JTX Freedom Air Rower Review
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We could all benefit from regular rowing. It is a fantastic way to boost your fitness whilst allowing you to hit every part of your posterior chain – the muscles, joints and mechanisms of your hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back, and rear deltoids, broadly speaking – with a large amount of stimulus.
This will allow you to burn a lot of calories, whilst simultaneously working your cardiovascular capabilities and building strength, power and mass through plenty of musculature.
It’s kind of hard to go wrong.
To get the most out of your rowing practice, air resistance is a fantastic way to go. It’s what most of the professionals use. Air resistance is great. Air rowers deliver a decent, cooling fan/breeze action.
The performance is also fantastic on an air rower. It is smooth, loaded into the front of the row (as rows should be, but unfortunately not all are), and everything is self-powered by your own strokes.
There are few at-home air resistance rowers as good as the JTX Freedom Air Rower. It is well-priced and expertly made – and today we are putting it to the test in our full JTX Freedom Air Rower review.
First Impressions Of The JTX Freedom Air Rower
I really like the JTX Freedom Air Rower at first sight. It uses a combination of air and magnetic resistance that I have been eager to try out. This kind of hybrid design can go a couple of ways – it can either give you the best or worst of both worlds (though JTX’s stellar reputation should inspire nought but confidence in this regard!).
The machine itself is a little dull looking, which is a disappointment given how great some of its competitors look (the V-Fit Tornado looks like a very professional, very slick, very stylish piece of kit, for example).
However, you should never judge a book by its cover, and there are much worse things in the world than a dull looking rower.
As long as a rower functions well and gives you a decent workout, smoothly and happily, then you’re onto a good thing. If it’s well-priced, all the better.
The JTX Freedom Air Rower is very much to the better – it is everything you want from a decent rower.
JTX Freedom Air Rower Specs
The JTX Freedom Air Rower combines air and magnetic resistance very ably, giving 8 levels of manually adjustable resistance.
Air resistance rowing machines push air over an internal flywheel, thus creating the resistance they use. There are several advantages to this. Firstly, the flywheel blades turn faster the harder you row, creating more resistance.
This will give the potential for an incredibly hard workout, based entirely on how hard you are willing to push yourself. Everything will be matched to your fitness levels and strength.
They are also incredibly smooth and are well-known for accurately simulating outdoor rowing. They are often the go-to options in gyms and rowing clubs.
Magnetic resistance rowers, on the other hand, change resistance by moving magnets closer to the flywheel. The resistance is under your control – you can manually adjust resistance by changing the magnets’ placement. They tend not to give a realistic rowing experience, but can be good for really challenging yourself as you impose outside controls on the resistance.
Machines like the JTX Fitness Freedom Air Rowing Machine combine the benefits of both, using the upsides of air and magnetic resistance (they are also known as mag-air rowers).
Magnetic resistance allows you to tailor your workout to your strength levels and any given session’s requirements. You can manually adjust the magnetic resistance, choosing an intensity that suits you. Pairing this with air resistance gives an incredibly smooth row whilst allowing you to push yourself a lot harder.
The JTX Fitness Freedom Air Rowing Machine also has a fantastic computer console that displays time, distance, 500m split time, strokes/minute, total strokes, watts and calories – all the metrics you would want during your workout.
You can use it to change workout programs, setting workout targets based on time, distance, strokes, calories burned or using race mode to compete against the computer.
The monorail is 120cm of smooth, well-built iron that should be able to take anything you can throw at it. Combined with the 7-point adjustable pedals and a comfortable, quite nicely padded seat, you should have a lovely training experience every time.
The rest of the frame is made from a combination of iron and stainless steel, folds very nicely for storage, and sits at 130cm(l) x 55cm(w) x 157cm(h) when packed away like this. It’s perfect for any home-gym environment in which you might want to store your kit away rather than leaving it out to gather dust 24/7.
The machine is quite robust (unsurprising, given the combination of iron and stainless steel), and weighs in at a full 40kg. Though it folds, it may nevertheless be a little unwieldy to move about! This does, however, give it an impressive maximum user weight of 135kg. And transport wheels will make it easier to manage and manhandle.
Using The JTX Freedom Air Rower
The JTX Freedom Air Rower seems to be built to last. It has a robust frame, made from iron and steel, and the monorail is smooth and well put together. This leads to an incredibly stable row, with little to no shaking no matter what you throw at it (and I really did do my best to throw a lot at it!).
This heft also accounts for an impressive maximum user weight of 135kg. Whilst I definitely don’t reach maximum myself, I come closer than many. It was tough, however. It took my weight and the power my weight allows me to put down very well. Even the largest, strongest of athletes will be able to get a good amount of utility from it.
It’s comfortable, too. The seat uses a gym style roller mechanism, which delivers a smooth rowing motion no matter how long you keep training. This is backed up by a nice amount of cushioning, so that you won’t experience sore (or numb) bum – a common complaint of regular rowers, for good reason.
I used the JTX Freedom Air Rower both for a couple of long and short workouts.
During sprints, the comfortable seat and roller mechanisms allowed to easily switch up the power between rests. The combination of magnetic and air resistance allowed me to keep things intense where I needed them to be (though there was far less immediacy to the resistance than you might get from a pure air rower).
During longer bouts, I was able to keep going for as long as I wanted, thanks to the comfort involved in using the JTX Freedom Air Rower. My bum stayed mercifully un-sore and un-numb, and the smooth rowing action wasn’t jarring, so that it was nothing but the good kind of hard work to power through.
The JTX Freedom Air’s ergonomic design helps you to adopt and maintain the perfect rowing posture. It puts all of the pressure into the beginning of each row, which is exactly where you need it to be, allowing you to blast out from the bottom with as much strength and power as you can bring to bear.
The folding system is also easy to use – it really is perfect for smaller spaces, such as home gym environments. It is simple to move and store thanks to the wheels, no matter how heavy the frame might be.
The computer and tablet holder on the JTX Freedom Air Rower do exactly what you need them to do – no more, no less, with all the metrics you could want to enrich your training experience.
The resistance levels themselves go high enough to challenge any and all comers – I was able to burn out my posterior chain pretty quickly through the higher levels. Though it’s smooth – and it really is smooth – there is nothing easy about the JTX Freedom Air Rower if you want to push yourself.
Everything is self-powered, too, so you needn’t worry about the cost or inconvenience of plugging it in.
There are options, of course, if you’re in the market for a decent at-home rower. Air rowers come in all shapes and forms, and you can get a lot of brilliant options for your money.
If you’re after something a bit jazzier, a bit more playful and fun-looking, that still gives you everything a very good level of performance, the V-fit Tornado Air Rower is a good bet.
The V-Fit model is a club-style machine that would look very much at home in a trendy gym or leisure centre. With a comfortable, ergonomic form, multiple-function exercise monitor and speed-proportionate air resistance, it is an incredibly well thought out, well designed rower with a great deal of utility.
Though it’s beyond good, and though it looks fantastic, the V-Fit Tornado Air Rower is very well-priced. You will find it surprisingly affordable at a fraction of the price one might expect.
It is a very reasonable alternative to the JTX Freedom Air Rower.
I really like the JTX Freedom Air Rower. It is smooth as anything and reliably heavy. The heft is to its great advantage, giving an impressive top user weight and a stable base from which to really push yourself.
And you really can push yourself. The dual hybrid design, using both air and magnetic resistance, allows you to tap into everything you have. It will go as hard as you can, plus a little bit more, and you can keep the pressure on nicely with some exogenously imposed extra resistance from the adjustable magnets.
It isn’t the most exciting machine. It isn’t the prettiest. But it’s incredibly well-designed and will give you a fantastic workout.
All this, and it’s priced very reasonably. There is a lot to love, here.
James is a full time personal trainer and an award winning writer with over 10 years of experience behind him. So far, he has helped hundreds of people with their health and fitness through his career.