LifeCORE R88 Rowing Machine Review

Last Updated on March 7, 2018 by Jeff

Overview:LifeCORE Fitness R88 Rower

The LifeCORE Fitness R88 rower is the most inexpensive rowing machine in LifeCORE’s line-up, but the quality and features definitely do not suffer for the lower price. In the LifeCORE R88, you’re getting the same drive system and frame as their other row machines (like the R100)as well as a computer that has a bunch of features to track your workouts and progress from session to session. The computer also allows the option of connecting to the wireless LifeCORE 5K chest strap for heart rate monitoring (sold separately).

Click here to see the price of the LifeCORE Fitness R88 Rowing Machine on Amazon.

Technical info:

Assembled dimensions:

  • Height: 26 inches
  • Width: 18 inches
  • Length: 70 inches
  • Weight: 67 lbsLifeCORE R88 Rower

Folded dimensions (storage):

  • Height: 62 inches
  • Width: 18 inches
  • Length: 24 inches


  • One color LCD display.
  • 6 level electronically adjusted resistance that combines air and magnetic
  • Low profile at 15 inches (38.1 cm) off the floor for a more stability
  • Quick release framelock mechanism so it can be easily folded for storage
  • Fully adjustable footrests and an ergonomic 10 degree handle
  • Belt driven for a quiet, reliable and low maintenance rowing
  • Forged aluminium rail for industrial strength and a smooth, gliding seat
  • Optional 5K chest strap that wirelessly transmit the user’s pulse to the computer
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs.

Computer Features:LifeCORE Fitness R88 Rower computer

  • Manual Mode – the user can set goals as they see fit. Alarms sound when the goal is met.
  • Race Mode – the user challenges a mini boat on the screen to race. The user sets their own Time/500m and total distance then race against the computer on difficulty levels from L1-L15.
  • Recovery Mode – Only available using the optional chest strap. This feature initiates a 60-second cool-down where the computer monitors your heartrate recovery and gives you a fitness score.
  • User Profiles – The computer allows for a single user profile to be set up to store sessions.
  • Workout data includes:
    • Time
    • Time/500m
    • Distance
    • Calories
    • Strokes
    • Total Srokes
    • Watts
    • Pulse

LifeCORE R88Warranty:

The LifeCORE R88 has a lifetime warranty on its frame. The parts, moving parts and console have a limited two (2) year warranty. The warranty also includes a 90-day labor period for in-home repairs. When bought direct, the manufacturer will provide a 30-day, money-back guarantee, less the cost of shipping.

Shipping and Assembly:

The LifeCORE R88 rower comes shipped with many of the components partially attached for easier assembly. Even the computer comes pre-attached to a post that clicks into place after the quick-connect power cable is attached. LifeCORE provides the assembly manual with step-by-step instruction. The manufacturer also provides two wrenches and an Allen key for assembly. They also provide an instruction manual for the computer.

Packaged dimensions:

  • Height: 34 inches
  • Width: 10 inches
  • Length: 53 inches
  • Weight: 78 lbs

Company Data:

The R88 Rowing Machine is manufactured by LifeCORE Fitness. The Carlsbad, California, company makes a line of fitness equipment including indoor rowers, exercise bikes and elliptical machines. They are known to make gym quality equipment for home use at an affordable price.

What We Love About the LifeCORE R88 Rowing Machine:

The LifeCORE R88 Rowing Machine is a good mid-range rower specifically designed for a full body, in-home workout. It has many features that you don’t typically find in this price range, which allows you to optimize your workouts and track your progress. This rowing machine is designed with the user in mind with many ergonomically-friendly features.

Foldable DesignLifeCORE Fitness R88 Rower

The LifeCORE Fitness R88 rower’s best feature is that is designed for space saving. When properly stored, the rower can be folded into a design that measures 16 inches by 24 inches.


At $699, the LifeCORE R88 Rowing Machine is extremely affordable. Comparable machines with the same features come in at a price that is about $200 above this rower.

Comfortable & Lightweight

The LifeCORE R88 is designed with comfort in mind. It has many ergonomic design features that make the rowing position very comfortable. The large seat makes allows you to extend workouts with ease. The footrests are easily adjustable to a wide range of foot sizes, and the 10-degree handle provides a realist rowing experience. The low center of gravity also ensures stability while allowing the user to provide full exertion. Finally, at 67 lbs, this rower is easily portable for storage after workouts.

LifeCore R88What Isn’t So Great:


Some people find the LifeCORE R88 Rowing Machine difficult to assemble. There are reports that assembly times were all over an hour and some people cited times over two hours. The rower comes with an assembly manual, but again, many reviewers found the manual confusing and difficult to follow. Connecting the rail to the machine seems to be the most difficult part of the assembly. In some cases, two people were necessary to support and align the rails so that the bolts could be installed.


Many users of the LifeCORE R88 rower complained that the computer monitor is not backlit. When searching for drawbacks for the functioning of this rowing machine, this is really the only thing that stood out. Using this machine in a poorly lit room will definitely make seeing the computer very difficult. Of course the solution could easily be to have a light positioned behind you. One more minor complaint on the computer is that it can only store one user profile.


Though the LifeCORE R88 Rowing Machine uses a a quieter belt drive (instead of a chain drive), it employs air and magnetic flywheel for resistance which can produce some noise. In a small room, the noise can become a little distracting for some people. Obviously, the fan noise increases as you apply more effort, and some people may find it motivating to hear the fan get louder as they burn more calories. Other will just find it a bit too much.

Final Word on the LifeCORE R88 Rowing Machine:

At around $699, the LifeCORE R88 Rowing Machine is a good buy. The comfort and rower features are typical of rowing machines that you will find at a much higher price. Additionally, the heart rate feature and computer functions allow you to regulate your exertion and track your progress from workout to workout. Finally, the durable construction and design ensures that you will have good rower for a long time to come.



Here’s a quick video featuring the LifeCORE R88:

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