Marcy Rowing Machine Review
I’m neither a brilliant or keen rower – aside from a bit of kayaking and dragon boating, I’ve not done too much out on the water. However, I love rowing machines and today I will be bringing you my full Marcy Rowing Machine review.
They suit pretty much any athletic discipline going. I’m a powerlifter and martial artist, so need to work on power output a lot, alongside my cardiovascular capabilities, especially in the higher heart rate ranges. Rowing sprints are therefore a perfect form of conditioning – full body power output, with heartrates in the 85%+ range.
They can also be used for fantastic steady state work, once more working the full body as you keep your heartrate around 60-75%, and for hypertrophy, keeping a constant level of stimulus through your posterior chain and biceps.
Rowing machines are also a great fat loss tool. They allow you to hit the ‘Orange Zone’ heartrate range, giving you a great amount of afterburn – you will burn calories for hours after you’ve finished.
Therefore, I’m always excited to try out a new one. Especially one that uses water resistance.
Water resistance is lovely. It is smooth, allows you to better dictate your own pace and resistance, and gives a satisfying, well-rounded stroke, time after time.
Marcy’s rowing machines are fantastic mid-range models. You’ll get a lot for your money, allowing you a life of decent rowing workouts without having to re-mortgage your house!
Marcy Rowing Machine Unboxing
The Marcy Rowing Machine NS-6023RW comes pretty much complete, which is always handy – I hate having to get my toolbox out! The water tank and resistance system come already assembled. You just have to slot together the rest of the frame – the seat on the rail, the rear stabilizer on the rail, the rail to the front unit, and the exercise meter. The manual is clear and concise, making things very straightforward.
All in all, most people should be ready to go in under half an hour, I would say. It should be an easy job for one person.
It’s quite a smart, professional looking piece of kit. It combines a nice mixture of steel and aluminum parts in its frame construction – the front section is made from steel, as is the rear stabilizer. The sliding rail itself mixes both, with a steel tube in the center and two aluminum rails for a smoother seat movement.
All steel parts are finished with a rust-resistant powder in black, the only color available. The aluminum is all left exposed and shiny, which is exactly how I like it.
I was expecting the Marcy Rower to be quite small – I had heard that it was more compact than a lot of other rowers. This wasn’t quite the case – it has a pretty substantial footprint (see below) and is quite weighty (again, see below). I was OK with this, as I like to have room to maneuver, but do measure your space well before investing.
Marcy Rowing Machine Features & Specs
First things first, the Marcy Rower uses water resistance, making use of an ingenious system. It will give you many of the same benefits as rowing on water, including as similar a feel to each stroke as a rowing machine can offer. You can raise or lower the resistance by using the included pump to add or remove water, allowing you to fully customize resistance levels (albeit with a little more hassle than a flywheel or magnetic system might give).
You get a good, very easily navigable LCD monitor that shows useful metrics such as time, total count, distance, and calories burned. This allows you to keep tabs on your workouts and training goals in real time. You also get the choice between six different training programs. It’s all pretty standard for this kind of machine, but always thoroughly welcome.
It comes with safety pedals, which have large, textured pads for extra grip. This is actually quite a big deal – if you’re really pushing yourself through a set of sprints, you will find your feet slipping all over the place, drastically cutting down performance, without some kind of grip. They also have adjustable loops for your feet and are fully adjustable to each user’s foot size.
Though it’s not as compact as a compact machine might be, it’s still not too bad. It comes with wheels for ease of transport and the water is easy to drain. These both go a long way to making it easier to transport. The rower itself is designed for you to be able to store it upright, vertically, so it really should be quite easy to hide away when not in use.
It stands at 77 x 19 x 36 inches when in use, and 36 x19 x 17 inches upright, and weighs 75lbs without water.
There is a 300lb user weight limit, which should be more than enough to accommodate all bar the largest of athletes.
Marcy Rowing Machine in Testing
So how does this all stack up? What’s the user experience like?
In short, it’s really good.
The Marcy Rower has a very nice seat, designed for complete comfort no matter how hard you push yourself. Well-placed, well-molded contours give a better seated position and help to keep you in place. It’s also pretty wide, giving you a decent amount of contact, and allowing for larger athletes to use it without concern. It isn’t cushioned, and is actually pretty firm, so it may start to give you butt-ache after too much time spent on it, but it performs incredibly well and will allow you to put plenty of power down.
The seat and rail assembly are made from aluminum and steel, which allows for users up to 300lbs (around 136kg). Whilst this is great for larger athletes, most people will weigh around 1/2 – 2/3 this amount. That extra durability is easily felt, though – anyone using the Marcy Rower will be able to put down plenty of power whilst still feeling completely rooted to the ground. It is stable as a rock.
Rowers usually have a near completely horizontal rail. The Marcy Rower has a slight incline to it, raising towards full extension. This is actually quite a sound idea – it works very nice with the body’s natural mechanics and allows for a lot more leg power to come into play through extension.
The footrests are a bit of a let-down. They are adjustable, with 6 adjustment positions, allowing for a good range of foot sizes. They don’t pivot, however, which can break your momentum slightly through each stroke. It’s a minor complaint, but one that I noticed during use.
The handles are nice to use and easy to maintain. As they are attached to a heavy-duty abrasion-resistant nylon strap, the drive system doesn’t need any lubrication, which will save you hassle in the long run.
I reckon the tank can take between 11-15 liters (3-4 gallons) of water. It’s not specified, but I’ve used this kind of size before and it’s similar. There are six water levels marked on the tank, and you can manually change them up pretty easily. Fill it all the way up to level six, and you’ll have a great deal of resistance. Fill it to level one, the impeller that spins with each stroke will have less water to churn through, and the resistance will be a lot less.
This all goes quite some way to mitigating the lack of an integrated resistance adjustment system like most top-quality rowers use.
It responds nicely to fast, heavy strokes, giving a degree of resistance that will have even seasoned veterans sweating.
The Marcy Rowing Machine is a very good example of a water rower done well. It is smooth, sturdy, well-built, and reassuringly heavy. Though perhaps larger than you might expect, as it’s often billed as a ‘compact’ model, it is still easy to live with. Simply upend it and wheel it to the nearest closet to get it out the way.
It’s also a bit of a steal. It doesn’t give you everything – far from it. I would prefer better footpads. I would prefer some form of manual adjustment to the resistance. However, for the money you pay for it, the Marcy Rowing Machine is great.
I particularly like the seating arrangement. The lack of padding might wear on you for a bit. I wouldn’t recommend using for more than half an hour or so. However, this is a necessary trade-off for better performance. Every ounce of power you bring to bear will be ploughed into each row incredibly efficiently. The angled rail helps, here, giving you a firm, mechanically sound position from which to press.
If you’re looking for a water rower that won’t cost you the Earth, you would do very well to consider investing in the Marcy Rowing Machine.