Yes, that is the wooden erg that House of Cards’ Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) thrashes away on in his basement when he’s not scheming his way to the White House. It’s also, as of this year, the first piece of workout gear ever sold by the gift shop of NYC’s Museum of Modern Art. But here’s the thing: The WaterRower, which was invented in the late ‘80s by a former U.S. national team rower, doesn’t just look handsome in your house—it also delivers a helluva workout.
The rower’s blades, housed in a chamber of real H2O, mimic the effect of actual aquatic rowing. “I really like it for whole-body conditioning circuits,” says Jason Riley, a Tampa-based sports performance coach. “The water makes it far more psychologically soothing that just watching display. So you’ll keep using it for that experience alone.”
If money were no object, and sun, mud, cars, rain—OK, the whole outdoors—terrified you, the Woodway Curve would bet he only home treadmill you’d ever need. If not, you should get it anyway.
The Curve is self-powered, which means you make it move at your pace. “It’ll kick your ass from the minute you step on it,” says New York-based trainer Will Lanier. “It forces a runner into a position that’s safer and more efficient. This stimulates the road better than any motorized tread—the better your form is, the easier it is to get it moving. It’s 100% hands-down the best thing since sliced bread and peanut butter.”
It’s also ultradurable. “You don’t have to worry about it breaking,” says Lanier. Compare it with cheaper (motorized) models, and it’s an investment worth making.
Schwinn A.C. Performance Plus
Riding this stationary bike is as close as it gets to pedaling outdoors.
“The A.C. is built for heavy use—meaning, sturdy as fuck,” Lanier says. “You can’t beat it for the price.” And, bonus! “You don’t have to plug it in—the [battery-powered ] computer measures your miles, RPM, watt output—the whole gamut. So if you’re a stats nerd like I am, you can use them to improve your ride performance. You can also clip into the pedals to stimulate road-bike fun.”
At just over four feet long, the A.C. is the most popular bike in boutique spin studios. “That means the best in the business have done the research for you,” says Lanier. “Plus, it’s easy to move and has a holder for a water bottle or a beer—hey, you can do whatever you want at home.”
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