An indoor rower (also known as an ergometer, ergo, erg or rowing machine) is a machine used to simulate the action of rowing on land. Originally a training method, it has become established as a sport in its own right. The term also refers to a participant in this sport.
Ergo comes from the Greek word ergon - meaning "work". Therefore ergometer literally means "work meter".
Layout of the machine
Although several simple machines exist for casual home use, there are three major models: RowPerfect, WaterRower and Concept2. Of these the Concept2 is the most popular, and is generally considered the standard training option for world-class rowers. Each machine consists of a flywheel connected to a chain and handle. The rower pulls the handle, causing the flywheel to spin. The flywheel has a damping mechanism applied (using either air or water) that is intended to simulate the feel of an oar moving through water. Depending on the machine the rower either moves back and forth as part of the rowing action, or the rower remains stationary and the flywheel mechanism moves. The machines where the rower remains stationary are generally considered to better simulate the feel of a boat.
Each machine features a digital performance monitor that can display the athlete's work output in watts, calories, or notional "metres" that are roughly calibrated to correspond to the speed of a four-man boat on the water.
Concept 2 organise a large number of indoor rowing competitions all over the world, including the world championships (a.k.a. CRASH-B Sprints) held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The usual distance for competition is 2,000 m.
The world records for 2,000 m are currently (as of September 2004) 5:37.0 for men and 6:28.6 for women.
- Concept2 (http://www.concept2.com)
- WaterRower (http://www.waterrower.com)
- RowPerfect (http://www.rowperfect.com)