Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW Magnetic Rower

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Circuit Fitness

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300 lbs9 lbsMagnetic,
8 levels

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW is one of the new rowing machines released by Impex Fitness at the beginning of 2019. Similar to the AMZ-986RW unit that we’ve previously reviewed here, this rower also has a manual magnetic resistance system. However, it features a more compact design, a slightly lighter internal flywheel, and a simpler console. It’s a machine designed for home use, but does have a fairly sturdy construction.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 72″L x 19″W x 38.5″H (183L x 48W x 98H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 72 lbs (32.6 kg)
  • Flywheel weight: 9 lbs (4 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Footrests: Pivoting, with straps
  • Resistance type: Magnetic, 8 levels
  • Console: Time, count, count/min, distance, calories, goals
  • Warranty: 2 years limited

Frame construction

Most of the rower’s structural frame is made of steel. However, it integrates aluminum and ABS plastic parts as well. To begin with, the front part of the frame which holds the flywheel and the resistance system is steel-made; the rear base is steel-made as well. The main rail features a steel core, but its side grooves on which the seat slides are made of aluminum material. The ABS parts list includes the covers of the drive system, the footrests, and several other covers.

Although it’s a rower made for home use, it has a pretty sturdy construction. Its seat and rail are rated for a user weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg). Many other models for home use can only support 220 lbs (100 kg) or 250 lbs (113 kg).

As we’ve mentioned above, the machine is slightly smaller than the other Circuit Fitness rower model. However, it still takes 72″L x 19″W (183 x 48 cm) of floor space, which means it may not fit too well in a small room. Plus, it is recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance on each side and at the rear for safe usage.

On the other hand, the unit has a folding frame. The rail can be folded up to save space. With the rail in folded position, the machine’s length is reduced to approx. 36″ (91 cm). This being said, its rail is 34″ (86 cm) long, so the unit should be able to accommodate users up to 6’2″ (188 cm).

The fully assembled machine is not extremely heavy but does weigh approx. 72 lbs (32.6 kg). Thus, two persons may be required at least for its transport, if not for assembly as well. But once the unit is fully set up, it can be easily relocated as its front base features a set of transport wheels.

One last aspect to mention here regards the unit’s paint finish. All the steel parts are coated with a corrosion-resistant powder finish. The color used is black; the only exceptions are the aluminum side rails which are not painted.

Seat and other parts

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW rower features a fairly large seat, designed to provide optimal comfort during your workouts. It is approx. 13″ (33 cm) wide offering plenty of contact surface. Its top is also contoured and anti-slip, preventing you from sliding off of it during rowing.

The top of the seat is made of high-density foam, mould-injected and featuring a contoured surface. It’s not extremely soft like an air-cushioned seat, but also not completely hard like a plastic or wooden seat. Its base is made of steel and integrates three sets of wheels which slide through the grooves of the aluminum side rails. The wheels have internal sealed ball bearings and rubberized covers on the exterior to minimize noise and deliver a very smooth movement for the seat.

The seat is situated at approx. 11″ (28 cm) above floor level. It’s not too high, so it may be a bit difficult for users with certain disabilities to take position on it. So, in case you’re looking for a machine with a higher seat, you may want to check out the WaterRower Club HiRise.

One last aspect to mention here regards rail positioning. It is not completely horizontal; thus, the seat is a bit higher at the rear and a bit lower at the front. This results in an easier recovery motion during each stroke, and a slightly better workout for the legs.

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW rower is equipped with two large footrests featuring a non-slip surface and adjustable straps. Each footrest has a rear guard element which adds stability to the foot.

An important aspect with regards to the machine’s footrests that we must mention here is their mobility. They have a pivoting design; they can move on their axis and tilt forward. Therefore, you can slightly adjust the position of your feet during each stroke for better comfort. Of course, they have stoppers which keep them at a maximum angle of approx. 70°.

The rower features a pulling handle with rubberized grips. The handle is attached to a nylon strap which is highly resistant to abrasion. It does not have any pulse sensors, and the unit does not have a pulse reading function.

Resistance system

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW rowing machine integrates a mechanical magnetic resistance system. This being said, its resistance can only be adjusted manually from the lever on the front unit. Also, the resistance is not programmable; the computer unit plays no role in its adjustment and does not have any preset programs that automatically adjust its resistance like the Kettle Coach E model, for example.

The machine’s resistance system consists of a magnetic brake which is connected to the tension lever on the front unit through a cable. By pressing the lever down, the magnetic brake moves closer to the internal flywheel and increases the rowing difficulty.

The internal rotating mass, or the flywheel, is not extremely heavy; it weighs 9 lbs (4 kg). It has a perimeter-weighted design which improves the stability of the rowing motion, also adding consistency to it. The other important element of the unit’s drive system is the transmission. It is powered by a belt, which means you don’t ever have to lubricate it. Plus, since there are no air resistance elements, and the brake elements do not touch, the operation of the machine is whisper-quiet.

The unit’s resistance system makes available 8 distinct levels. On the lowest tension level, you will basically be working out only via the rotating force provided by the flywheel. It’s a fairly light resistance, great for anyone who needs recovery training. On the other hand, the 8th tension level adds quite a bit of difficulty, great for anyone who wants a quicker and more intense cardio output.

Of course, just as any other full-magnetic rower, this Circuit Fitness model does not offer a dynamic response. In other words, the resistance is strictly determined by the selected tension level. It doesn’t increase in intensity if you pull the handle harder, as it is the case for fluid resistance rowers, or air resistance rowers. This is not necessarily a downside, as the machine provides a great cardio workout, but a professional rowing athlete may want a rowing feel closer to rowing a boat through the water.

Exercise meter

As we’ve mentioned above, the computer included with this Circuit Fitness magnetic rower does not play any role in its resistance adjustment, nor it has any preset programs. It does count the most important workout metrics, though. These are time, distance, count (totals strokes), count per minute (strokes per minute), and calories burned. The distance unit is “meter”; you cannot select miles. Also, the machine does not have any pulse sensors, and the meter cannot read your pulse. Thus, if you need to keep an eye on your heart rate during your workouts, you will have to use a separate device.

Although the computer unit does not have any built-in workout programs, it does offer the possibility to select workout goals for time, count, distance, and calories. When a goal is selected for any of these metrics, the unit will display the remaining value until you reach your goal.

The unit features an LCD display without backlight. It is battery-powered and requires two AA (1.5 V) batteries. It is very easy to use, featuring only three buttons – MODE, SET, and RESET. The MODE button allows you to select one of the metrics that you want to view at all time or the SCAN mode which rotates all the metrics showing each one for 6 seconds. The SET button allows you to enter set-up and create a goal value for any metric except count per minute. And finally, the RESET button clears all the values on the meter to zero.

The unit has a sleep mode feature. If it does not detect any activity on the machine for 4 minutes, it will automatically turn off to save battery. To wake it up, you can either begin rowing or press MODE.

Last but not least, the meter unit features a large tablet holder. You can place your table or phone above it in order to view your favorite shows during rowing or use a more advanced fitness app. However, the meter unit does not have any online connectivity and you cannot transfer your workout data online.

Assembly and Maintenance

The drive and resistance elements of the machine come already assembled and enclosed by the ABS shrouds. Therefore, you only need to attach the front base stabilizers, connect the rail to the front part of the frame, add the seat, close the rail with the rear stabilizer, and finally attach the footrests and the console. This shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes. A basic toolkit is included. Also, the manual provides step-by-step assembly instructions and detailed schematics.

With regards to maintenance, maybe the most important aspect is keeping the aluminum rails clean, to prevent any nicks into them or any damage to the wheels. The internal parts do not require any lubrication. So, other than this, you should only check for loose bolts and parts from time to time.

The Pros

  • Durable frame – can hold users up to 300 lbs;
  • Compact and aesthetic design;
  • Folding rail;
  • Transport wheels integrated into the front base;
  • High-density foam, mould-injected seat for optimal comfort;
  • Quiet aluminum track system;
  • Pivoting footrests with heel guards and adjustable straps;
  • Fairly long rail – can accommodate users up to 6’2″;
  • Smooth magnetic resistance system with 8 distinct levels;
  • Exercise meter included – it can track time, distance, count, total count, and calories burned;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

  • No backlight on the fitness meter;
  • No pulse reading function.


The Circuit Fitness AMZ-979RW is full-magnetic rower designed for home use. It features a sturdy and compact steel & aluminum frame with a weight capacity of 300 lbs. It’s also foldable and includes a basic fitness meter. It’s a great fitness machine for light to medium intensity cardio workouts, stamina development, muscle toning, and weight loss. It offers the possibility to perform a full-body workout involving up to 84% of your muscle groups. And finally, it’s an affordable machine, currently available for less than $250.

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