Ergatta Rower Review: The Apartment-Friendly Rower that Gamifies Fitness and Looks Good, Too

Who knew workouts could be fun?

an Ergatta Rower on a blue and black background
The Ergatta Rower is the perfect apartment workout — and fun, too.
Ergatta/Getty Images

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I’ve always associated rowing with elite fraternities and overpriced polos. A sport for people who weekend on The Cape and think Brett Kavanaugh is just a misunderstood guy who likes beer. Despite the fact that I grew up on a lake in upstate New York and have always been into water sports (alright, grow up), it never occurred to me that the Ergatta Rower could be a viable method of exercise for me.

Then last summer I went on a weeklong rafting trip down a remote river in northeastern Utah. It was my first time paddling an oar-powered craft for an extended period of time, and I was blown away by the results. Despite the fact that I had spent most of the week guzzling hot beer, I still lost 10 pounds and was in the best shape I’d been in in nearly a decade. My morning regimen of psilocybin certainly wasn’t to thank for this newfound form, so it must have been the rowing.

When I returned to New York, I knew I couldn’t return to the sedentary lifestyle I had been living. This cubicle cowboy had been transformed into a big bad row daddy.

I started looking for a row machine under the strict criteria that it had to be able to fit in my NYC apartment, and it had to be sexy as fuck. There was no way in hades that I would have some garish piece of exercise equipment take up my apartment’s precious floorspace.

The apartment-friendly Ergatta Rower.

That’s when I discovered the Ergatta Rower. It’s made in the USA with locally sourced cherry wood so it matches all the antique mid-century furniture in my apartment. It also folds and stands upright so I can easily store it in a corner. But the best part of the Ergatta goes far beyond my vain urban avarice. Unlike literally any other exercise method I’ve taken up in my life, Ergatta was actually able to retain me as a habitual user.

Ergatta actually bills itself as a gaming company. Yes, they’re in the rower industry, but their main product advantage is the digital interface that engages the user with a variety of exercise experiences. When a user first logs into their account they are prompted to calibrate their fitness level by rowing their first 1k. From there, Ergatta offers push programs designed to improve and track your overall fitness, as well a interval training programs that help you build endurance. The race feature is my personal favorite. Ergatta will auto-fill racers based on your personal standings, but I prefer to challenge myself against users who are a little bit better than me so I can continue to get better. You can also pick racers who aren’t as good as you, in case you’re feeling sorry for yourself or had too much to drink the night before.

Which brings me to what is the most important point to be made about this machine — the Ergatta rower is an amazing workout no matter what shape you’re in. Rowing is a low-impact exercise that engages over 80 percent of your body. You can be relatively out of shape and start seeing immediate results without feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck the next day. It doesn’t matter if I’m feeling lethargic, cranky or hungover — 15 minutes on the Ergatta and I’m springing into the rest of the day feeling five years younger. It alleviates stress, gives me energy, and my girlfriend is even willing to have sex with me with my shirt off.

The Ergatta Rower’s video game-esque interface.

If you take a look at the surprisingly close-knit Ergatta Facebook group, you’ll see what I mean. Without a doubt there’s some advanced rowers in the community, but for the most part it’s people who have spent the past few decades slowly deteriorating at their office jobs and are taking the plunge into a new fitness journey. And just like me, I can see that they’re all completely obsessed with their new row machine and getting the results they desired.

I’ve recently completed my 30-day trial and I’ve lost almost 20 pounds and can now fit back into the suit I bought five years ago. My stomach is looking flat, my arms are toned, my posture is … improving. It feels great to know that from the comfort of my home I can get a life-changing workout in under 30 minutes, all while listening to my favorite Pandora station (another feature provided by Ergatta).

Now I know what you’re thinking — “I’m totally sold by your inspiring tale and I’m ready to take the plunge.” Well here’s the skinny. Coming in at $2,499, it certainly isn’t cheap, but if you think of it as a handsome piece of furniture, then it’s definitely within range. It’s also worth noting that it costs $29/month for your membership, so if you already have a gym membership that you’re using it might not be the best choice for you. But, if you’re someone like me, I have feeling it’ll be worht every penny. The best part is, if you use it for 30 days and don’t become a big bad row daddy like me, you can send that shit back and return to a comfortable life of steady physical decay.

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