Training tool – Rowing machine

Rowing machines, also called ergometers or ergs, are often used to build fitness. Less well known is, that a rowing machine can be used excellently to teach a rower to row (better). There are specific exercises that do not use a boat but a rowing machine. In particular, the ability to use motion guidance on the rowing machine for instruction, is very effective.

Types of rowing machines

A distinction can be made between regular and dynamic rowing machines. A dynamic rowing machine approaches the boat feeling better, because the body mass - just like in the boat - remains reasonably in one place and does not move back and forth.

The regular rowing machine.

The dynamic rowing machine

Handle movements

For those rowers who use the rowing machine to row better and faster on the water, it is important to make exactly the same stroke as the one made in the boat. It is not recommended to use the stroke up to the throat, as this can lead to the development of the wrong movement in the muscle memory. It is better to lift the handle before the catch and – just as you would in a boat – to push the handle down at the finish, just as you would do in a boat. 

The typical ergometer stroke ingrain the wrong rowing motion.

Rowing without catch and pushing out does not help to get the correct rowing motion into muscle memory.

Row on the rowing machine just as you should in the boat.

It is important to give priority to the rowing technique, even during heavy training sessions. Because in doing so, the movement memory is trained to perform the right stroke. And everything that is stored in the movement memory, no longer needs attention in the boat: the rower will therefore make technical progress faster.

Split times

The speed is shown on a rowing machine in time per 500 meters. This is between 1:30 and 2:30 and is displayed in large number on the screen. In addition, the distance sailed/distance still to be rowed is shown. Because the ergometer still has to get going when the wheel is not turning, it is wise to always start with three strong strokes. The stroke rate can be freely chosen by the rower. Also see Split time calculators.

Drag factor

The numbers the numbers next to the wind box of a rowing machine, are very inaccurate and differ greatly per rowing machine. Therefore, the drag factor of a rowing machine the only good indicator of the resistance set on the rowing machine. The drag factor is a number that indicates the weight of the draw and is shown on the display. Choose a drag factor that is too light rather than too heavy.

Set Concept2 rowing machine

The drag factor is set as follows: Main menu -> More options -> Show drag factor. The factor is then displayed while rowing, Below are the guide numbers for the Concept2: the more stars, the more resistance.

      *         **        ***   
 Men 110 120 130
 Women 100 110 120
Youth 90 100 110

In the following way you can set the time or distance that you want to row on the rowing machine. The rowing machine will display the time or distance that is left to row.

In addition to the most important information, you can also choose which additional information is displayed.

Default: The default view and therefore the most commonly used.
Force curve: To see the power distribution in the draw.
Paceboat: When opposition motivates you.
Bar chart: To see if each draw is equally strong: keep them constant in height.
Large print: When you have forgotten your glasses, or are still in the denial phase.

Training tool – Rowing bin

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