Hydrow machine falls a few strokes short of indoor rowing ideal: Stretching Out

Instead of a portal to a realistic experience, the promising new Hydrow machine now in stores is in fact just another rower with slightly more advanced technology. If anything, Hydrow ($2,200, hydrow.com, also available at G&G Fitness Equipment and Best Buy stores) creates a disconnect where there wasn’t one before. Now, rowers can’t easily use their imaginations to pretend they’re on water. They have to watch a screen and try to align themselves with what they see. Other types of machines got it right long ago. Programs offering immersive runs or rides through real-world or imaginary settings have been factory standard on treadmills and stationary bikes for years. In these, the video’s progress speeds up or slows down in response to the user’s effort. Often, the machine also responds to the video, adding resistance or changing incline to match what’s in the scene. Just the other day, on a Peloton treadmill, I took a jog down the Las Vegas strip, and the only thing unrealistic about it was the temperature. No such luck yet with rowing ergometers. Instead of virtual rowing reality, Hydrow offers rowing with TV. There’s the rower and there’s the screen, and never the twain sh...

Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but

Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. Questions? Reach us at shop@mensjournal.com.Sponsored content There are many different ab machines on the market. All of them claim to be the “best” for shredding your abs and increasing the strength of your core. But which ones really do the job? Which reviews can you trust? After careful research, we chose the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro as our best overall ab machine. Not only does the Ab Carver Pro get overwhelmingly excellent reviews on Amazon, but it’s also one of the most affordable ab machines you can buy. A combination of value and effectiveness is what makes the Ab Carver Pro our best overall ab machine. It’s more than just your typical roller. With a wide, spherical wheel, the Ab Carver Pro lets you roll out from side to side as well as straight. This side-to-side maneuverability means the Ab Carver Pro forces you to utilize muscles in your arms, back, and your obliques, as well as your abdominals. This overall core workout is far more effective at sculpting your tors...