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WaterRower Club S4 Rowing Machine Review

Running can be so much fun and quite exceptional at improving cardiovascular fitness. However, some folks also like to build and tone the muscles as well as help you burn more calories, you’d definitely want a rowing machine for you.

Rowing machines are perfect for helping you sculpt a more appealing body as it provides an excellent opportunity to work various upper and lower body muscles at the same time.

A really amazing rowing machine that I had the privilege of trying is the WaterRower Cub S4. Technically, it is the more upscale brother of one of my personal favourites, the WaterRower Natural. So, what can I say about the Natural’s big brother? Read on.

Overview of the WaterRower Club S4

WaterRower Club S4

Not surprisingly, the WaterRower Club S4 performed exceptionally well like the WaterRower Natural. It still comes with the same patented Water FlyWheel water resistance wheel plus the data-rich S4 performance monitor that came with the Natural.

What I found interesting is that the WaterRower Club feels more robust. Perhaps I have a found a new love?

Pun definitely intended, the Club is designed specifically for the big boys who are thinking of setting up a professional gym, giving its users a professionally-built rowing machine that can stand rigorous activities from overzealous fitness and bodybuilding fanatics.

The WaterRower Club S4 is an expertly crafted rowing machine that is made from ash wood sourced from the rich, fertile grounds of the Appalachian mountains. Stained in the warm tones of honey oak, the Club is a beautiful piece of exercise machine that is further enhanced by the application of urethane and Danish oil, giving it lustre that is unheard of in wooden equipment.

Since the Club is designed for heavy-duty applications, extra-strong rosewood is incorporated into its frame so it can handle repeated abuse of even a thousand-pounder user. Yep! You got that right.

The Club will never balk from the weight of a 1000-pound rower, just in case you know someone who weighs like a Grand Piano, an Arabian riding horse, or a juvenile Grizzly bear. You do get the point.

Actually, the inclusion of rosewood serves another purpose, apparently, and that is to give the Club exceptional resistance against soiling so you can expect the WaterRower Club to stay with you for a much longer period of time. Who knows maybe your grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be using the Club in the decades to come?

At the heart of the WaterRower Club, like all rowing machines from the company, is its Water FlyWheel. It works on a variety of physical principles that help you get the most out of every rowing motion that you take. Since you will be working against water resistance, it does give you that unique sensation of rowing on your very own boat as you slice across the water’s surface.

The faster you row the greater the amount of resistance that the Water Flywheel will give. You’ll feel your arms and legs burning like they’ve never burned before; but believe me, it’s a truly different kind of burn. It’s one that you’d want to experience over and over because you know your muscles are getting shaped the way you want them.

Perhaps the best part of the Club rowing experience is listening to the sound of water splashing around the drum. Now connect the S4 module to your laptop, put a projection screen in front of you, and start rowing. This is one of the best things I have with the Club. It gives you a very unique rowing experience without having to worry about getting your feet wet or tipping your boat over and fling you into the water.

A Closer Look at the Features of the WaterRower Club S4

Robust, eco-friendly design primarily intended for commercial heavy-duty use

WaterRower Club S4

Fully capable of accommodating a 1000-pound man (yes, that’s entirely possible because the heaviest man on record tips in at a whopping 1,400 pounds), the robust design of the Club is perfect for both commercial or home gym applications. It is phenomenal how the unique qualities of Appalachian hardwood species have been engineered into a truly fascinating and remarkably heavy-duty workhorse.

The blending of ash wood, rosewood, honey oak, and Danish oil gives the Club eco-friendliness that is sure to turn heads around. The dual rails are purposely designed to prevent scuffing, too.

WaterFlyWheel technology

Unlike other machines, the WaterRower Club features the Water FlyWheel technology that capitalises on the unique properties of water. It affords the user with a truly exceptional experience. A heavy-duty, impact-resistant drum is placed at the head of the Club which is then filled with water.

Depending on how much resistance you want to work against, you simply add more water. You can also remove some of it using the siphon that already comes with the package. Inside the water drum are paddles that look more like the blades of a waterwheel. As you pull on the dual handles of the Club, the paddles inside the water drum spin.

Spinning paddles push the water at the leading surface. But since water is dense, the paddles will have to push even harder. This means you will also need to spin the paddles a lot faster.

Scientists call this the Rule of Cubes and it is what the WaterRower Club operates on. It is observed that increasing the speed of the paddle also increases the level of water resistance by an amazing 8-fold. That means if you’re rowing 10 times per minute giving you a hypothetical resistance of 10 pounds. Increasing your speed to 20 times per minute will let you work against water resistance that is at least 80 pounds.

The trick here is not really in the force that you apply with each stroke, but rather the speed of which you apply those strokes. And believe me, the faster you row, the faster you will feel your arm and leg muscles burning like hell.

The good thing is that you don’t need any complicated contraption to adjust the resistance levels. You simply need to slow down on your rowing.

Highly-advanced S4 performance monitor

The S4 performance monitor is a state-of-the-art fitness activity monitoring contraption added to the WaterRower Club. I find its placement right on the side of the Club to be somewhat upsetting, however. I just wished they would have placed it dead-centre. That means, I don’t really have to glance on the side just to have a look at how I am performing. In any case, that’s just me.

The S4 tracks relevant data about the user’s time, intensity of rowing, distance rowed, strokes or rows per minute, and even a 500-metre split time. It also displays the wattage of the device. The brilliant thing about the S4 is that it doesn’t put everything into a single screen.  Instead, it uses individual ‘windows ‘ or screens to display various information such as rowing intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, target zone, and many more.

The S4 is not the pinnacle of an indoor rower in terms of performance tracking console. From assessing other quality rowing machines, the S4 can be considered ‘advanced’.

Exceptional vibration and sound-vibration capabilities

Because there are no motors that run the machine with each mechanical movement, the WaterRower Club is exceptionally quiet. However, it does produce the characteristic splashing of water as the blades spin inside the drum. For many, the sound of water is almost therapeutic. It is as if they are being lulled into sleep. Hopefully, however, you won’t.

Additionally, since wood has better vibration-absorbing capabilities than metal, you won’t be disturbing anyone else when you do decide to push yourself to the hilt rowing the WaterRower Club.

Pros and Cons

  • Exceptionally realistic rowing experience especially when used in conjunction with AI programmes
  • Robust, heavy-duty design is perfect for commercial use or even for serious fitness buffs
  • Premium-quality and durable wood construction sourced from sustainable resources and finished with elegant Danish oil
  • Water FlyWheel operation for highly-variable, user-determined resistance levels
  • S4 performance tracking technology embedded with windows-like user interfaces
  • Easy integration with virtual rowing programmes
  • Fully-padded seat and soft material-covered handles for optimum comfort
  • Adjustable footrests to allow for exactness of fit regardless of shoe size
  • Upright position storage for easier space management
  • Some people may be put off by the price
  • Water tank needs regular cleaning if you use the machine often


The WaterRower Club S4 doesn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for a really sturdy, reliably-efficient, and exceptionally durable exercise equipment, you may use it for many decades. The elegant design plus the integration of the Water FlyWheel makes the Club such a great fitness companion.