Can you use Hydrow without a subscription or membership?

Leanne Yenush

Many home fitness companies have started offering subscriptions and memberships in partnership with their physical exercise equipment. These subscriptions provide access to live and on-demand workouts, training programs, and communities that are exclusive to members. 

But, not everyone wants another subscription to pay for each month. We live in a world full of subscriptions – your streaming service(s), music, gaming services, apps on your phone, cloud storage, meal kits, and gym memberships too. The average person is paying for 12 subscriptions per month. Adding another monthly subscription to your budget might not be high on your list. We get it.

So the short and sweet answer to the question “Can you use Hydrow without a subscription or membership?” is…. Yes. You can. That being said, membership truly is an integral part of the Hydrow rowing experience and should be treated as such. Everything that makes Hydrow what it is requires a membership. We do offer a “Just Row” mode for users without a subscription.

 Before you decide that this subscription isn’t for you, give us a moment to change your mind. 

What makes a Hydrow Membership different

From day one, we developed the Hydrow Membership experience to be unlike any other fitness subscription available today. There are so many out there that provide guided workouts, tutorials, and training programs. But they’re all very similar. 

Other fitness subscriptions feature content that is designed to get you through your workout. They are designed to make you sweat, to get you through your 30 minute exercise session, and to convince you that you didn’t hate it so you might want to do it again tomorrow. 

Hydrow’s goal is not to get you through your workout. It’s to get you immersed in it. Our Live Outdoor Reality approach is what makes us unique. 

Our approach to filming our content does not make our production crew’s job easy. We film outside, on-location, on the water. We want the videos you’re watching to be as close to real life as possible. We want the immersive experience to be authentic, leaving space for real life to happen.

You’ll see rain. 

You’ll see a goose in the water next to you. 

You’ll see another team of rowers on the other side of the river. 

You’ll hear laughs. 

You’ll feel like you’re there.

We don’t aim to have a perfectly-polished, studio-filmed, curated video that makes you feel like you’re in a gym. We aim to bring you right on the water with us.

We aren’t putting a headset microphone on the face of an instructor so they can teach a virtual class. Actually, we have a firm rule that our athletes (not instructors – but we’ll get to that next) don’t wear headsets or microphones that cover their faces. It might seem small, but a microphone is a symbol of authority that differentiates them from you. Our athletes are not leading a workout for you to follow because they’re in charge. Our athletes are exercising right there with you, immersed in the workout.

Now, we don’t use “instructors” to lead our workouts. We use Athletes. These athletes are real people. They have authority in the rowing world. They aren’t coaches who have built their reputation from teaching classes. They’re athletes who train and compete in the programs they’re leading. We have Olympians and Paralympians, competitive rowers and triathletes. Our Athletes are there to meet you where you are and be a part of the experience together. 

The perks of a Hydrow Membership

A Hydrow Membership is more than just access to great Live Outdoor Reality content. 

  • Live workouts in real time on the water

  • Over 4,000 on-demand workouts (and constantly growing)

  • Unguided rows through scenic waterways which we call Journeys 

  • On the Mat yoga, pilates, and strength training workouts

  • Every one of your rows counts towards a donation to

  • Multiple user profiles so everyone in your household can track their stats

  • Leaderboards and weekly team racing challenges

  • Dynamic database of your workout history and progress

All of this content is accessible on your Hydrow machine as well as on our mobile app. Using the mobile app, you can access this content anywhere with internet access or cell signal. If you’re traveling and don’t have access to a Hydrow, but do have access to a different rowing machine, you can use your phone to stream your workout. If you’re wanting to take advantage of the On the Mat content while you’re not near your Hydrow, your phone will be your best asset.

One of the best parts of the Hydrow experience is the community it comes with. The Hydrow community shares, supports, and works out together.

The Just Row mode experience

Hydrow rowers are intended to be purchased and used with a Hydrow Membership. If you choose to purchase a Hydrow without opting for a membership, you’ll be able to utilize “Just Row” mode. There are no pre-recorded, preloaded, or free workout videos available without the membership. If you decide that a membership isn’t for you, you’ll still be able to use the Hydrow machine like you would other rowing machines. 

Available features in Just Row mode:

  • Adjustable drag and resistance settings

  • On-screen rowing metrics during workouts

  • Bluetooth Connection for heart rate monitors only

  • “Hydrow 101” videos and introductory materials to get you started

Your Hydrow machine will still require connection to power and internet at all times - even in Just Row mode. Power is required to enable the electromagnetic resistance mechanism for dynamic resistance. All workout screens (including the basic features in Just Row mode) do require internet access.

The bottom line

So yes, you can use Hydrow without a subscription or membership. But we don’t recommend it. People don’t buy a Hydrow machine just to have a rowing machine (our machines are great - don’t get us wrong). They buy a Hydrow for all of the benefits that come with being an active part of the Hydrow community. 

A Hydrow Membership is so much more than access to pre-recorded fitness content and a place to store your stats. Join our community. Immerse yourself in your health journey. Experience what makes Hydrow different.