Rowing is one of the best full-body exercises out there. But the one flaw that most rowing machines have is that they don’t offer full range of motion. Sunny Health & Fitness solves this problem with their Full Motion Arms Rower – and it will give you one sweaty workout.
With motion arms that allow for full range movement and 12 resistance levels, you’ll love to hate using this machine. This rower gives you a realistic feeling workout while also being quiet enough workout that you could even watch the tv as you row.
Features at a Glance
- Full motion arms
- 12 resistance levels
- Non-slip handlebars and pedals
- LCD displays count, time, total counts and calories
- Solid steel frame
- Maximum weight capacity of 220lbs
- Dimensions 59L x 29W x 21H
The process of putting the rower together only took me roughly 15 minutes to do and was pain free thanks to the clear instructions. The major parts of the rower such as the central beam, piston and seat mount all come pre-assembled. There are just a further 6 easy steps to having the rower up and running:
- Unfold the rear support by simply removing the locking pin and putting it back in once it is unfolded.
- Assemble the foot pedals by inserting the tube support through the front support, then fix in place ensuring the dividers are in place. Then slot the nylon pedal straps through the pedals so that you can fix your feet to the pedals.
- Now we connect the meter. First thing is to slot the wire into the support tube and screw the monitor to the tube. Then as you slot the support tube onto the main front frame make sure to connect the wire from the monitor to the rower.
- Fix the support tube to the front support tube using the screws provided and tighten with the Allen key also provided.
- Time to attach the arms to the rower, simply bolt them onto the rowing bar attached to the main central beam.
- The last thing to do is to fix the seat cushion to its mount that is already fixed to the rail. Make sure that you have the seat around the right way.
Design – cheap and cheerful
The first thing you’ll notice about this model is that it doesn’t look like other rowers on the market. It doesn’t have a handlebar attached to the front end of the rower. Instead it has two separate arms on each side of the rower. These arms offer full range of movement, so you really get that same feeling as if you were rowing out on the water.
The full range motion feature adds a new level of challenge to rowing at home, and the 12 resistance levels make it even more difficult. The tension level can be adjusted using a dial just beneath the seat. I did find that the dial you adjust for the resistance doesn’t stop turning and will keep clicking. It can be difficult to tell what level of resistance it is actually on, so you have to test the resistance after turning the dial a bit and see how it feels.
You may notice that the resistance seems to ease off just a little bit about 15 minutes into a workout. This is due to the piston heating up resulting in the resistance reducing. But it is barely noticeable.
Note: the piston can get hot once you have been rowing for a while, so be careful to not burn yourself while adjusting the resistance.
Speaking of the seat – the one on this machine is actually quite comfortable. The extra-thick padding makes rowing a bit more comfortable. Sometimes if the seats are a bit too firm I tend to get a bit of numb bum, but there was no such issue here.
The handlebars (which flail off to the side – similar to the handlebars on an elliptical) are non-slip, so you don’t have to worry about losing your grip if your hands get sweaty.
The only problem that I can see with the rowing arms is that if you are slightly shorter they might be tad too high. It would be good if the arms were adjustable in length.
The extra-large pedals are non-slip, too, and feature a safety strap to keep your feet in place at all times. I did see some people having problems with their feet slipping out. This problem is quite often due to people having the strap go over the wrong part of their foot. Make sure that the strap goes over the ball of your foot rather than well up your shoelaces. I didn’t have this problem so hopefully you won’t either.
Like other rowers, this one comes with an LCD console. The console is nothing to write home about, but it does display four important stats: total counts, time, count and calories. There are no built-in workouts, but with a rower of this price I wouldn’t be expecting them.
There is a scan function built in that continually cycles through all the different display metrics, giving you an overview of your workout.
I saw a few comments that the stroke count wasn’t counting properly but I didn’t experience this issue.
If you wanted the rower to track your heart rate then your best option is to buy a separate monitor as they tend to be more accurate than the ones built in to the rowers.
It’s hard to beat the price point of this rower (around $103). It’s well made, durable, and it offers complete range of motion for a really great workout. The angle of the rail helps to ensure that you legs are engaged during each row giving an extra depth to your workout.
The weight capacity is 220 pounds which ideally could do with being a bit more for people that are looking to lose weight. However, I have heard of people heavier than 220 having no problem using the rower and felt safe doing so.
Did we mention the machine itself is extremely lightweight? At just 39 pounds, you can easily move this rower to whichever room you want and even store it away when it’s not in use. The rower doesn’t however fold up, but as it so small in the first place it isn’t much of a problem and you can fold the rear leg in to save a little bit of room.
A common question we always get about rowers is “is it noisy?” The good thing about the piston rowing machines is that they tend to be very quiet. This Sunny model is no different and it is quiet enough that you could even watch tv as you do your workout and be able to hear everything that is going on.
With just this one machine, you can work your arms, legs, abs, back, glutes and more.
- Offers full range of motion in the arms for a complete workout
- Easy to assemble
- Offers 12 resistance levels for a challenging workout
- LCD displays important workout information
- No pulse monitoring
- Resistance can be difficult to set
- Arms can be a bit too long for short users
The rower not offering a pulse monitor is only a minor complaint of ours. While not a complete deal-breaker, the lack of pulse monitoring is something we felt we should point out.
The issue with it being difficult to select the correct resistance was a bit of problem but once you get the hang of it, it wasn’t much of an issue and gives a great workout for beginners.
If you’re looking for a great entry-level rower that’s lightweight and still delivers a challenging workout without breaking the bank, the Sunny Health & Fitness rower is an excellent choice.
If you are concerned that the old saying of “you get what you pay for” may be true but like the idea of having the rowing arms then it may be worth having a look at the Kettler Kadett which is a German engineered rower with individual rowing arms.