Fitness Reality 400MR Rower Review: A Solid Stroke for Your Home Gym

Rowing machines are fantastic for building a full-body workout that engages major muscle groups, improves cardiovascular health, and burns serious calories. But with so many options on the market, choosing the right one can be tricky. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly rower that delivers a smooth and effective workout, the Fitness Reality 400MR deserves serious consideration.

First impressions and assembly

The 400MR boasts a sleek and sturdy design with a solid steel frame. While it’s not the most compact rower out there (weighing in at 116 lbs), its heavy-duty construction inspires confidence and ensures stability during even the most intense workouts. Assembly is straightforward, thanks to clear instructions and included tools. Most users report having the machine up and running within 30-45 minutes.

Rowing Motion and Comfort

One of the 400MR’s standout features is its smooth and natural rowing motion. The magnetic resistance system provides consistent and adjustable drag, mimicking the feel of gliding across water. Unlike some air rowers that can be noisy and jerky, the 400MR operates quietly, making it ideal for apartment living or shared workout spaces.

The rower’s ergonomic design prioritizes comfort, with a padded seat that sits at a comfortable height for easy entry and exit. The footrests are adjustable to accommodate different leg lengths and feature pivoting heels for a natural leg drive. The handles, or “oars,” have a comfortable grip and allow for a full range of motion, engaging both the upper and lower body during each stroke.

Performance and Features

The 400MR offers 16 levels of magnetic resistance, providing a challenge for users of all fitness levels. Beginners can start with lighter settings and gradually progress to more challenging workouts. More experienced rowers can crank up the resistance for an intense calorie-burning session.

The rower’s LCD console displays workout data such as time, distance, strokes per minute, calories burned, and heart rate (with an optional chest strap). It also comes pre-loaded with 15 workout programs, including interval training, hill climbs, and fat-burning routines. These programs add variety to your workouts and help you stay motivated.

Pros and cons


  • Smooth and quiet magnetic resistance system
  • Sturdy construction and comfortable design
  • Adjustable resistance levels for all fitness levels
  • 15 pre-loaded workout programmes
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Affordable price point


  • Large footprint compared to some other rowers
  • A heart rate monitor requires an optional chest strap (not included).
  • A basic console compared to some higher-end models

Overall Verdict

The Fitness Reality 400MR Rower is a fantastic option for anyone looking for an effective and affordable home rowing machine. Its smooth rowing motion, adjustable resistance, and comfortable design make it a great choice for beginners and experienced rowers alike. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of some high-end models, its solid performance and value for money make it a top contender in the mid-range market.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • The 400MR has a maximum user weight capacity of 300 lbs.
  • The rower folds for storage, but it doesn’t fold completely flat.
  • Some users have reported minor issues with the assembly instructions and console functionality.

If you’re looking for a versatile and budget-friendly rowing machine that delivers a challenging and effective workout, the Fitness Reality 400MR is definitely worth checking out.

fitness reality 400mr rower review

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