its nice to see a rowing machine with large foot pedals to help the tall person out. The pedals are quite well gripped also, so your feet wont slide around and interrupt your routine. The strap is also there to assist in minimal foot movement during your workout.
The seat is a little close to the ground, which is only an issue for when you’re getting on and off the machine really. Between 8 and 10 inches off the ground, depending on the weight you force on the 2 inch thick padded seat. I’ve seen rowers with seat heights over 14 inches off the ground, which does make getting off after a tiring workout easier. But hey, that machine cost almost 5 times the amount of this one.
What I Love & Dislike About This Rower
Besides being one of the best rowing machines for tall people because of the incredible 44 inch inseam, there’s also much more to love about the Sunny Health & Fitness model. Baring in mind, this is an affordable option compared to the likes of the premium models like the Concept2.
- Best value for money hands down if you ask me. The amount of features you get and the amount you pay is well worth the investment.
- Surprisingly quite to operate. I imagined with a lower price tag would come a noisy, clunky machine. But to my surprise, it was relatively smooth and quite.
- Small footprint due to being a folding rowing machine. Tucks away nicely and uses less floor space compared to a treadmill or elliptical for taller persons.
- Intense workout. Being a cheaper option certainly doesn’t mean less of a workout with this rower. It has 8 levels of intensity and I’d wager that most people will be satisfied at level 4 at most. Fitness gurus will obviously go further onto levels 5 to 8. But for the average person, this rower certainly will get you working.
- Screen is a bit small, but this is just a personal preference.
- While the LCD monitor does track a number or workouts, it doesn’t let you know how far you have traveled. I like to know whether I’ve traveled 4 miles or 6 miles today for example. However it does track number of rows, calories etc.
- Low weight capacity eliminates a bit chunk of the market as many tall people are heavier due to the longer torso.
Its Hard To Say No To
Overall, the Sunny Health & Fitness rowing machine is very hard to say no to when you’re on a tight budget. As a tall person, the 44 inch inseam capabilities are just awesome and the 8 levels of intensity prove to be quite challenging. It really is hard to beat for price and value. Just bare in mind the lower weight capacity of 250 pounds.
Top Rated Budget Tall Persons Rower
So with this in mind I have been on the lookout for a decent yet affordable rowing machine suitable to taller patrons. The LifeSpan RW1000 is the best one I could find that was remotely close to catering to the taller crowd at a budget price. How affordable? Check the current price on amazon here.
The LifeSpan RW1000
So the RW1000 uses a flywheel with magnetic brake to cause the 5 levels of smooth yet tough resistance. While being super quite and smooth, the motion it produces is unlike that of the Water Rower and the Concept2. Meaning, it’s not like using a real rowing boat action. The resistance produced by the LifeSpan RW1000 is based on the actual resistance level. So whether you pull harder or softer, you will still get the same resistance.
With that out of the way, lets look at it’s tall person specifications. The LifeSpan website clearly states that the solid steel monorail is 53″ long. When compared to the Concept2 Model D without the extension add on, is only one inch shorter. So for the price, you are getting a lot of leg room.
This translates to a maximum inseam length of 38″. Which is actually one inch greater than that of the Concept2. You may be thinking “what the, how can the monorail be shorter, yet it offers greater leg room”. This comes down to the angled design of the LifeSpan RW1000. The front of the rowing machine is lower than the back where you sit. So you create the extra inch of inseam through the angle of the monorail. Which is great news for us taller people. Plus it adds an extra element into the workout, more of an incline.
Of the mid range rowing machines out there, the LifeSpan RW1000 puts a lot of them to shame. It comes with 3 LCD displays to track all the key data while operating off a 16.5HP flywheel. The size is perfect for tall people, while the price is just right for anyone not wanting to go over board on their first rowing machine.
While I don’t think it’s nearly as good as the above models, I think it is definitely best in its class in terms of performance and features for the price you pay. Good brand, nice rower and great workout.
Never Used A Rowing Machine Before?
It can be confusing the first time getting behind the handles and draw-strap of a rowing machine. Don’t worry, it’s quite normal. This video below is one of the best I have found for showing you exactly how to use a rowing machine correctly.
The Types Of Rowing Machines Explained
Water Rowing Machines
This type of rowing machine is the closest thing to resembling real rowing. Typically more expensive, but for serious athletes. The go to machine.
How they work is by having paddles inside a small tank of water which is attached to the machine. With each stroke of your arms, the paddles move in the tank of water. The water is the natural level of resistance you feel. Just like out on actual water.
Another highly popular choice for rowing machines are the air powered models. Air rowers are famous for longevity, with some believing these types of machines to last a life time.
How these machine work is by a blade which moves a flywheel. So the faster the flywheel goes the more resistance. You control the level of resistance by how hard you pull on the handles. Like the water rowers, the air variety are close to resembling real water rowing. Some models double as a workout fan as the air protruded from the rowing machine can be quite nice on a hot steamy workout.
Magnetic Rowing Machines
Magnetic rowing machines act in a different way in that they use electromagnetic power to brake the flywheel. Magnetic rowers are the quietest machines of the lot. But they don’t resemble real rowing as the level of resistance is gauged by preset programs of difficulty. Example from level 1 being easy to level 10 being difficult. So regardless of how hard you pull on the handles, the level of resistance remains the same, unlike the above two types of rowing machines.
Typically the cheapest and most simple type of rower. These are powered by one or two hydraulic pistons with the level of resistance being similar to a magnetic rower set up. The main advantages are there price and compact design. They take up less space as they don’t require a flywheel or water tank.
So while small in size, they can still be used by people. The rail under the seat to the pedal measurement is the most important feature to determine.
However, as they are cheap and rely on hydraulics to operate, they can be expensive to maintain. Which means, be prepared for the hydraulics to possibly one day start overheating or leaking. Plus they don’t resemble real life rowing if that is what you are after.
Does Being Tall Give You The Rowing Advantage
As we briefly touched on earlier, does being tall make any difference or are there any advantages to being tall and taking up rowing as a sport. Rowing machines can be a gateway into the sport of rowing, so if you’re tall and looking to get started, a rowing machine will be able to help you decide if this is the sport for you.
While yes, height does have an advantage to rowing, but there are other factors that contribute to your success such as your cardiovascular level, overall body strength and of course your rowing technique.
However, because tall people are generally heavier than a shorter person of the same physique, the taller person will more often than not outperform a shorter person. Of course this will depend on the level of fitness, endurance and rowing technique of the shorter rower.
But why?. Well a shorter person will need a higher stroke rate to compete with the longer strides of the taller person. The taller person has longer arms and therefor can get more leverage from every stroke. This is the main advantage a tall person has when using a rowing machine or boat.