It was during this time that I began my love/hate relationship with the Concept 2 Rower or the 'Erg' as we referred to it. For rowers, it really is an awful device in comparison to actually being out on the water, but very useful in its own way for precisely measuring speed and power over time. Once a week we'd do a 2500m time trial on the erg, and it was something we used to dread doing, despite loving the competition within my crew to out do each other.
It's been 20 years since I was last on the water, and in that time I've continued to use an erg as part of my training. I even owned one for a number of years. It was always a fantastic low-impact cross training tool for running.
I also love that CrossFit recognises the enormous benefits of rowing, and that the 'erg' features so strongly in the program mix. That said, I don't think there is nearly enough attention paid to developing the correct rowing form and maximising the benefits of this device. One of the most frustrating things I continue to see is people who are otherwise highly competent in other training areas thrashing about on a Concept 2 in a sloppy and inefficient way.
Learning and mastering the correct rowing form on a Concept 2 will help this device in giving you one of the best whole body workouts you could ever hope for, and one that incorporates full range functional motion through the ankles, knees and hips that cycling and swimming simply can't.
There are plenty of good videos demonstrating good form available on the web, so it's worth investing the time watching them and applying the principles next time you're at your gym or box. There's a few things to keep in mind concurrently, much like in improving your running form, but like running, it will eventually become quite natural.
Below is one good video that was put out by CrossFit HQ this week.