Life Fitness Rowers
Life Fitness was born as Lifecycle, Inc. in 1977 with their first piece of fitness equipment: the Lifecycle exercise bike. It was sold to Bally Total Fitness in 1984, becoming the Life Fitness brand we know today. Since then, the company has expanded into rowers, treadmills and strength training equipment. Known for their innovative, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, Life Fitness was the first brand to create cardio equipment with iPod compatibility, and the first to create a fitness app that works directly with fitness equipment. The brand was acquired by Brunswick Corporation in 1997. In 2019 it changed hands to KPS Capital Partners, a New York private equity firm. Today, the brand still manufactures a wide range of commercial and home fitness equipment. Check out our top Life Fitness rowers, and learn about the pros and cons of the brand’s rowing machines below.
Top Life Fitness Rowing Machines
Life Fitness Rowing Machines
Life Fitness currently manufactures two indoor rowing machines: the Row GX Trainer and the Row HX Trainer. They both use water tanks for smooth resistance, beautifully emulating the stroke path you’d use outdoors. What’s more, the rowers suit basically any trainee height and ability level, though the GX Rower has more choices for preset resistance (16 instead of 4). Other key differences between the two Life Fitness rowers are that the GX frame is all metal and has one rail, while the HX frame is part wooden and has two rails. Both Life Fitness water rowers need little floor space and are easy to move for storage vertically against your home gym wall.
- Water Resistance: Water rowers are preferred by many trainees for a number of reasons. For one, the sights, sounds, and feel of the water is an attractive and motivating quality. The feel is fluid and natural as opposed to other types of resistance rowers. They aren’t as noisy, and the noise that you do hear is the satisfying splashing of water. These particular models create a smooth, natural feel, with the ability to modify levels of resistance without having to add or remove water.
- Appearance: Both models have different looks. The Row GX features a modern, sleek design, while the Row HX has a natural, rustic look that’s better tailored for residential use.
- Resistance Controls: With many water rowers, you can only affect the challenge of the rower by emptying or adding to the refillable water tank. These models have a unique design that gives users the ability to choose precise levels of resistance with an easy-to-use dial or handle. You can’t change the resistance mid-row, but the ability to choose precise levels is still useful.
- Adjustable Footboard: Make your workouts more comfortable with these adjustable footboards and footstraps. These models don’t have pivoting pedals, but it’s handy that you can make these adjustments.
- Weight Capacity: Both the HX and GX models have a weight limit of 330 pounds, which is suitable for most trainees.
- High Quality: Life Fitness is a premier brand known for their durable, high-quality fitness equipment and these rowers are no exception. Built with commercial-grade quality parts, durability is a top characteristic of these trainers.
- Easy to Store: Not only are these rowers compact, they also feature transport wheels and a vertically folding frame design. When folded vertically against a wall, they are just under 7 feet.
- No Heart-Rate Data: Heart-rate monitoring is the perfect way to track calories burned, but neither of these rowers have heart-rate monitors included. Life Fitness offers an optional “tracking package” where you can purchase a receiver and chest strap, but for the price of the rowers it would be nice if this feature was included.
- Small Display Screen: It’s hard enough to read a display screen while rowing. It’s even harder on these models which feature small display screens that aren’t backlit either. You’ll get the basic workout data readouts but you might have trouble seeing them.
- Lacking Console: Adding to the limited features of the display screen, you won’t find any built-in workout programs, audio options, or anything of the sort on these rowers. This is pretty surprising from a brand known for their innovative consoles and high-tech offerings on their other fitness equipment models.
- Limited Warranty: You can purchase extended warranties from Life Fitness, but if you stick with the standard warranty included, you’ll get limited coverage that includes just 2 years on mechanical components and 1 year on labor.
- Price: Water rowers tend to be more expensive than other rowing machines such as air or magnetic models. Even so, the price tag on these rowers is quite high, especially since they lack any special features to make them stand out from the crowd.
Life Fitness rowers are attractive machines designed to deliver a true rowing experience. They provide multiple customizable options that allow you to affect the challenge of your workout and make your rowing experience more comfortable. These total-body, low-impact rowers are ideal for users of varying skill levels or anyone who wants more control over their rowing workouts while enjoying the satisfying experience of water rowing.
1. Life Fitness Row HX Trainer Rower
The Life Fitness Row HX rower is a solid offering from a longstanding builder of club-quality fitness equipment, and a piece of equipment clearly targeted at the likes of WaterRower and First Degree Fitness. Priced within the same range of both competing brands, Life Fitness offers a lengthy warranty from a brand that’s been in the game for longer than any of its competition. It’s on the lower end of adjustability, with only 4 levels of resistance variation. Those looking for a top of the line rower should consider the GX, which offers 16 resistance levels. The rower can be stood up for more easy storage, and a wireless heart-rate monitor can be added to your purchase for an additional fee.Read the Full Life Fitness Row HX Trainer Rower Review
2. Life Fitness Row GX Trainer Rower
The Life Fitness Row GX rowing machine is the big daddy rower from the legacy fitness brand. Tougher construction and more resistance levels, however it still uses the same basic screen and metrics that you get from other more affordable rowers of both water and other resistance types. Its warranty is also no better than more affordable options, which comes as a bit of a surprise—typically in other equipment categories commercial-grade equipment gets more substantial warranty terms. We’re also noting a lack of other features, like on-board programming or connectivity to any sort of training/progress monitoring apps. As we’ve noted in other reviews these features aren’t really dealbreakers in the rowing category, but once you crest north of a $2,000 entry price we tend to expect a bit more in terms of features.Read the Full Life Fitness Row GX Trainer Rower Review