Body Sculpture BR3010 Rowing Machine Review
Rowing is one of my favourite types of cardio. It truly is one of the best forms. Using a rowing machine, you can work a large amount of muscle mass under often significant load, placing a great deal of emphasis on you hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back (your posterior chain, collectively).
Because rowing uses such a large amount of muscle mass, and because the resistance can be quite high (especially if you focus on power output through every pull), they will tend to elevate your heart rate very quickly. This will give you a great kick to your cardiovascular fitness. They also help to build muscle, with great emphasis on endurance. And, because of all of this, they can use up a lot of calories very quickly.
You can get nearly everything you need from one.
But what if you could go further. Rather than nearly getting everything, what if you could get absolutely everything you need from a rowing machine?
Enter the Body Sculpture BR3010 Rowing Machine, an all-in-one gym solution that I’ve recently had the pleasure of trying out.
First impressions Of The Body Sculpture BR3010
Full disclosure, I was very sceptical of the BR3010 rowing machine.
Now, it’s cheap as anything. It really is. I can’t quite believe how low-cost it is, at a smidge (a real smidge) over a hundred pounds. If you want to deck your home gym out for next to nothing, items like this are the way to go.
However, I don’t like the rowing mechanism, and I don’t think the bands will be all that good in the long term. Rowers generally use magnetic, flywheel or water resistance to give a smooth pull that delivers much of the stimulus at the bottom of each pull. This is how rowing should be – it’s how to best switch on your posterior chain.
The bands used for rowing are lightweight and will give the most resistance at the top of the row, exactly where you don’t want or need it.
The bands look good for upper body work, however. Three resistance levels show promise for adaptation and overload, and the secure anchor point on the machine will allow you to do a lot with them.
As I said, I was sceptical when I first saw it. Price aside, I wondered if there really would be that much value in a machine designed and built the way the BR3010 is.
Body Sculpture BR3010 Rowing Machine Specs
The BR3010 has a built-in gym, or so they claim. Let’s not run away with ourselves.
There is very little here that could be used for anything other than ‘toning’ – a word non-trainers use to mean a mixture of high rep conditioning, minor hypertrophy, and intense cardio. You won’t feel like you’re playing with barbells loaded with twice your bodyweight. You won’t feel like you’re throwing around kettlebells or getting controlled reps in with a set of dumbbells.
However, what is included is quite good, and certainly useful for certain things. It cannot be used to develop much strength in the muscles, as they claim, but it can be used to elicit hypertrophy (yes, there is a difference). There are three tension cords on the rower which can be set to low, medium, or high resistance (all relatively speaking). These can be used for a variety of exercises that can help you to build up the arms, chest, shoulders, lats, and abs.
But what does it offer as a rower, which is key?
Well, it offers quite a lot, actually. The frame is good quality aluminium. It’s manually powered, so you don’t need to worry about energy bills or finding a space for it next to a plug socket.
It comes with secure footplates. These pivot and have Velcro straps to keep you firmly in place throughout your training. There is a built-in computer that shows you the metrics you want from a rower: calories burned, count, total row count, scan, and time, so you can monitor and track your progress.
At 120cm x 32cm x 19.2cm and 16.23 Kilograms, it’s a good size. It’s actually pretty easy to store, however. The BR3010 is easily foldable, so you can put it away in a closet or wardrobe when you’re not using it. Combine this with its multi-gym appeal and you have a very handy machine indeed, perfect for giving you a bit of everything when space is limited.
You also get a user’s manual that shows you all sorts of things you can do with the BR3010, which I really like.
The rowing machine comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty in case anything goes wrong.
Using The Body Sculpture Rowing Machine
So, the specs look good. The BR3010 is a good idea on paper. But as above, I was very sceptical going into it. Was my scepticism justified, or did I judge it too early?
The bands do provide a decent upper body workout. They won’t be very relevant for higher tier athletes – I could perform plenty of reps with even the heaviest bands through most exercises. You also don’t get too many options for arms that are particularly workable. However, for somebody just starting out, or for a more casual user, they are good.
The bands do not give a good rowing workout. Flywheels, magnetic resistance, and water rowing machines are popular for a reason. They are lovely to use. Bungee cords are not. They provide accommodating resistance (they get tougher the tauter they go, so the further back into the row you go) which is not a nice sensation for a rowing machine (which should provide the bulk of the resistance at the first thrust, at the beginning of each row). It’s jagged, largely unstimulating, and quite awkward and uncomfortable to use.
The BR3010 is simple to put together and to fold away. You can get it out the box and ready to go in under half an hour, with most of the assembly done for you. To fold, the BR3010 lifts upwards just past the central pivot and takes up less space when folded, making it perfectly storable… but it could probably go smaller. Many rowers do.
So, the Body Sculpture Rowing Machine is a bit of an odd fish. It’s a decent enough concept, but there are some definite issues with it. In essence, it tries to do too much, and does few of them very well at all. It would be better using a flywheel – even a cheap, lightweight one would give a nicer workout – and having a simple hook attachment for some upper body cables.
I could barely get myself out of breath rowing, and my posterior chain felt nothing at all.
However, I would thoroughly recommend the BR3010 to those just getting into fitness or getting back into it. As a rowing machine, it will challenge newcomers, both in terms of cardiovascular demand and posterior chain stimulus. Those unused to resistance training will feel a good pump and burn from high rep work with the bands, and the ability to combine all three will give a good deal of progressive overload over time as they adapt.
It’s also easy to live with and, let’s face it, I can’t bash it too much given the price. Some of the rowers I’ve reviewed have cost ten times what the BR3010 will set you back.
If you’re looking to get into fitness, from home, with a good variety of different training styles, and you want something cheap and cheerful to see you through as you first dip your toes, this is a solid choice. It has its place in the market – I can very much see the appeal.
If not the BR3010, are there other options out there?
Absolutely. I mentioned above that the BR3010 would be better as a proper, flywheel-based rower with a simple hook attachment for some upper body cables. Well, you can get this going yourself. Simply buy a good treadmill in the same price point, alongside a set of bands. Or, alternatively, bodyweight exercises will give the same stimulus (actually, quite a lot more…) as the resistance bands you get with the BR1030. I would recommend a pull up bar, a set of push up handles, and a rower.
You’ll be fit, with a strong, stable upper body and core, in no time at all.
For my money, I would suggest the JLL R200 Rower. It’s a little pricier, though still very affordable on most budgets, and will give you a better row than the BR3010.
You get 10 levels of magnetic resistance, which is always good but looks phenomenal next to the BR3010, as well as an advanced belt driving system that provides rapid engagement. The LCD monitor is smart and gives you all the metrics you would expect, and the frame itself has wheels attached so is very easy to transport.
Buy this with a set of resistance bands, or simply go for push ups, pull ups and planks.
My criticisms aside, this is quite an impressive machine for the price. It really is the cheapest rower I’ve ever used that has given me a decent amount of utility, however low. Hats off to the BR3010 for that.
It won’t give most athletes a good workout. There’s no getting around it. It’s too light and too janky, with the pressure coming in at the wrong point in the row.
However, if you’re just starting out and looking to spend very little to be able to train your full body, with scope for a little progression, it’s perfect.