The gamified Aviron rower lets you blast monsters while you work out

It offers full-body workouts disguised as your favorite arcade games.
By SaVanna Shoemaker  on 
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rowing machine against colorful background
The Aviron rower is effective and fun to use, but make sure it fits in your space before purchasing. Credit: Aviron
Aviron rower
The Bottom Line
The Aviron Impact Series Rower offers full-body workouts disguised as your favorite arcade games, but comes with a hefty price tag and a recurring subscription fee.
Buying Options
Mashable Score 4.75
Cool Factor 5
Learning Curve 5
Performance 5
Bang for the Buck 4.5
The Good
  • Gamified and competitive workouts
  • Access to Youtube on the display
  • Large 22-inch touchscreen
The Bad
  • On the expensive side
  • Length may be a problem for small spaces

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For some of us, squeezing in a workout is a constant struggle — especially since so many workouts are just plain boring. 

Aviron is seeking to change that with their gamified rowing machines — which offer challenging full-body workouts that feel more like games. In fact, you may recognize several of the games from the arcades of your childhood. (And if those don’t keep you interested, you can watch Youtube on the Aviron’s 22-inch HD screen while you row, too.) Aviron rowers start at $2,199.

This was my first experience with a rowing machine, and I am already a believer. It’s a quick, vigorous, and entertaining workout — which obliterates all my excuses to stay on the couch.

The rower

Aviron offers two models at the moment: the Impact Series and the Tough Series. I am reviewing the Impact Series, but the Tough Series offers more reinforcement and a higher weight limit. Aviron started out making commercial rowers for gyms, and they still use the same commercial-grade materials now that they’re selling directly to consumers too.

I’m not good at putting things together, but I was actually able to tackle 80 percent of the Aviron’s setup without my husband’s assistance. The directions were straightforward and easy to follow, and we had the rower fully assembled and ready to use in about one hour.

The first thing I noticed about the Impact Series rower once it was fully assembled is that it is long. At just over eight feet long, it takes up almost a whole wall in my tiny home gym/storage room when folded out — so you’ll definitely want to make sure it will fit where you want it before you purchase.

It also comes with a generous, 22-inch stationary touchscreen display.

The rower offers a combination of air and magnetic resistance at 16 different levels. I’m currently sitting at a five to seven, which provides a vigorous half-hour workout. Topped out, the rower provides about 100 pounds of resistance.

Despite all this, it’s surprisingly quiet when in use. 

My only complaint about the rower itself is that, as someone who’s on the shorter side, I have a very hard time reaching the screen to adjust the volume or resistance during a workout

The workouts

In an ocean of streaming workout content, Aviron’s unique approach definitely stands out — highlighting games and gamified workouts over traditional fitness content that features a trainer on the screen guiding you through your workout.

My highly competitive son and husband love the high-pressure games — like Bug Blaster, Distress Down Under, and Zombie Apocalypse. I, on the other hand, am a big fan of the game Explorer — which features a protagonist on a winged rower who gets to explore all sorts of fantasy worlds (with no villains in sight). I’m also living vicariously through the virtual scenic rows, which give me an opportunity to see beautiful waterfront sights around the world despite COVID.

You can choose Power Play workouts, which combine games with guided workouts to challenge you — and these offer automatically adjusting resistance, as well. Aviron also offers races against professional athletes (pre-programmed) as a fun way to push yourself and see how you compare to elite competitors. However, if you prefer the more traditional workouts, Aviron also offers Metrics Monitor — which just shows you your stats.

person working out on rowing machine with a game onscreen
Aviron's games distract you from the fact that you are indeed working out. Credit: Aviron

If you thrive on competition or the community aspect, Aviron also offers a ton of community features and leaderboards for each workout. You can also create and join group games to compete head-to-head with other Aviron users. Aviron’s private Facebook group is a great place to connect and find some like-minded people to compete with.

Finally, Aviron also offers a fun achievement system that allows you to earn badges, as well as an Experience Coins system that lets you earn coins to spend on backgrounds, new workouts, and new avatars.

The best part is that the rower offers a full-body workout that involves your arms, legs, shoulders, and core. If you row hard enough and you’ve got the resistance up, even a five-minute workout can leave you sweaty and tired. It’s an excellent combination of cardio and resistance training for folks who want to take a time-saving, one-and-done approach to fitness, and the huge amount of gamified content with an Aviron membership will keep these workouts from getting stale, too.

An Aviron membership costs $29 per month or $299 per year. It allows you access to Aviron’s full library of workout content and lets you create multiple user profiles for all of the members of your household.

However, even if you decide to forego the membership, you’ll still be able to create a profile, track your history and performance, adjust your resistance, and use the display to access Youtube.

Add to cart?

This rower is FUN. I’m far from a competitive person, so I actively avoid the head-to-head racing or live competitions, but I enjoy it all the same — and my husband and son, who thrive on competition, love it. There are plenty of different workout modes for people like me who prefer the solitary experience, or for people who are driven by climbing the leaderboard. 

It also seems to be really well-made, although it is pricey (but not so bad when you compare it to other fitness tech like Tempo and Peloton). However, the difference with Aviron is definitely the gamified workouts that keep things interesting — and that may be worth the steep price.

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