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Is The LIT Strength Machine A Smart Buy? [A Review]

LIT strength machine review

In the most basic sense, the LIT Strength Machine is really just a water rower with anchor points for attaching resistance bands.

The folks behind the LIT Method would argue, however, that that’s all you need to get in the best shape of your life.

Well, the machine itself and access to the professional instructors that are going to guide you through each workout via the LIT digital app of course.

Even though the equipment the LIT Method utilizes isn’t really that unique, the workout system LIT has derived is- and honestly, I think it’s the app and workouts you get access to that are of the most value here.

Overall, if you’re looking for a new home workout program that isn’t boring, the LIT Strength Machine is certainly worth considering.

But is it the right fitness machine for your home gym?

Well, that’s what I’m here to help you decide.

In this review, I’ll go over everything the LIT program has to offer. After reading, you’ll know everything you need to to decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth investing in.

Let’s begin.

The LIT Strength Machine

The LIT Method (and Strength Machine) is the brainchild of trainers Justin and Taylor Norris. Both had histories with personal injuries and believed in the benefits of resistance bands and other forms of low impact training (LIT, get it?)

The couple started out by using rowing machines and resistance bands to provide safe forms of exercise for folks who might have a hard time using traditional weights.

In 2016, they opened their first exercise studio utilizing their “LIT method” that allowed people to exercise together without using weights or any other high-impact forms of exercise (like running or jumping).

Well, their studio must’ve been successful, because they were able to get the funding necessary to launch the LIT Strength Machine for home use a few years later (including investments from Jay-Z’s venture capital firm).

The idea being they can bring the studio experience to the home user.

Before we move on, I want to just say one quick thing- if you check out their website, you’ll notice that they mention several times that this strength machine can be used for “physical therapy”.

As a physical therapist myself, I don’t particularly care for this, because under the right guidance, a lot of things can be used for therapy- the key being the guidance your therapist provides.

I don’t want people suffering from injury to think that doing these LIT workouts can substitute for physical therapy provided by a licensed therapist because they can’t.

Because from what I can tell, none of these instructors are physical therapists.

(Ok, I’m stepping off my soap box now and returning to our discussion).

Moving on- with the LIT Strength Machine, you can purchase in a few different bundles depending on what accessories you want.

The machine alone costs about $1750 and with that, you also get a tablet holder, a set of handles, a pair of 20 lb resistance bands, and a pair of ankle cuffs.

Other bundle options include additional bands and/or attachments that’ll go over in more detail below.

Pros

  • High-end water rower
  • Anchor points to attach resistance bands
  • 400 lb weight capacity
  • Stores vertically
  • Handles, pair of bands, ankle cuffs, and tablet holder included with purchase
  • Access to unique workouts through app
  • On-demand and live workouts
  • Low impact moves
  • Full body workouts for users of all fitness levels
  • Access to several different types of exercise
  • Good warranty

Cons

  • Rower doesn’t come with a monitor
  • A little expensive

The Rower

At it’s core, the LIT Machine is a water rower- nothing more, nothing less. That said, as water rowers go, the LIT looks pretty impressive.

Water rowers are awesome to begin with because they provide an experience similar to rowing on real water.

Like real rowing, if you pull harder/faster on a water rower, you feel more resistance; row slower and you get less resistance.

The LIT rower comes with a steel/aluminum frame that’s both durable and lightweight (only weighs 70 lbs before you put the water in it).

And even though it’s fairly lightweight, it’s still hardy enough to hold folks weighing up to 400 lb.

This being a water rower, the resistance is provided by water- I already said that. What I didn’t mention though, is that you can adjust the feel of your rower by adjusting the water level.

Pretty much all water rowers provide this feature, although with the LIT, you can adjust the water level by turning a dial (instead of having to manually put more water in or siphon it out every time).

Adjusting the tank so you’re working against more water increases your resistance, while decreasing the volume of water you’re rowing against decreases your resistance.

This certainly isn’t the only rower to come with this dial adjustment, but it is a very convenient feature all the same.

This rower uses a belt drive (as opposed to a chain), so you won’t have to hear the chain clinking, which is nice, and users seem to agree the rowing action feels great.

The only thing different about this rower from others, is that there are several anchors along the frame where you can attach a resistance band.

You can even attach bands behind the rower, allowing you to row and pull against the bands at the same time for added resistance, which is pretty cool.

Overall, when it comes to the rower itself, the LIT scores highly. It’s a well-constructed rower that users agree feels smooth during workouts.

Oh, I didn’t mention this yet, but the rower can be stored vertically for storage too.

The Accessories

The rower is nice, but there’s gotta be more to this than just a rower- otherwise it wouldn’t be much of a “method”, it’d just be a rower.

Ha, the other big component of this machine is its ability to connect with resistance bands.

Remember those anchors I just mentioned?

Well, LIT includes a pair of 20 lb bands and a set of handles with any purchase of this machine. By connecting these bands to the anchors on the rower, you can do a whole lot of different exercises.

Honestly, a lot of these exercises you could do with your own bands, assuming you had somewhere to anchor them- but being able to anchor them to the rower is convenient.

You also get a pair of ankle cuffs with any purchase (as well as the tablet holder that allows you to connect your tablet to the rower), which allows you to do a large variety of lower body moves.

You can also purchase the LIT as part of 3 different bundles (Cardio, Strength, and Performance), with each coming with a different collection of bands and extras.

The Cardio bundle comes with 45 lb worth of resistance bands, as well as a separate speed band.

The Strength bundle comes with a strength bar attachment (mimics a barbell) and a 50 lb speed band.

And the Performance bundle is the same as the Cardio bundle, but also comes with the strength bar and a machine mat.

Bands can be combined to increase total resistance depending on what level you’re at. And if you’re looking to make the most of these workouts, the strength bar is highly recommended.

And that’s really about it.

There are a few other resistance bands and foam rollers you can purchase through LIT if you like, but the bands and the rower are what make up the LIT Strength Machine.

The App

I mentioned in the intro that the LIT machine is just a water rower that’s been combined with a set of resistance bands- which is true.

What really sets this program apart from others though is how that rowing machine is being used by the instructors you get access to through the app.

The app is designed like pretty much every other streaming fitness service out there these days. That is, you pay a monthly subscription fee and you get access to an unlimited amount of workouts.

The workouts with the LIT are instructor-led and they offer both live and on-demand workouts to choose from. According to LIT, there are already hundreds of workouts on-demand, with more being added daily.

What’s unique about LIT is that they use the rower for moves you probably didn’t know your rower could be used for- for example, it makes a pretty solid Pilates reformer, when used correctly.

The workouts in the LIT app are organized into 10 different categories, which include: rowing, mat strength, rowing X strength, mat barre, Pilates, partner class, cardio, ab lab, recovery, and mindfulness.

Not all workouts require the rowing machine, or really any equipment for that manner, meaning you don’t always have to be home to get a workout in.

You get a 30-day free trial of the app when you sign up. After that, it costs $24.99/month.

In terms of cost, this isn’t bad considering apps like Peloton and iFit cost almost $40/month (well, Peloton Digital is only $12.99/month, but that’s designed to be used without the Peloton products).

With the app, you also get to do stuff like track your progress, join community challenges, and get tailored workout programs based on your goals.

Personally, I think the app is what the LIT Method is all about, so if you don’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee, I don’t think it makes sense to invest in this product.

Something else worth noting- this rower doesn’t come with a monitor.

This means you can’t keep track of metrics like time, distance, or pace. LIT did this on purpose because they want to change the way you think about exercise, but it also means you’re dependent on their workouts for tracking anything.

Not that they track any of that stuff anyway, because these workouts aren’t traditional workouts in the first place.

Which brings me to another important point- these aren’t traditional rowing workouts, so if that’s what you’re expecting, you’ll be disappointed.

Where was I, I feel like I got a little lost there…

Oh, so basically you have to be ok with joining the app and paying a monthly subscription fee to take advantage of the LIT Strength Machine.

By the way, when it comes to the app, the instructors are good, as is the production value.

But without the app, it’s just a rower and a set of bands- both of which you can get for a whole lot cheaper.

Warranty

The LIT Strength Machine comes with the following residential warranty:

  • 5 year frame
  • 3 year parts (including tank)
  • 1 year bands

Overall, this is a pretty solid warranty.

Five years sounds a little short for a frame warranty (considering the lifetime guarantee we often see on treadmills and ellipticals), but that’s what all the other elite rowers are offering (Ergatta, Hydrow, Concept2).

3 years on parts is also pretty good, considering many max out at 2 years.

A year on bands is pretty standard- regardless of how nice they are, all bands will eventually wear down and need to be replaced (although I’ve been using the same bands for 5 years now).

All things considered, I think the warranty on the LIT Strength Machine is generous compared to the other comps on the market.

LIT also offers a 30 day money back guarantee in case you’re not happy with your purchase.

Final Thoughts

Alrighty, that’s about all there is to say about the LIT Strength Machine.

With this system, you basically get a quality water rower that’s compatible with resistance bands, which in itself isn’t that mind blowing.

But when paired with the creative instructors via the app, you get access to a pretty unique workout experience.

But is the LIT Method worth investing in?

Hmm, I think that depends on a few things…

First and foremost, you have to be ok with signing up and paying for the monthly subscription plan- if not, I don’t think it makes sense to purchase this machine because there are too many quality rowers out there that cost less.

Second, you need to be ok with the fact that if you decide to cancel your subscription down the road, that you won’t have access to any rowing metrics because there isn’t a monitor.

(You can still use the rowing machine without an app subscription, after all, it’s just a water rower and doesn’t require any electricity to function, you just won’t be able to track anything).

In terms of price, it’s true the LIT is on the higher end, but it’s not that high when compared to other elite water rowers that can easily cost $1500.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fresh take on home fitness (especially one that’s low impact), I think the LIT Strength Machine is a solid choice, but it’s far from perfect.

If you’re looking for a more traditional take on rowing, but still offers streaming workouts, you might be better off with a Hydrow or Ergatta– both of which I consider better overall buys.

Will

2 Comments

  1. I purchased the Lit machine partially based on your review and wanted to provide feedback in the hopes that other consumers are forewarned. The classes are incredibly limited in quantity and variety. I found only a handful of strength plus rowing classes and NO dedicated strength classes. The instruction is horribly awkward, too quick to follow, and demotivating. The music is not varied enough, either. So if you don’t like club music, you’re out of luck. The machine itself is fine, but the lack of a built in monitor is a massive issue. The stand for the iPad or other device is flimsy and gets in the way of rowing. The app is also clunky. The videos are not zoomed in enough so you can’t tell what is going on.

    The biggest issue with the machine is the customer service. They do not honor their 30 day guarantee and generally are unresponsive. They don’t deliver the machine assembled nor help you assemble it, nor help you move to a location in your house. It’s literally a middle aged woman who delivers the machine so you better have somebody available to help.

    All in all, a horrible experience that consumers should avoid.

    • I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with the LIT machine, but I appreciate you sharing with us. Definitely a lot of stuff to consider when thinking about this product.

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