This week I’m writing to help you build out your home gym.

First, you purchased a strength piece of equipment (dumbbells). Then you purchased equipment to help with bodyweight fitness (gymnastic rings). Your third piece of equipment should then cover the “cardio” modality.

If you’re on a very tight budget, purchase a speed rope. But in my experience, you can only run and jump rope for so long before you start to totally skip out on cardio sessions.

This is why I recommend purchasing a rower.

The Value of a Rower

I recommend the rower instead of the stationary bike because of all of the muscles involved. While rowing, you will use your hamstrings, glutes, quads, erectors, abs, lats, and biceps–truly a full-body workout. On the bike, you will use almost exclusively your quads.

Not only will you get more out of your training session with a rower, but you also have a larger variety of exercises. You can sit down and pull just with your arms, stand at the back of the rower and do straight-arm, lat pull-downs, and then you can flip over with your hands at the end of the rower, feet up on the seat, and do reverse pike-ups.

On the bike, you only have one exercise: spinning.

What Type of Rower?

Buy the Concept 2 rower. They sell two types of models: D and E. The model D is the older version but works just like the model E. The main difference between the two is that the model E is six inches higher off the ground; so if you have trouble with mobility, the model E is probably the better option.

Unknown to most, Concept 2 also creates a “dynamic” rower that moves both at the seat and the feet. This is the closest simulation you will get to rowing on water. Rogue Fitness doesn’t sell it on their website but you can purchase it here. For a video of how it works, click here.

That being said, go with the traditional model D or E rower. There’s not much need for the dynamic rowing machine unless you’re training specifically for an upcoming rowing race.

(I specifically left out the water-based rowing machines because I haven’t had much experience with them. The few times I’ve used them, I didn’t like them. Additionally, there seems to be a reason why Collegiate and Olympic rowing professionals prefer the Concept 2.)

But What If I Really Want a Bike

Instead of a stationary bike that uses just your quads, you may consider purchasing an AirdyneAssault Bike or Rogue Echo Bike. These three bikes are variants of the stationary bike, but also incorporate the use of your upper-body. If you really wanted a bike instead of a rower, I would choose the Rogue Echo Bike.

The Echo Bike is quieter, smoother and more durable than the Airdyne and Assault Bike. A big pain to any piece of equipment is maintenance– you don’t want to have to fix or replace your equipment. The Airdyne and Assault Bike will require that maintenance far more often than the Echo Bike will.

That being said, I would recommend a rower over any of these bikes because the storage of the rower takes up far less space.


If you’re really tight on your budget, buy a $50 speed rope. For everyone else, buy the Concept 2 Rower as your third piece of equipment. The model D will be the best option for most individuals.

But if you really want a bike, choose the Rogue Echo Bike.


Daily Directive

I’m challenging you right now to workout 50 days in-a-row. Here is your workout for today.

Day 14 (of 50)
EMOM x 20 Minutes:
Min 1: 20 Goblet Squats
Min 2: 20 Sit Ups
Min 3: Max Reps Alternating Hang Dumbbell Snatches
Min 4: Rest

Other Articles in this Series
The Home Gym Series
The Home Gym: Dumbbells
The Home Gym: Gymnastic Rings
The Home Gym: Barbell
The Home Gym: Bumper Plates

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