Inspiration for your home rowing gym setup

Inspiration for your home rowing gym setup

Ross Arnott Ross Arnott
13 minute read

Looking for some practical inspiration for your home rowing gym setup?  

We know that a rowing machine gives a great all-body workout, but it is a large piece of kit so careful thought needs to go into where you locate it to make the most of the space in your home, to ensure the best environment for working out and to fit with your lifestyle.  Read on and we'll cover a variety of different examples from real people, showing dedicated home gyms, setups in the garage, rowing machines in the living or working spaces of your house, through to working out outdoors! This will give you some great PRACTICAL ideas for how you might setup your home rowing gym! 

We are not just talking about the idealized setups that you see in a magazine either, these examples show how real athletes setup their rowing machines in real life, working around everyday practical problems.

Inspiration for Rowing Machine Locations at Home

We've picked some of our favorite home rowing machine gym setups, and these show a range of ingenuity, highlight some great views and home entertainment setups.

Setup Rowing Machine Outdoors

Heading outdoors is good for the soul, so why not setup your rowing machine outside?  asensei member Michael shared his setup for rowing outdoors on his verandah in Ecuador in the photo below.  This setup is great as it's undercover, he's out of the direct sunlight and I think we are all more than a little jealous of the views! 

rowing outdoors on a verandah in Ecuador

Rowing machine setup on a scenic verandah in Ecuador

Can a Rowing Machine Get Wet?

A verandah or porch is also great for those people who want to row outdoors but live in areas where rain is more common, but it's still not likely to be 100% dry, so can a rowing machine get wet?  The short answer is that you really don't want to get your rowing machine wet as that can lead to corrosion, swelling of wooden frames, damage to your monitor or mounted screen/smart device.  If your rower does get wet then we'd recommend drying it off as best you can, particularly the electronics, the chain and flywheel rather than leaving them or storing them damp.

Can A Rowing Machine Be Stored Outside?

If you wish to use your rowing machine outside you probably will ask the question, can a rowing machine be stored outside?  Most rowing machine manufacturers strongly recommend against storage of your machine outdoors, even under cover.  For example Concept 2 offer a water resistant cover, but still advise against storage of their machines outdoors.  You may be able to find covers that are fully waterproof, but being stored outdoors for prolonged periods is still likely to cause problems.

WaterRower are similarly blunt, saying that their wooden frames are not designed for outdoor storage and the finish of their wooden frames is not water resistant.  The official WaterRower Protective Cover is neither waterproof nor water-resistant so if through necessity you need to store your machine outdoors you'll need to find a different cover.

Outdoor environments tend to be harsh for mechanical items like the rowing machine, whether it's extremes of temperature, humidity or damp or exposure to sunlight.  Humidity or dampness really won't agree with the electronics in the monitors so you can't leave them outside for any length of time.  

It's worth noting that despite their bulk most rowing machines feature caster wheels and can be readily wheeled around to store indoors, or temporarily placed in a well sheltered place like a verandah or a carport - but kept as far from the rain and elements as possible.

If you do use your machine outdoors, and especially if you occasionally leave it outside then you should keep a close eye on the machine to ensure that it's properly maintained. To keep your rowing machine in top condition the article 5 tips for Concept 2 rowing machine maintenance is well worth a read.

Home Office Rowing Gym Setup

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic the number of people working from home has rocketed, to the extent where many more people have started to designate areas of their home as a home office.  But when you are working at home it's also super convenient to workout from home, and not everyone has space for a dedicated fitness room, so it's also common for your home office to be shared with gym equipment.

When setting up a home office that also works as a home rowing gym, it's worth weighing up what's the priority, what will you do more of, working or working out?  For most of us working and sitting at a desk will usually be the priority, so the fitness aspect will be subordinate, with the rowing machine often being stored our moved out of the active areas of the room.

In the image below we can see a Concept 2 rowing machine fitting neatly into a home office, squeezing between desks and a sofabed and showing that when fitting a rowing machine into your home office one of the key things is the shape of the space available.   The rower can be stowed away in the corner when the workout is complete. 

Now this home office also happens to belong to one of the asensei rowing team, where not only do they workout from home, but also create and test home workouts for working from home.  Ensuring that a rowing machine fitted into this space was critical for working as well as exercising.

asensei home office rowing gymHome office rowing gym setup - making the most of the space.

Setup a rowing gym in the garage

The garage might be the most popular spot to setup your home rowing machine gym.  It's generally less of an incursion into your living space than somewhere fully inside the house and often has significant floor space available, at least part-time.  You might find your rowing machine is competing with other large items such as cars, bikes, garden equipment, but with a bit of planning you should be able to find a spot.

One of the great things about a garage is that you can open it up to the elements when you feel the need for some fresh air, or a bit of a cooling breeze and the portability of most rowing machines makes it easy to move the machine outdoors onto the driveway or beyond.

One asensei member has managed to squeeze their rowing machine in as well as two cars, finding a nice little spot that works even when there are two cars present.  Yes, some people do use their garage for cars as well as rowing gyms!

asensei members home rowing garage gym examples

Garage rowing gym setup from asensei members Alison (left 2 images) and Elizabeth (right 2 images)

Creating a dedicated home rowing gym space in the garage

asensei coach Eric Murray performs many of his workouts in his home gym in his garage (see image below).  As well as the RowErg you can also see a Concept 2 SkiErg in the corner.  

Olympic Champion Eric has setup his garage so that the workout area is separated from the rest of the space, keeping things nice and clean visually, which helps when you are filming workouts for asensei in the space.  If you have the space this is a great way to make your workout area feel less cluttered, and if you choose you could put pictures, posters, inspirational quotes or whatever on the walls - an example of this might be a workout planner for your training, such as this one from the asensei (RE)COMMIT program.

Eric Murray home garage gym asensei

Garage rowing gym setup from asensei coach Eric Murray

In the video below Eric shares some advice about how to build the gym setup within the garage, with advice for construction.

Eric Murray talks about how he created his home garage gym setup

Converting a garage into a dedicated rowing gym

And while Eric partially converted his garage into a home gym, some people go further and convert the garage fully into a gym, removing all of the other gear normally stored there, perhaps offloading it to an outbuilding and setting up a dedicated permanent space.  There's an example of this in the image below, where a former garage has been converted into a gym space with dedicated exercise mats, a rowing machine, a TRX, a punchbag and more.  This particular gym also happens to be where all the ASENSEI demos happen to customers and investors!

converted garage gym featuring rowing machine, TRX, punchbag, weights.

Home gym in a converted garage space, featuring rowing machine, matting, TRX, punchbag, weights.

Things to watch out for when using a rowing machine in the garage

One of the most important things to watch out for when using your rower in the garage or outbuilding is humidity, or dampness.  Moisture is the enemy of mechanical and electronic equipment, and your rowing machine probably has elements of both so if you live in an extremely humid climate, or your garage is damp, then you may want to consider the use of a dehumidifier.  It's likely that other kit you keep in the garage will benefit from this too.  Take particular care of the monitor since the batteries and electronics inside will not like dampness.  If you plan to leave the rower unused for a long period you may consider removing the batteries from the monitor.

Another thing to watch out for when using your rower in the garage is whether your WiFi extends out there.  If you are using a connected app or streaming video onto your device then you may find that garages can sometimes be a blackspot for connectivity.  Solutions include WiFi extenders, using your cellular data allowance (take care with that to avoid charges!) or using an app that can run a workout offline, such as asensei (this works from the Up Next page, as workouts are pre-downloaded).  

Setting Up Your Rowing Machine Gym in your living space

There are various good reasons for setting up your rowing machine in your living space at home.  The living room is often where the home entertainment is located, such as the TV, which can either help you while away the hours watching Netflix, or you might connect it to your smartphone and display rowing apps such as asensei on the big screen!   

Of course when setting up here you might want to take into account the other users of the room, they may not always want you sweating and huffing while they try and relax!

In the image below you can see some examples of home rowing machine setups in the heart of people's homes. You can see setups that are right in front of the TV, in the heart of the family kitchen/living space but stored in pieces, to a setup that allows a great view from the full length windows or can be turned around to view the TV again.

living area home gym collage

Home rowing gym setups in the living space from asensei members Robert (left), Brooke (upper centre) and Jorge (lower centre, right) 

Storing a rowing machine in a living room

Storage of the rowing machine is likely to be important in a living room.  If you are lucky enough to have a very large living space you may not need to put the machine between workouts, but for everyone else you'll be looking to store the machine to free up space and usually in an unobtrusive way. 

Most rowing machines can be stored vertically to take up less floorspace. This is also where the caster wheels can come in handy to help you move the rower to a corner, nook or cupboard, and the folding nature of some rowers like the Concept 2 can be helpful for storage in a small space. 

If storing your rowing machine in the living room itself then you may with to cover with some sort of dust cover, or hide behind a screen. It's hard to find a cover that isn't black or grey so if you want something to match your decor you might have to get creative and create one yourself or you could order a custom one from an online supplier such as Equip or Covers and All.

Of course some people will prefer to keep their machine on display as a statement of intent!

Rowing Machine in the Bedroom

Another room of the house that may be an option for setting up your home rowing machine in the bedroom.  The advantage of this is that the rowing machine can be stored away from the sites where the family tend to gather and spend time during the daytime.  

On the flipside if you share a room you'll need to consider whether your workout times are going to disturb your partner's sleeping habits.  While it's possible that the gentle sound of a low and slow workout on a WaterRower might help some people sleep, this is unlikely when you start a HIIT workout on an air-resistance machine!  You'll also want the room to be well ventilated as nobody wants to sleep in a humid, sweaty, and possibly smelly space.

You might want to consider where your rowing machine is stored in a bedroom, there's more likely to be a cupboard or wardrobe, or you may wish to consider a cover such as we discussed for a living room.

Not everyone will have space or the desire for a rowing machine in their bedroom, but it's definitely an option worth considering.

Conclusion

We hope this gave you some practical ideas and inspiration for your home rowing gym setup.  In the modern world working out at home is increasingly popular and in the real-life examples we shared you can see some of the ingenious ways that people manage to fit their rowing machines in around their home.  So whatever your home is like, hopefully we have something that helps you choose and get setup.  

DOWNLOAD ASENSEI FOR FREE

Rowing training is better in the asensei app.  Ideal for use at home, it guides you through structured training programs keeping you accountable.  You will have all the key stats displayed on screen during your session, you will have asensei set you personalized goals, you won't need to program the machine or take note of your results, asensei does it all. 

Eric Murray asensei Rowing Coaching

asensei is FREE to download and with no commitment you can trial the first 3 workouts in the (RE)COMMIT program and also workouts from MASTER THE BASICS, (RE)FOCUS, SWEAT FACTORY and BE A DARK HORSE.

All you need is an iPhone and access to an asensei Compatible rowing machine from Concept 2, WaterRower or FluidRower with a bluetooth capable monitor.

download asensei from the appstore

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