If you’re reading this post, you’re obviously tall, and you’re obviously looking for the best rowing machine for tall people.
Rowing has long been known to be a sport for the taller than average person.
Unfortunately, not all rowing machines will fit tall rowers.
I’ve been asked countless times, “what is the best rowing machine for tall people?”
So I’ve decided to break it down once and for all by listing the top rowing machines for tall people.
While it would be easy to name a few models that can fit rowers who are 6’8″ or 6’9″, it wouldn’t be fair to the price conscious buyer.
Most rowing machines with large height capacities cost a lot of money, so I will try to educate you on how to find models in the lower price ranges.
To cover the best rowing machine for a tall person, I will also have to explain how to find the right rower and how to tell if a rowing machine isn’t good for a tall user.
Considered to be one of the best full-body workout machines, a rowing machine (also known as an ERG) is truly a “one-stop shop”. Rowing delivers a solid cardiovascular workout, while also building lean muscle.
There are a ton of different rowers to choose, which vary in price, resistance-type, and other preferences. This makes it a tough task trying to pick the right one!
To make things more difficult, it’s not a “one size fits all” machine because most have a height limitation.
Most rowers are suitable for the general population, but what about the people who are taller than the average person?
This concern begs the question – what is the best rowing machine for tall people?
NOTE: To clarify, the height considered tall for this article is 6’2” or taller. Reason being, based on my experience reviewing rowing machines, it’s usually around this height that I notice users mentioning issues pertaining to height.
A Tall Rower Scenario
Imagine this “tall rower” scenario.
First, you spend a lot of time researching a new rowing machine you want to buy. Then, you finally pull the trigger and buy one from your favorite online retailer.
When your shipment arrives, you unbox the rower, spend some time assembling it, and you give your new rower a “test drive”.
As you start to row, you notice you’re unable to straighten your legs all the way and you determine it’s because you’re too tall for the rower!
Now you have to disassemble the machine, fit it all back in the box (if you’re lucky), ship it back, and wait a few months for your refund! Plus, you may even me responsible for shipping costs!
The whole process could be a nightmare. Unfortunately, it happens a lot more often than you think.
I’ve reviewed several rowing machines with dozens of people who have experience this issue firsthand.
It’s difficult to determine if a rowing machine can accommodate your height because the information isn’t showcased by retailers like resistance-type and other features.
Also, it’s easy to get misled when you’re reading reviews of a rowing machine written by different users.
Rowing Machine vs. Inseam Length
The main measurement to use when looking for the best rowing machine for tall people is “inseam length”
Total height cannot be used because people of the same height can sometimes have different inseam lengths.
For example, let’s say you’re 6’9” and are wondering if you’d be able to use rowing machine “X” without any issues due to your height.
You read some reviews on Amazon and find out 2 users who are the same height as you are able to use the rower just fine. Therefore, you assume the rower would work for you too.
While this a good way to estimate if you can use the rower, you may have a different inseam length than the other users.
If your inseam lengths differ and yours is longer, you may not be able to fit on the rowing machine.
Inseam is the length of the inside of your leg. This is going to be the length of your leg while you are sitting down rowing.
Since most people have different inseams, it isn’t a good idea to assume one 6’7” person has the same leg length as another 6’7” person.
Here is a chart with a rough estimate of height vs. inseam length.
Knowing what to focus on is great, but it doesn’t make the process any easier for finding the best rowing machine for tall people.
In addition to finding a rowing machine you like, you also have to see if it’s designed for a taller person.
Fortunately (for you tall people out there), I enjoy doing research. Which means when conducting a review I always look for height capacity information to find the best rowing machine for a tall person.
Important Criteria for Tall Person Rowing Machine
Not only does a rowing machine need to have a long enough seat rail for a tall user, but it must also possess some other features.
Tall people usually have longer arms and longer torsos. This means they must be able to comfortably see the monitor or be able to fully extend their arms forward.
Below is a short list of important criteria a rowing machine must have to be considered suitable for tall people:
I’m stating the obvious here but I’ll go over the details to give you an idea of what I’m looking for:
- It must have ample seat rail length so the user can fully extend their legs.
- Rowing motion must not be compromised in any way (i.e. the rower must function and feel the same for a 5’8” and 6’7” person).
- Users should be able to have a slight forward lean and extend their arms fully forward.
- Users must be able to see the fitness monitor without having to bend their neck a special way.
- The user must be able to access resistance-controls (if applicable) and other buttons without any issues.
- The footrests must be able to fit the presumably larger foot/ shoe of the user.
Besides being large enough to use, it must also be a good value rowing machine. I’ll be looking at the following:
- Is it a good resistance-type?
- Is the resistance smooth, adjustable, and strong?
Monitor/ Control Panel
- Is it functional and will it keep track of vital workout statistics?
- Is the frame solid or flimsy?
- Is it durable?
- Does it make squeaking noises?
- How comfortable is the seat and handle?
- Does it fold up to save space?
- Is the unit size adequate to fit in a bedroom/ basement?
- Is it easy or difficult to assemble?
- How long is my investment protected?
- Is the price reasonable?
Recommended Best Rowing Machine for a Tall Person
Based on my research, the best rowing machine for tall people is the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine.
It’s made by Concept2, a very reputable manufacturer that’s known for making high-quality rowers.
It’s commercial-grade, so it’s made to withstand punishment in health clubs and boathouses. However, it has the portability and flexibility to be used at home.
It’s an air-resistance rower, so resistance is based on rowing intensity. This makes it the perfect fit for people of all fitness-levels.
Concept2 rowers are the preferred rowing machine for Olympic rowers, so you know they are great for tall people!
It also comes standard with a state-of-the-art performance monitor that tracks vital workout statistics, gives you the option to race yourself from a previous workout, and even teaches you how to row with proper form.
Check out my complete Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine review here and see why I almost rated it a perfect 5 stars!
There is literally almost nothing bad to say about this rowing machine!
Why the Concept2 Model D?
The Concept2 Model D was chosen because it overwhelmingly meets the ‘important criteria’ listed above.
According to Concept2, the stock monorail that comes with the Model D is long enough to accommodate inseams of 38.0″. Users as tall as 6’9″ are able to row with no issues and even have a few inches to spare.
For additional length, the manufacturer separately sells an add-on to the monorail that adds another 5.0″ for ~$250.
So unless you’re taller than 7 feet, this rowing machine should work fine!
Professional rowers who train during the off-season commonly use this rower. Their average height is ~6’4″ and they’re able to use this machine without any issues.
It comes at no surprise that all the features on this rower comfortably suit all users – small and tall.
The performance monitor angle can be adjusted to accommodate users of all sizes, the rowing motion is the same regardless of your size, and the footrests can adjust to fit all shoes sizes.
The overall design is ideal for all users, which also includes tall people.
NOTE: There are other rowers that can accommodate taller people (notably water-resistance rowers), but the Model D’s price-point is lower and overall popularity is higher.
This is where the Concept2 Model D shines. It’s an extremely well-built machine and is regarded as one of the best on the market.
It received hundreds of 5-star reviews from multiple sources and will practically last you a lifetime.
Click here to see my full review of the Concept2 Model D.
Finding the right rowing machine is a tough task and it gets even tougher when your options are limited because of your height.
There are still a few good options out there, but when the dust settles – the Concept2 Model D is a clear winner!
As I previously mentioned, there are other models that can accommodate tall users.
WaterRowers are a great example and can fit users just as tall as the Concept2 Rowers. However, they cost a little more and are not as popular.
There are also lower cost rowing machines that can fit users around 6’5″ – 6’7″.
If you want to explore other options besides the Concept2 Rowers you can visit my Personal Rowing Machine Concierge Page.
Just fill out the form and make sure to mention your height. I will then select the rowing machine that best fits your preferences.
I hope you enjoyed my article and received some valuable information!
Do you agree that the Concept2 Model D is the best rowing machine for tall people? Let me know in the comments below!
Rowing Machine King Founder and Author.