Which is a better Machine for you and Your Wife is a Matter
of Preference & Necessity
Both elliptical machines and rowing machines are capable of elevating your
heart rate sufficiently enough to achieve the intensity, and duration you need
to stay fit as well as improve your cardiovascular fitness.
You may want to think of the activities rather than the machines. If
you go rowing in a lake every day, there is little point to owning a rowing
machine. If you often ride bicycle, cross country ski and go for
walks/jogs, the elliptical gives you some of the same benefits which would make
the rowing machine a better choice.
Which Machine can give you a "Better Workout" ?
There is no doubt that rowing machines are superior when it comes to high
intensity cardio workouts. You will never see a professional athlete who
requires extreme cardio endurance working out on an elliptical. Rowing
machines are often used in VO2 max tests which test and individual's maximum
Often times the high intensity workout which the rowing machine is capable of
is a double edged sword. Even though movement is controlled by the user on
the elliptical machine, the intensity of an exercise session on a rowing machine
is completely dependent upon the user's ability to maintain a certain cadence.
Someone on an elliptical can sit back and be lazy so to speak and let the
program change intensity by altering ramp height and resistance and still burn a
significant amount of calories while someone using a rowing machine really has
to be motivated to keep up the cadence required to get that "better workout".
machines have more moving parts and are more complex pieces of equipment which
means they are more likely to need maintenance than a rower.
machines non-impact exercise is going to be better if you or your wife has knee
problems, back problems and especially tight hip flexors as rowing involves lots
of hip flexor work.
machines offer iso-lateral movement (one side at a time) as well as many
adjustments which can vary the movement of each cardio session while the rowing
machine offers the same exact movement every time you use it.
machines have more programmable elements which can make each exercise session
unique while rowing machines only have various intervals.
machines are usually silent while rowing machines will be making some swooshing
feng shuii a concern elliptical machines take up more volume and vertical space
in a room.
If nothing previously mentioned is a consideration and it's a toss-up
consider that if self and your wife are extremely competitive and motivated type
A people, I'd go w/ the rowing machine. If you are more more laid back,
type B personalities I'd recommend an elliptical. Any chronic knee/back or
posture problems are reasons I'd recommend the elliptical over the fluid rower