Life Fitness Row HX Trainer

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Life Fitness HX

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330 lbs71 lbsWater,
4 levels

The Life Fitness Row XR Trainer is quite a similar rowing machine to the FDF Apollo Pro 2 model. It’s a water resistance rower made for home use, but does offer superior quality and aesthetics. Similar to the First Degree Fitness rowers, it offers adjustable resistance, a feature that most models from WaterRower do not have. For reference, this is the Life Fitness rower part number HOME-ROW-0101.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 83.5L x 20.4W x 22H inches (213L x 52W x 56H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 71 lbs (32.2 kg) w/o water; 108.3 lbs (49 kg) w/ water
  • Supported weight: 330 lbs (150 kg)
  • Frame: Wood & steel
  • Footrests: Adjustable, with straps
  • Resistance: Water, adjustable (4 levels)
  • Exercise meter: Time, time/500m, pulse, strokes per minute, calories per hour, distance, watts, USB port
  • Warranty: Frame 5 years / Tank & seals 3 years / Mechanical 2 years / Console 1 year / Labor 1 year

Frame construction

The Life Fitness Row HX Trainer combines steel and wood parts in its construction. The two main sliding rails of the machine are made of hardwood, oiled and polished. The exact type of wood is not specified (probably Ash), but what’s important here, is that the wooden frame structure is durable enough to support users up to 330 lbs (150 kg).

The front section of the machine which holds the water tank is steel-made, coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The color used is black, this being the only color available for this model.

The fully assembled unit is fairly large. It is approx. 83.5″ (213 cm) long, and 20.4″ (52 cm) wide. This being said, it can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm) with no problem, allowing a complete leg extension. It is recommended, though, to leave at least two feet of clearance all around the machine for ease of access and safe usage.

Similar to other wooden frame rowing machines, the Life Fitness Row HX does not fold, but it can be stored vertically. Evidently, when stored vertically, its height becomes 83.5″ (213 cm), so it should fit in a room with a 7-foot ceiling. It’s also important to mention here that when stored vertically, the water can remain in the tank.

The fully assembled rower is fairly heavy. It weighs 71 lbs (32.2 kg) with its tank empty, and approx. 108 lbs (~49 kg) with the tank filled to maximum. By nonetheless, its front base is equipped with rubberized wheels which facilitate is relocation.

One last aspect to mention here regards the machine’s stabilizers. The unit rests on four rubberized pads which are non-adjustable. Therefore, on an irregular floor, a rubber mat or a bit of improvisation may be required to perfectly stabilize it.

Seat and other parts

The Life Fitness Row HX trainer is equipped with a seat designed for optimal comfort. Its top is made of durable polyurethane material featuring a contoured surface. It does not integrate air cell cushioning, but it’s not too hard either.

The seat offers plenty of contact surface; it is approx. 12.5″ (32 cm) wide, and 11″ (28 cm) deep. Its frame is durable enough to support users up to 330 lbs (150 kg). Also, it’s height is 11.5″ (29 cm).

The seat features 8 wheels; 4 of them slide on top of the unit’s rails, and the other 4 slide on their inner side for extra stability. The wheels have a rubberized outer layer and internal ball bearings in order to provide a smooth and quiet motion for the seat.

The Life Fitness HX water resistance rower is equipped with two adjustable footrests. They’re made of durable and flexible nylon material and they’re attached to a firm metallic plate. They are large enough to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. They’re also equipped with straps and heel guards for improved foot stability.

The angle of the footrests is non-adjustable. They do not pivot on their axis as for other rowers, such as the MaxKare magnetic rower, or the Sunny SF-RW5885. Their plate has an incline of approx. 45°.

The unit’s pulling handle consists of a metallic bar approx. 21″ (52 cm) long. Its grips are rubberized and slightly curved in order to reduce the impact on your wrists. They don’t have pulse sensors or other accessories.

The pulling handle is attached to a durable nylon strap which passes through a system of pulleys. Since it’s a strap and not a chain, as it is the case for the Concept2 Model D rower, for example, it doesn’t need any lubrication. It also generates less vibration and it’s quieter than a chain drive.

Water tank and resistance system

Similar to other water resistance rowers, the Life Fitness Row HX is equipped with a durable polycarbonate material water tank. Its capacity is approx. 4 gallons (15 liters). The tank features an internal impeller that is attached to a pulley and cord system. It spins into the water tank when you pull the handle and generates resistance.

The water tank offers 4 adjustable levels of resistance. It is divided into two chambers (active and passive) and has an adjustment dial on top. Therefore, if you want to increase the overall rowing load, you simply turn the dial up. This way, a part of the water from the passive chamber will move into the active chamber so you won’t have to manually add or remove water from the tank. This is quite a plus, as other fluid rowers such as the WaterRower Vintage Oak for example, do not have.

It’s also important to mention here that the HX rower provides a dynamic response and a rowing sensation similar to the rowing of a real boat. In other words, not only that the resistance is adjustable, it also depends on how hard you pull the handle. For example, if you row at a faster rate, you will get more resistance.

Finally, the level of noise generated by the water tank is minimal. In general, water resistance rowers generate less noise than air resistance rowers. In fact, the sound generated by the impeller in the water tank can have a relaxing, disconnecting effect.

Exercise meter

The Life Fitness Row HX Trainer includes an exercise meter that offers quite a few more features than the average basic models. To begin with, it has an LCD display divided into 8 sub-sections so it can show up to 8 workout metrics at once. Therefore, you don’t have to use a Scan Mode to rotate them. The unit tracks time, time/500m, pulse, strokes per minute, calories per hour, distance, and watts. Distance is shown in meters; there is no option for miles. Also, the unit can only track your pulse if you opt for the wireless HR chest strap accessory which is not included.

The meter unit does not have preset workout programs but does have a target function for distance. By pressing the large (left) button, you can set up a distance target for each workout. This button also has a Reset function. By pressing and holding it down for 3 seconds you can clear all the values on the unit to zero.

The two (+ / -) buttons allow you to correlate the console adjustments to the selected resistance level on the tank. For example, if the 3rd level of difficulty is selected on the tank, you should also select the 3rd level of difficulty on the console, so it can provide more accurate readings for calories, watts, and time/500m.

The meter unit also has a USB port. This allows you to connect it to a PC or laptop and transfer your workout data into the Life Fitness App. This way, you can keep a better track of your workout data and progress.

Last but not least, the unit is battery-powered. It requires two AA batteries which are included. It starts up when you begin rowing. The unit will keep your workout data for 5 minutes after you stop your exercising, but after this period of time, it will enter its battery saving mode and all your workout data will be cleared to zero.

Assembly and Maintenance

The machine’s water tank comes pre-assembled and attached to the front, metallic frame. However, the rest of the rower does require user assembly. In other words, you will have to attach the two main rails, add the seat, connect the rail system to the metallic frame, the footrests, and the console. This may take up to an hour of your time, but the assembly process is not too complicated and the manual provides clear assembly instructions. Also, all the necessary tools are included.

For maintenance, the water inside the tank should be treated with chlorine pills. One pack of chlorine pills is included, and one should be dropped into the tank every 12 months. The unit’s rails must be kept clean to prevent any damage to the seat wheels. Other than this, you should also periodically inspect your rower for loose bolts or damaged parts.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame construction – can support users up to 330 lbs;
  • Aesthetic design;
  • Storable in upright position;
  • Easy to handle and transport;
  • Transport wheels on the front base;
  • Adjustable footrests with heel guards and straps;
  • Water resistance system, delivering a dynamic response and a natural rowing feel;
  • Dual-chamber water tank with adjustable resistance (4 levels);
  • Contoured, ergonomically designed seat;
  • Multi-window LCD display console that tracks time, time/500m, pulse, strokes per minute, calories per hour, distance, and watts;
  • USB connection, for online workout data tracking;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Rowing machine for users of all levels;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • No workout programs on the console;
  • The chest strap for pulse monitoring is not included.


The Life Fitness Row HX Trainer is a water resistance rower designed for home use. It features a sturdy frame with an aesthetic design and a dual-chamber water tank with 4 levels of resistance. It also includes a multi-window display console that tracks 7 workout metrics. It’s a rowing machine for users of all levels, great for a low-impact, full-body cardio workout, muscle toning, stamina development, and weight loss.

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