I know I am being biased when it comes to rowing machines. But, this I can tell you honestly, a well-built rowing machine can give you the kind of whole-body workout that you need without really causing significant strain on the joints.
So whether it is to shed off kilogrammes from your weight or simply to firm up different muscles in your body or even to boost your endurance, a rowing machine can easily get the job done.
But then choosing the most appropriate rowing machine that fits right in your budget, targets as many muscle groups as possible, and provide exceptional levels of resistance can be quite intimidating. I am just glad that there are fitness equipment manufacturers who constantly try to improve on their products without necessarily jacking up their prices.
One of these is the Lifespan Fitness Rower 442. And if this sounds awfully familiar, it should. It’s the ramped-up version of the 441.
Let’s take a look at how this rowing machine measures up.
Overview of the Lifespan Fitness Rower 442
I wouldn’t really blame you if you’re going to think that the Lifespan Fitness Rower 442 is a much better option than the 441. After all, the naming itself suggests that the 442 is ‘higher’ than the 441.
The Lifespan Rower 442 still comes with a dual magnetic flywheel system which is quite typical of the brand’s long line of rowing machines. I must say it is super-quiet and efficient.
The good thing about this 442 model is, it comes with a heftier system than the 441, now fully capable of producing up to 150 Newtons of force or 15.3 KgF when the machine is set to its highest resistance level at 12. This is one of the advantages of the 442 since the 441 only comes with 10 levels of tension.
The overall construction of the Rower 442 was also improved to accommodate an individual who can weigh as much as 160 kilogrammes. Its predecessor, the 441, can only sit a maximum of 120 kilogrammes. As such this is a substantial improvement. And if one thinks that the 442 is heavier than the 441, you’d be wrong. It retains the 441’s lightweight and durable construction and compact and folding design.
It still comes with the same 4-mode (time, stroke count, calorie count, and SPM) information on its modestly-sized LCD display. The levels of resistance aren’t adjusted automatically, but manually with a twist dial. The contoured and padded seat, padded handles, and sizeable foot pedals aren’t that much different from the Rower 441, either. There are no customisations and definitely no racing modes.
Let’s look at the features of the Lifespan Rowing Machine Rower 442
12-Level Variable Resistance Settings
The Rower 442 comes with 12 levels of highly variable resistance which is a 2-level increase from its predecessor, the Rower 441. This is substantial improvement over the base rowing machine as it gives you two additional tension settings that deliver up to a maximum of 15.3 KgF or about 150 Newtons. Considering that the predecessor only came with 10 tension settings that max out at 14.5 KgF or about 142 Newtons, the Rower 442 can really improve the way you build and tone the different muscles of the body.
Like the 441 model, however, the 442 still comes with a manual configuration which requires turning a dial on its magnetic flywheel casing. I was hoping that this Lifespan rowing machine will already come fully integrated with automatic touch controls.
Given the fact that it’s not really a significant jump from the 441, retaining the manual dial is already expected. At the very least, one gets the chance to really work out those muscles.
A quiet and simple to use machine
Dual Magnetic Flywheel System
There’s not much difference in the flywheel technology of the Lifespan Rower 442. Like the 441, the 442 still comes with a dual magnetic flywheel system mated to heavy-duty cast iron discs. Like I said, I’m not really a big fan of magnetic flywheel systems since they don’t give me the unique sensation of rowing on a body of water. Of course, there will always be individuals who prefer the more silent operation of a magnetic flywheel system. And for that, the Rower 442 works like a charm.
Because it operates on magnetic resistance – with magnetic forces working against every pull on the cable – there are no mechanical or physical components that can rub together, create friction, and produce sound. It’s the perfect rowing machine for those who live in not-so-spacious quarters where the only divider between them and their neighbours is a very thin sheet of MDF. Its ultra-quiet yet heavy-duty drivetrain makes the 442 such a joy to row on especially if you’ve got your partner sleeping soundly.
The modestly-sized LCD display on the Rower 442 is almost the same as what you get on the 441. Even the bits of information it provides are essentially the same, including strokes per minute, count, calories, and time. I was hoping for more.
Using the on-board computer is relatively easy as the different functions, very few as they are, can be easily accessed with a simple press of a single button. This is where you’d wish a dedicated button for each of the functions since there are only 4 of them anyway. But, given the price point of the Rower 442, I guess I can say I understand.
Robust, Space-Saving, and Comfortable Design
The Lifespan Rower 442 is longer than the 441 by a few centimetres, but is also narrower to give it a much slimmer, sexier profile. Coming in at 186 centimetres x 60 centimetres, the 442 poses no issues when it comes to storage. Storing is made relatively easy with the addition of transport wheels while the frame of the Rower 442 can be easily folded.
When compared to the previous model, the Lifespan Rower 442 has a more robust construction. This significantly improves its maximum user weight capacity from a mere 120 kilogrammes to 160 kilogrammes. The frame is made of tubular steel, giving the 442 structural strength and integrity to accommodate such a hefty size of an indoor rower.
While this Lifespan rowing machine is made of the toughest and most durable materials, it is never a pain in the bum. The rowing seat is padded and contoured to follow the shape of the human behind. Unfortunately, I might say that it is rather small. I can almost imagine how a plus-sized individual will feel sitting on the rowing seat.
The padded rowing handles are a joy to pull, however. And with the rowing cord made of latex and polypropylene fibre, they don’t put strain on the arms. The foot plates are exceptionally large and completed with Velcro straps. The plates come with ribbings to help provide for an excellent grip on your shoes.
Overall, the construction of this Lifespan rowing machine is solid yet provides enough comfort for those who are not really that ‘heavy’ or ‘thick’.
Pros and Cons
- Dual 7.5-kilogramme cast iron flywheel for a maximum of 150 Newtons or 15.3 KgF
- 12-level tension settings easily adjustable via twist dial
- Ultra-quiet yet robust drivetrain
- Simple user interface with modest amount of exercise information including time elapsed, calories, stroke count, and number of strokes per minute
- Padded handles, contoured seat, and large foot pedals with Velcro straps
- Folding design with roller wheels
- Robust construction capable of accommodating 160-kilogramme individual
- Requires only 186 cm x 60 cm of floor space when in use
- Doesn’t provide the realistic feel of rowing
- Level of resistance may be inadequate for users who require greater tension
- Contoured seat may not be sufficient for those with bigger bottoms
- Foot pedals may not be adequate for those with exceptionally larger feet
- No pre-set exercise programmes, customisations, and racing modes
Should You Get It?
The Lifespan Fitness Rower 442 offers very modest improvements from its predecessor, the 441. It increased its maximum level of resistance from 10 to 12 and, with it, a commensurate increase in maximum tension from 14.5 to 15.3 KgF.
It is also has a narrower yet longer profile and its maximum user weight capacity has been bumped from 120 to 160 kilogrammes. The question you would want answered now is if you should get this rowing machine.
If you already have the Rower 441 and you don’t really need to increase the level of resistance by 2 notches, then the 442 doesn’t offer anything else that will make you want to jump ship. But, if you don’t have the 441 and you’re thinking of getting an affordable rowing machine in Australia for yourself without necessarily sacrificing several lunches or dinners at your favourite restaurant, the Lifespan Fitness Rower 442 should always be a good choice.