These Online Rowing Classes Will Help You Get Toned in No Time

Work up a sweat, and build up your strength.

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woman rowing

Hydrow

A rowing machine can make a solid addition to any at-home workout routine. Rowing machines challenge your upper body, your core, and your lower body all at once—giving you an easy way to work up a sweat while building strength from head-to-toe. 

The only downside of rowing machines? They can get a little repetitive, especially when you’re using them every day. But online rowing classes can be a great way to mitigate this monotony. There are tons of online programs that will coach you through workouts, helping you find new and challenging ways to use your rowing machine.

It can take a little sifting to research the options, so we’ve rounded up some of the best online rowing classes on offer right now.

The Best Online Rowing Classes of 2021

Best Overall: Hydrow

hydrow

Hydrow

Why We Chose It: Hydrow’s library of rowing classes is both massive and diverse. And since its classes are filmed outdoors, you never know what you’re going to find. (You might spot a stunning swan one day and have a chance encounter with a motorboat the next.)

What We Like

  • Live and on-demand classes
  • Unguided scenic rows
  • Access to other kinds of workouts
  • Every class is filmed outdoors
  • 30-day free trial

What We Don’t Like

  • Sign-up required
  • Better with a Hydrow rowing machine

You may be familiar with Hydrow’s best-in-class rowing machine (about $2,500), a splurge-worthy machine designed to mimic the feel of rowing outdoors. But Hydrow also offers an online membership program you can use—even if you don’t own a Hydrow rowing machine. 

Subscribe to Hydrow’s Digital Basic Membership program for roughly $20 per month, and you’ll gain access to tons of different fitness classes. Hydrow offers live rowing workouts, as well as on-demand rowing classes. And they also offer several unguided courses, which allow you to (virtually) row through a scenic route at your own pace.

Since all of Hydrow’s classes are filmed outdoors, you’ll have plenty of pretty visuals to look at. And if you’re in the mood to cross-train, you can take advantage of the other fitness sessions Hydrow offers (yoga, Pilates classes, strength-training routines, and more).

Best for All Levels: Dark Horse Rowing

Dark Horse Rowing

Dark Horse Rowing

Why We Chose It: It doesn’t matter whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced rower—you’ll find something to love about Dark Horse Rowing. It's perfect for rowers at any level.

What We Like

  • On-demand classes
  • Beginner-friendly program
  • Access to custom workouts and personal coaching
  • Subscription options at many different price points
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

What We Don’t Like

  • Sign-up required
  • Gets expensive as you get more advanced

Dark Horse Rowing makes it easy to find a rowing program that works for you with three different membership plans. And if you’re a beginner, Dark Horse Rowing will walk you through all the fundamentals.

The platform’s beginner- and budget-friendly (about $8 to $9 per month) will start by teaching you how to use your rowing machine before giving you a handful of beginner-friendly workouts to tackle. Once you’re ready to level up, you can spring for Dark Horse Rowing’s intermediate membership—which, at roughly $16 to $19 per month, is still pretty affordable. 

However, as you work your way to Dark Horse Rowing’s more premium features, the platform starts feeling more like a luxury—and less like a budget-friendly buy. For about $208 to $249 per month, you’ll get all the classes you already had—plus a customized training plan and direct access to coaches. But if you take full advantage of the personal training features, this is still a pretty good deal.

Best Variety: Regatta Fitness

Regatta Fitness

Regatta Fitness

Why We Chose It: If you prefer your fitness routine with a side of variety, Regatta Fitness is an excellent choice. The platform offers a massive library of live and on-demand classes, tailored to a variety of different skill levels. Even better: The platform offers a range of cross-training classes, which take place on and off the rower to help you build strength (or simply work up a sweat) in a well-rounded way. 

What We Like

  • Live and on-demand classes
  • Classes for all skill levels
  • Access to other kinds of workouts
  • Cross-training classes are crafted with rowing in mind
  • 15-day free trial

What We Don’t Like

  • Sign-up required
  • Brief free trial period

If you’re the kind of person who can’t handle doing the same routine every single day, Regatta Fitness might just be the program for you.

For about $13 to $20 per month, the platform boasts a massive library of on-demand rowing classes tailored to different skill levels. And since it offers new live courses every week, that library is constantly growing. Switch up your schedule by tuning into live ones or catch the recordings once they’re done. Even better? Challenge yourself to tackle a class that falls just outside your experience level.

If you’re craving even more variety, you can also take advantage of Regatta Fitness’ cross-training classes. Though crafted with rowing in mind, some of these courses take place entirely off the rower—giving you that change of pace you’re looking for. These lessons are alternately designed to help you build strength, work up a sweat, or enhance your mobility, strengthening your rowing skills, while also helping you accomplish your broader fitness goals.

Best Live Classes: Scullhouse Rowing

Scullhouse Rowing

Scullhouse Rowing

Why We Chose It: Scullhouse Rowing’s specialty is live studio classes. Every week, the platform offers roughly 10 new classes, which run 45 to 75 minutes long.

What We Like

  • Live and on-demand courses
  • Long classes
  • Variety of lessons, with some cross-training built-in
  • Race training programs
  • 1-week free trial

What We Don’t Like

  • Sign-up required
  • Expensive
  • Brief free trial period

Scullhouse Rowing is about as close as you can come to live studio classes—without actually showing up to a studio in-person.

Splurge on a monthly membership (about $100 per month), and you’ll get access to upwards of 10 new classes every single week. These courses are broadcast live, straight from Scullhouse’s studio. And since they tend to take place in the mornings and evenings, it shouldn’t be terribly hard to fit them into your schedule.

While Scullhouse Rowing offers some beginner-friendly rowing lessons, most of its classes are tailored to avid athletes. They also incorporate other kinds of exercise, like Vinyasa yoga, shadow boxing, and HIIT. Sift through the service's weekly schedules, and you’ll find lessons that combine rowing with a range of different disciplines including yoga, boxing, HIIT, strength-training, and more.

If you’re training for a rowing race, Scullhouse’s 2K Training Group can help you get there. And if you’re simply looking to build endurance for a marathon or triathlon, Scullhouse’s 75-minute Enduro Row classes are a must.

Best Personal Training: Asensei

Asensei

Asensei

Why We Chose It: Asensei is no average fitness program. Each time you work out, Asensei will track your progress—measuring your workouts against your goals, and giving you feedback to keep you on track. Think of the platform like a (virtual) personal rowing coach who's there to cheer you on every step of the way. 

What We Like

  • On-demand classes
  • Customized training plan
  • Real-time feedback and fitness data
  • Some courses available for free

What We Don’t Like

  • Budget-friendly, but billed annually
  • Only works with a Concept2 rowing machine
  • No free trial period or money-back guarantee

Asensei is an online rowing program that doubles as a personal trainer since you’ll also get a personalized learning path that’s customized based on your goals and past experience.

Like other membership programs, Asensei offers tons of on-demand rowing courses. But the platform’s real strength lies in its personal coaching program. Asensei will create a customized training plan for you. And every time you work out, Asensei will track your progress, helping you stay on track as you work toward your goals.

Asensei offers an incredibly useful service at a surprisingly budget-friendly price point (about $13 per month), but the platform does have two key limitations. First, the monthly membership is billed annually. So you can’t subscribe for a month and then unsubscribe later—you’ll have to commit to a full year upfront.

Secondly, Asensei only works when paired with a Concept2 rowing machine (about $900 to $1,100). Luckily, these rowers are less expensive than some other app-connected options. But still, this exclusivity is a big limitation. And it’s also a huge bummer because most of the people who’ve tried Asensei swear by the app.

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Bottom Line

If you’re a first-timer rower who’s not sure where to begin, start by checking out some of Dark Horse Rowing’s programs. The platform offers an intuitive track that will help you get acquainted with your rowing machine. And since the track will also walk you through some beginner-friendly rowing workouts, you’ll have plenty to do as you settle into your machine.

Once you’re ready to level up, you can subscribe to Dark Horse Rowing’s intermediate program. Or, give Hydrow’s membership program a try instead. Hydrow will give you access to all kinds of different workout classes—both on-demand and live. And if you’re in the mood for a lower-impact row, take advantage of the brand’s unguided routes and virtually explore a scenic body of water at your own pace.

What Are Online Rowing Classes?

Rowing classes are a lot like cycling lessons—or any other machine-based course. You show up to a studio, climb onto a machine, and use that machine as directed for the next 30 to 90 minutes. Usually, a coach will walk you through a series of exercises you can perform using that machine, keeping you challenged for the entirety of the workout.

Instead of a studio, you’ll be at home, using your own machine and watching the coach using a computer (or another device).

How Much Do Rowing Classes Cost?

In-person rowing classes tend to cost about $25 to $30 apiece. (But if you’re taking private lessons or participating in a certification course, you can expect to spend much more.)

Online rowing courses are usually offered as part of a membership program, and these tend to cost between roughly $20 to $100 per month. This makes online rowing classes a particularly budget-friendly way to get a rowing workout; even at the highest price point, you’re still getting your money’s worth after just five classes.

How We Chose the Best Online Rowing Classes

When assessing online rowing programs, we prioritized a few features. First, we looked at the classes each platform offered in terms of frequency, variety, and format. We favored programs with bigger, more diverse libraries, and we looked for programs that catered to a range of different skill levels. Services got bonus points if they offered both live and on-demand courses and cross-training options, as well.

Second, we looked at the cost of each program. We know monthly membership costs can quickly rack up, so we sought out programs that were both budget-friendly and high-quality. We only included expensive memberships we felt were worth the splurge. And we disqualified some inexpensive options, because the product simply wasn’t worth the price of admission (even if the price was very low).

Finally, we paid attention to how versatile each program was. Could you use it with any machine, or do you need to buy a specific machine to use with the program? We aimed to include options that were largely not machine-specific.

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