T Nation

Erging / Rowing


I have recently taken to using the Erg in the gym. My focus has been on my back and thought it would be a great way to get the blood flowing again after a training session or to help assist in recovery. This thing kicks my ass!! Literally too, since it requires a lot of leg strength. Does anybody else use this piece of equipment? I have found it to be a great change of pace and vital to my workouts.


I used to be on my college rowing team. I learned to develop a love/hate relationship with that machine. It's very tough, and is pretty good about sparing muscle mass. There are some truly masochistic workouts out there, (12X 500m with 1.5 minutes rest in between was one of the toughies), check www.concept2.com, they may have some good workouts.


This is my first year rowing in college (I'm a freshman, with no junior rowing experience), and I absolutely love it.

Dubs, I definitely suggest that you get someone qualified to teach you how to erg, if you've never rowed before. There is a lot of technique involved, and most people do it grossly wrong.

good2bgreek, I was wondering--how were you able to keep on mass during crew season? I'm eating five or six meals a day here, plus protein shakes, and I feel like it still isn't enough. Crew is such an incredible amount of cardio, I feel like I can never eat enough!


Best piece of all-round cardio equipment bar none. Still saving to buy my own. Above poster's right about technique- makes all the difference to the power and speed you achieve- the stroke works in a sequence of legs, back, arms then recovery. Keep your back straight.
Good luck, SRS


I got a POS Rowing machine but I love it for cardio (HIIT) Very good for active rest as well. There seems to be little eccentric.

I became fascinated with rowing last spring. Since buying a shell was way out of my budget I was going to build one from Glen-L marine plans (www.glen-l.com) but I underestimated the cost there too.

So I did the next best thing:

I build riggers onto my canoe, (no, not floats) built 9' spoon blade oars, bought a rower at a garage sale - cut off the arms - put it in the middle of the canoe and - just like that - I had a sculling skiff! Sorta.

Sorry my scanners broke or I'd post a pic.

You never saw a canoe move this fast! Man, I get funny looks at the lake.



Well, first off, obviously eat like a mofo. I wasn't exactly an ideal build for a rower, i have pretty short legs. During season, i was 6'1" and 210 lbs. at about 13-15% body fat (I was the team chubby guy.) I basically tried to maintain mass by doing circuit lifting workouts. As for gaining muscle during this craziness... good luck, if you can, more power to you. Bodyweight exercises like dips and pullups were always a part of the routine. Crew definitely gives you a weird build sometimes... I could max only 200 on bench, yet i worked out with 190 on the lat pull (I have a 6'5" armspan though, kinda explains that imbalance.) and your legs get nice and strong. Once i stopped rowing my triceps and chest got a lot bigger, mainly because they were being incorporated into my workouts. Just make sure you pay attention to keeping both sides of your body strong, i rowed starboard and my right lat and arm was a bit bigger than my left. Good luck, you'll have a blast, and you'll be in some of the best shape of your life


That machine is the ONLY cardio machine to use.

I don't need to say anything more.


Wow, this is pretty encouraging... my focus is back and legs right now. I am working on getting that "hinge" strong. Luckily, I have a friend who rowed in college and she is helping w/ pointers on technique. I agree, very difficult to master. Kind of like a golf swing, easy to breakdown, but hard to put it all together in a smooth motion. When you do hit one in stride, just right, you know. Right now I am just shooting to stay on that thing for a set times. 10 minutes is brutal! Any pointers on staying on the seat? Sometimes my legs drive me off of it.


Dubs, if you have a Concept, you can always videotape yourself and send it to the company. They have a coach who would be glad to talk to you and make recommendations on technique.

Along with being a great piece of equipment, the company provides world class customer service. They make you feel like you're part of the family.


I row everyday. Its the only way i can get to class.


My 15 yo daughter just started winter conditioning for her high school crew team. She ergs most days and loves it. She was in kickass shape to start with from soccer (and the old man's conditioning drills). I'm starting to wonder if the old basement gym might not need yet another piece of equipment. Hmm, maybe as a supportive dad I could find a Concept II and maybe when she's not using it, the old man could . . . Gotta think about that. :-)