Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 Magnetic Rower

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WHMH 1683

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250 lbs74.3 lbsMagnetic,
14 levels

The Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 rower is one of the models released in 2020. It’s a full-magnetic rower with an open flywheel similar to the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5856 or the Fitness Reality 2000F. However, it offers more tension levels and a Bluetooth console compatible with the MyCloudFitness app.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 80L x 23W x 28.5H inches (203L x 58W x 72H cm)
  • Shipping weight: 74.3 lbs (33.7 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs (113 kg)
  • Frame: Steel
  • Resistance type: Manual magnetic, 14 levels
  • Console: Time, split time, total count, strokes, strokes per minute, watts, calories, goals, Bluetooth
  • Extras: Device holder

Frame construction

The Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 rower features a durable steel frame with a rail and seat assembly rated for a maximum user weight capacity of 250 lbs (113 kg). All the steel parts in its construction feature a durable corrosion-resistant paint finish. The color used is black, this being the only color available for this rower.

The unit also integrates several ABS plastic parts in its construction, though. For example, the casing of the drive and resistance elements, the base bar caps, and the footrests are made of durable thermoplastic material.

Although it’s not a machine made for commercial use, the Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 rower features a fairly long rail. It is designed to accommodate users up to 6’6″ (198 cm) which is not bad for a home-use machine. The fully assembled unit is approx. 80″ (203 cm) long, and 23″ (58 cm) wide, while its highest point (the front part of the drive mechanism) reaches approx. 28.5″ (72 cm) above floor level.

This rowing machine is foldable. The rail with the seat can be folded vertically and locked in this position with a pin to save space. With the rail folded up, the machine’s length is reduced to approx. 41.5″ (105 cm) while its height becomes 57.5″ (146 cm). Also, the front base of the unit is equipped with small transport wheels while the rear base features adjustable stabilizers.

Last but not least, the fully assembled trainer is not extremely heavy. Its net weight is approx. 70 lbs (31.7 kg). This being said, it can be transported and assembled by only one person.

Seat and other parts

The Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 rower includes a standard rower seat, similar to the seat of the XTERRA ERG220 or the Circuit Fitness AMZ-167RW. It’s top is made of high-density foam and features a bit of contouring for a better positioning. It’s not super comfortable but not extremely hard either. So, as a small conclusion here, we can say it is designed for optimal comfort.

The base of the seat is steel made. As we’ve mentioned above, the seat and the rail are durable enough to support users up to 250 lbs (113 kg). it features three sets of rollers which integrate ball bearings and have a rubberized outer layer for reduced noise. Two of the rollers slide on top of the rail while the third one slides under the rail for improved stability.

The seat is at approx. 15″ (38 cm) above floor level. Differently put, it’s not extremely low so it shouldn’t pose difficulties even for users with certain disabilities. Also, its top is approx. 12″ (30.4 cm) wide so it provides plenty of contact surface.

The unit’s footrests are made of durable ABS material. They have a pivoting design. This means they can slightly tilt forward and backward as you row, adapting better to the movement and positioning of your feet. However, the have stoppers at the heel so they won’t tilt backward over 45°.

The footrests feature a textured surface. They also have adjustable straps and heel guards for maximum foot positioning. Their size is non-adjustable, but they should be able to accommodate athletic footwear of all sizes.

The pulling handle of the rower consists of a short straight bar attached to a heavy-duty abrasion-resistant nylon strap. This means the unit’s drive system doesn’t need any lubrication. Also, the pulling handle doesn’t have any pulse sensors and the integrated performance monitor doesn’t have a pulse reading function.

Resistance system

As we’ve mentioned above, the Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 is a full-magnetic rower. It doesn’t have any air or water resistance elements. This means that the machine doesn’t generate a dynamic response during rowing. In other words, the resistance doesn’t depend on how hard you pull. It strictly depends on the selected tension level. This shouldn’t be an inconvenience as the rower does provide a pretty consistent workout helping you engage more than 80% of your muscles. However, the rowing feel doesn’t resemble the rowing of a real boat through the water as much as it does for an air resistance rower or a water resistance rower.

The machine’s resistance system is manual. This means that you don’t need a power adapter for it and you don’t have to connect it to a power source to be able to adjust the resistance. It consists of an internal magnetic brake connected to the tension knob on the front unit of the machine. Therefore, when you turn the knob, the brake moves closer or farther from the flywheel, increasing or decreasing the rowing difficulty.

The resistance system offers 14 difficulty levels. The first ones deliver a fairly light rowing difficulty, great for cardio training and stamina development. Conversely, the top levels add considerably more difficulty to your workout. As a general idea, even a professional athlete may not be able to sustain a steady pace on this difficulty level for more than a few minutes.

The exact weight of the rower’s flywheel is not specified. However, since it is pretty similar to the Fitness Reality 2000F, it should be approx. 12 lbs (5.4 kg). It’s not a perimeter-weighted for enhanced inertia as it is the case for spin bikes, but does provide a pretty consistent and smooth rowing motion. Also, the rower has a dual drive system which adds to the overall rowing difficulty and to the smoothness of the ride.

Performance monitor

The Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 rower integrates a multi-function performance monitor. It features an LCD display divided into six sub-sections which track time, spit/time, strokes, strokes per minute, distance, calories, and watts. The strokes per minute (SPM) and the distance functions share the same window and are shown alternatively.

The performance monitor unit does not have a pulse reading function, nor it has any workout programs. However, it does have target settings for time, distance, and calories. Thus, if you select a target for any of these metrics, the unit will count down from the selected target until the value reaches zero.

The performance monitor has a built-in Bluetooth function. This means you can sync it with your smartphone or tablet via the MyCloudFitness app. This app is available for both iOS and Android. It has a free, basic version which you can always use, and also has a paid version with multiple extra features. The basic one allows you to track your progress and view your workout history.

The monitor unit uses four AA batteries which are included. It starts up when you begin rowing but also automatically shuts off after several minutes of inactivity on the rower.

Assembly and Maintenance

Similar to most other magnetic rowers, the Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 model requires user assembly. However, the front section with all the drive and resistance elements comes pre-assembled. You only have to connect the rail to it, insert the seat on the rail, close the rail with the rear stabilizer, connect the front stabilizer as well, and the footrests. This shouldn’t take more than an hour of your time. The included manual provides all the necessary assembly instructions and a set of basic tools is also included.

The machine’s maintenance doesn’t require much. You only have to keep it clean, especially the rail, to prevent any damage to the seat rollers. The internal parts shouldn’t require any maintenance or lubrication for a long period of time.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame for home-use machine – can support users up to 250 lbs;
  • Folding design;
  • Adjustable stabilizers on the rear base bar;
  • Transport wheels on the front stabilizer;
  • Padded and contoured seat for optimal comfort;
  • Pivoting footrests for a perfect foot position with each stroke;
  • Fairly long rail – can accommodate users up to 6’6″;
  • Quiet and smooth magnetic resistance system;
  • 14 levels of resistance (many other magnetic rowers only offer 8);
  • Performance monitor included;
  • 6 window on the monitor to view as many workout metrics as possible simultaneously;
  • Goal setting functions for time, count, and calories;
  • Phone holder included;
  • Batteries for the console are included;
  • Tools for the assembly are included;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

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


The Women’s Health Men’s Health 1638 is a rowing machine made for home use. It is equipped with a full-magnetic resistance system featuring 14 difficulty levels. It has a folding design with a long rail that can accommodate users up to 6’6″. It also includes a performance monitor that tracks time, split time, strokes per minute, watts, and calories, and is compatible with the MyCloudFitness app. It’s a pretty decent machine for a full-body cardio workout, muscle toning, stamina development, and weight loss. It costs a bit more than the average magnetic rower in this feature range but definitely offers excellent value for the price.

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