WaterRower Gronk M1 Hi Rise Rowing Machine

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WaterRower Gronk M1
Hi Rise

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700 lbsDry: 79 lbs
Wet: 116 lbs

The WaterRower Gronk M1 is similar to the older WaterRower M1 that we’ve already reviewed here. However, it’s a lighter unit as its frame is made of aluminum, not steel. It’s a heavy-duty, commercial-grade machine made for users of all levels. It’s also one of the “Hi Rise” units, designed to provide more elevation to the user.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 88L x 22W x 28.5H inches (224L x 56W x 72H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 79 lbs (36 kg) w/o water; 116 lb (52.6 kg) w/ water
  • Supported weight: 700 lbs (317 kg)
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Footrests: Size-adjustable, with straps
  • Resistance type: Water
  • Console: S4 Series Performance Monitor
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

Frame construction

The WaterRower Gronk M1 Hi Rise rower features a heavy-duty frame made of aluminum tubing. Each side rail is a one-piece component with the Hi Rise elements directly welded to it. Therefore, you can’t remove them as it is the case for the wooden frame models, such as the WaterRower Club Hi Rise.

As we’ve mentioned above, the unit’s frame construction is similar to the M1 Hi Rise model, but considering that its frame is made of aluminum, not steel, it is considerably lighter. However, the machine still is rather heavy. Without water in the tank, it weighs approx. 79 lbs (36 kg), while with the tank filled to the top level, it weighs approx. 116 lbs (52.6 kg). This weight can be considered a plus, though; it adds stability to the machine.

The fully assembled unit is considerably large, especially lengthwise. It is approx. 88″ (224 cm) long, and 22″ (56 cm) wide. Plus, it is recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance at the rear and on each side for unhindered usage. This being said, the Gronk M1 Hi Rise may not be the best fit for a small room or apartment.

On the other hand, this rowing machine can be stored vertically. In vertical position, its footprint becomes 28.5″L x 22″W (72 x 56 cm) and requires a ceiling height of at least 90″ (228 cm). When the unit is stored vertically, the water can remain in the tank.

The Gronk M1 rower does not have adjustable stabilizers on its “feet” as other machines. However, the Hi Rise elements are finished with protective caps. These prevent floor damage, but it still is recommended to place and use the machine on a rubberized mat or on a carpet. Also, the front base of the unit integrates two transport wheels which facilitate its relocation. Differently put, once it is assembled, this machine can be handled and carried with ease by only one person.

The two rails of the rower are pretty long. They are designed to accommodate users with an inseam up to 38″ (96.5 cm). This being said, it should accommodate users up to 6’7″ (201 cm) with no problem, allowing a complete and healthy leg extension.

Last but not least, the main metallic parts within the machine’s construction are coated with a durable chip-resistant and corrosion-resistant carbon black finish, with the “Gronk Fitness” exclusive branding on the side.

Seat and other parts

The seat included with the WaterRower Gronk M1 Hi Rise rower features a similar construction to the seats of most other WaterRower machines. It has a high-density foam top covered by a layer of durable vinyl material. It is contoured to provide a better positioning for the user. It also offers plenty of contact surface for the user; it is approx. 12.5″ (32 cm) wide, and 9″ (23 cm) deep.

The seat base is steel-made, durable enough to support users up to 700 lbs (317 kg). It features 4 sets of wheels, 2 on top of the rails, the other on their inner side for extra stability. The wheels integrate ball bearings in order to provide a smooth motion for the seat. Also, their outer coating is designed to minimize noise.

Since it’s a “Hi Rise” rower, the seat stands at approx. 20″ (51 cm) above floor level. This considerably facilitates entry and exit for users with certain disabilities or elderly users.

The Gronk M1 rower is equipped with a set of adjustable footrests. They are designed to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. They feature heel guards and adjustable straps as well, in order to provide perfect stability for your feet during rowing.

The angle of the footrests is non-adjustable, though. They are attached to a fixed metallic plate, providing a firm support for the leg push phase from the rowing motion. The plate is set at an optimal angle of approx. 45 degrees.

The rower’s pulling handle is a short straight bar with rubberized grips. Its length is approx. 15.5″ (40 cm). It does not integrate pulse sensors or other controls like for other machines, but the rower’s exercise meter does have a pulse reading function. The pulling handle is attached to a heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant nylon strap. Since it’s not a chain, it eliminates the need for periodic lubrication.

Water tank and resistance system

The Gronk M1 rower is equipped with a similar water tank as most of the other WaterRower products. It is made of durable polycarbonate material and has a capacity of approx. 4.5 gallons. It does not integrate a water level adjustment mechanism as the First Degree Fitness Apollo Pro II, for example, but you can still adjust the overall level of resistance by manually removing or adding water.

In case you’re wondering, the tank walls are transparent, featuring a gray hue. However, you can make the tank and the water in it appear blue or another color by adding a special, non-corrosive colorant (a bottle of blue colorant is included with the machine).

The main resistance-generating element is a durable 2-blade impeller placed inside the tank and attached to the pulley system. Therefore, when you pull the handle, the impeller rotates inside the tank and adds difficulty to the rowing motion.

Just as any other rowing machine equipped with a water resistance system, the WaterRower Gronk M1 delivers a dynamic response during rowing. In other words, the resistance generated by the impeller is proportional to the strength you put behind each stroke (the harder you pull, the more resistance you will have). This resembles the sensation generated by the oars of real rowboat.

With regards to the level of noise generated by this water resistance rower, we can say that it is considerably quiet. The spinning of the impeller inside the water tank does generate some noise, but the level is low. Also, most users have described it as soothing.


The WaterRower Gronk M1 Hi Rise roweing machine is equipped with the S4 Series Performance Monitor. The unit features an LCD display divided into multiple sub-sections in order to show as many workout metrics as possible. It indicates intensity (or speed), watts, KCalories per hour, stroke rate, heart rate, and distance traveled. It also features Interval Workout Settings for distance and intensity, as well as 9 Advanced Workout Programs.

The monitor unit can be programmed to show the distance in meters, miles, km, or number of strokes. The same goes for speed, which can be shown in m/s, mph, /500m, or /2 km). Also, as we’ve mentioned above, the unit has a pulse reading function but the machine does not have any pulse sensors. So, in order to benefit from a pulse reading, you will have to use an ANT+ or Polar HR chest strap transmitter.

It is also important to mention that the WaterRower S4 monitor is PC interface capable. Differently put, you can connect it to your PC via cable in order to connect to various online fitness apps such as WaterRower’s Online Rowing Community, WebRacing, and WaterCoach FIT.

The S4 rowing computer requires 4 AA batteries as its power source. It has an On/Off/Reset button but also has a sleep function which initiates after 2 minutes of inactivity on the rower.

Assembly and Maintenance

The machine’s water tank comes pre-assembled, but the rest of the unit does require assembly. The task isn’t too difficult, though, and shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes. As a general idea, first you will have to attach the two main rails together and connect them with the rear end cap, place the seat on the rails, connect the water tank to the rail system, then add the footrests, connect the bungee cord to the pulling system, and finally attach the S4 monitor. The manual provides very clear, step-by-step assembly instructions with illustrations for each step. Also, all the tools required for the assembly are included, along with the siphon pump for filling up the tank with water.

Once the rower is assembled, maintenance doesn’t require much. You will have to add a chlorine purification tablet in the tank every six months. It is also recommended to keep the unit’s rails clean to prevent any damage to them or to the seat wheels.

It’s also important to mention that the Gronk M1 rower comes with a 1-year warranty by default. However, if you register your product on the WaterRower website, its warranty will extend to 5 years for the frame, and 3 years for parts.

The Pros

  • Extremely sturdy frame – can support users up to 700 lbs;
  • Superior aesthetics;
  • Can be stored in a vertical position;
  • Easy to handle and transport;
  • Large, adjustable footrests with heel guards and straps;
  • Contoured, padded, and ergonomically designed seat;
  • Long rails – can accommodate users with an inseam up to 38″ (96.5 cm);
  • 20″ elevation from floor level, easy to mount and dismount;
  • Water resistance system, providing a dynamic response during rowing and a natural rowing feel;
  • S4 Series Performance Monitor included;
  • HR strap compatible;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Rowing machine for users of all levels;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Easy to assemble.

The Cons

  • HR chest strap for pulse tracking is not included;
  • No adjustable stabilizers.


The WaterRower Gronk M1 Hi Rise is a heavy-duty, commercial-grade water resistance rower featuring a sturdy aluminum frame, a 4.5 gal. water tank, adjustable footrests, and the advanced S4 Series monitor with 9 workout programs and PC interfacing possibilities. The unit features extra-long rails and has an impressive 700 lbs weight capacity. It’s an excellent machine for users of all levels, offering the possibility to perform full-body cardio workouts, tone muscles, improves strength and stamina, and lose weight. And finally, it’s not exactly one of the most affordable rowers, but definitely offers great value and quality for the price.

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