Tag: rowing

Fundamentals of Rowing

Starts Wednesday, October 19th | 7:00am

Do you wonder how you can get the most effective workout on a rowing machine? Would you like to try rowing on the water someday but feel you wouldn’t know what to do?

Then join this six week class and learn how to use a rowing machine like the Rowers do.

In this 50 Minute class we will explore the Rowing Machine’s:

  • Stroke Rates
  • Using 500 meter splits
  • Proper use and settings of the “Damper”
  • Power Graph
  • Variable workouts
  • Rowing for Power, Cardio, Cross training, Core, & Coordination

*Minimum of 4 participants to run this program.

For more information or to sign-up, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer, Nathan Palmer at npalmer@sacdt.com.

Fundamentals of Rowing

Starts –  Thursday, February 4th |  12:00pm

Do you wonder how you can get the most effective workout on a rowing machine? Would you like to try rowing on the water someday but feel you wouldn’t know what to do? Then join this six week class and learn how to use a rowing machine like the Rowers do.

In this 50 Minute class we will explore:

Rowing Machine


  • Stroke Rates
  • Using 500 meter splits
  • Proper use and settings of the “Damper”
  • Power Graph
  • Variable workouts
  • Rowing for Power, Cardio, Cross training, Core, & Coordination



Program commitment of six weeks $165.00 per person. (Pay in advance, no prorating for missed classes. Minimum of 3 participants required for class to happen)

For more information, please contact our Personal Fitness Trainer, Nathan Palmer at npalmer@sacdt.com.

Boost Your Endurance Training Program

One of the most popular modes of exercise inside and outside of the gym is endurance training. Whether you enjoy running, rowing, stair-stepping or any other endurance training machine available in the SAC, chances are your training program could use a boost. Varying your endurance training program not only breaks up the monotony of working out but will also lead to improved performance. Utilize these types of aerobic endurance training to boost your workouts and performance.


Types of Aerobic Endurance Training:


  1. 1.    Long, Slow Distance Training (LSD)

This is generally what people do when they “go for a run.” The intensity should be about 80% of maximum heart rate or, if you don’t have a HR monitor, simply test if you can talk without undue respiratory distress while running; if so you are most likely at the correct intensity. The distance should be greater than race distance, or the duration should be at least 30 minutes to 2 hours. Frequency should be 1-2 times per week (NSCA).


  1. 2.    Pace/Tempo Training

For this type of training you need to be at an intensity at or slightly higher than race competition intensity. Duration should be ~20-30 minutes performed 1-2 times per week. This can also be referred to as threshold training. You should not be able to talk comfortably during this training (NSCA).


  1. 3.    Interval Training (Aerobic)

Interval training involves exercise at intensity close to your VO2max or maximum heart rate. Your work intervals should last between 3 and 5 minutes with rest intervals equal to work intervals (1:1 work to rest ratio). With this type of training you are basically working at an intensity you can only sustain for the prescribed work interval. Interval training should be used sparingly as it is very stressful, about once per week (NSCA).


  1. 4.    Repetition Training

Intensity for repetition training should be greater than VO2max, with work intervals lasting between 30 and 90 seconds. Longer rest periods are needed for this type of training so a work: rest ratio of about 1:5 is recommended. If you don’t have a way to accurately measure your intensity, simply work at a pace you can only sustain for the prescribed work interval. This technique will greatly improve your final kick or push at the end of a race (NSCA).


  1. 5.    Fartlek Training

This is a combination of several types of previously mentioned training. A Fartlek run involves easy running combined with either hill work or short, fast bursts of running for short time periods. Fartlek training challenges all systems of the body and helps reduce the boredom and monotony of training. This can be done once a week for ~20-60 minutes (NSCA).


For questions about designing your endurance training program please contact;

Just How “Full Body” is Rowing Really?

Do you ever get tired of hearing that just about every such-and-such an activity is really great because it’s “Full Body”? What does “Full Body” mean anyway?

If you consider that using multiple joints at a time in multiple planes of motion for a given exercise is probably getting close to “full body” then there really are a lot of activities that fall into that category. Golf, Horse Shoes, Tennis, Gardening, Swimming, Food Fights… you get the idea. The real question is not whether a given activity is “full body” or not, but how to do it well, with efficiency, balance, power and stability. Any body can throw food in the cafeteria, but few can do it well and even fewer can do well and cause someone else in trouble for it. And, really, that is the goal of honest food fighting.

So maybe mastering the art of full body food fighting isn’t on your top-ten list for the New Year. But I’ll bet that Rowing is! And guess what, its “full body!” It requires muscles throughout the body to be primary drivers in one moment and stabilizers in the next. It requires tremendous core stability to control the slide on the recovery and to connect all the powerful muscles of the legs, back and arms during the catch, drive and finish of the stroke.

Not only that, it also requires both anaerobic power and aerobic endurance to sustain a given workout or race. And, if done well, there is virtually no injurious stress on the knees and shoulders. The web site for Concept 2 has a great explainer of what muscles are used when and how. You can find it by clicking here and an even more detailed description by clicking here.

Seattle Athletic Club has very good Concept 2 rowing machines. Take some time to learn how to use them well and start to feel the “full body” benefit of this great sport. If you would like more information on how to use this machine in a true full body motion please contact personal fitness trainer Nathan Palmer or watch his YouTube video.

Rowing Machine: Using the Best Resistance Levels for Most Effective Workouts

Rowing Machine (ERG)Do you ever wonder what about the resistance levels for the Rowing Machines (aka: Ergs)? Do you set them to the highest level to get the hardest workout? Or do you set it to the lowest levels because you don’t want to work that hard? Let’s unpack this.

The most effective use of the erg is to replicate the actions and rhythms used to row on the water (even if you’ve never crewed before and don’t intend to.) To that end you want to set the resistance or Drag Factor to what you would experience in the water which for the average adult (male or female) is around 115. Generally, that is between 4.5 to 6.5 on the resistance setting; however, every machine varies so it’s a good idea to calibrate the drag factor each time you use the erg to work out. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Sit on the erg and prepare to start rowing.
  2. Turn on the Concept 2 computer by pressing the Main Menu button
  3. When the list of options appear, choose More Options
  4. Choose Display Drag Factor
  5. Start rowing as you normally do; when you get a consistent number adjust the resistance up or down to 105 – 125. (I am 6’ 5”, weigh 220 pounds and generally row at 120.)

The drag factor is designed to replicate the kind of boat you would be rowing. The smaller sleeker shells will have less drag in the water and will therefore glide further with less force applied by the oars. Big, old, and beat up shells (like what are used for beginning classes) will not glide through the water as fast or as far thus they will cause considerably more drag in the water. So when you are lifting that resistance lever to the highest level understand that what you are really doing is getting a slower and shorter recovery, or glide time. If you want to work on your power and strength focus instead on a long, even, and hard push with your legs, a smooth engaged lean back with your torso and an even clean pull with your arms. Then reverse that pattern two times slower on the recovery slide.

Rowing at the highest setting does not equate better strength training; it can promote poor technique which can lead to injury, especially in the back and shoulders. Conversely, rowing at the lowest setting can be a really useful tool for developing core control and stability. Many coaches will have their rowers do drills at the lowest setting to develop those areas.

The best way to develop your strength on an erg is to focus improving your stroke rates and times while increasing distances per stroke traveled. I will be getting into these details in future posts.

Indoor Rowing is a Great Full Body Non-Impact Exercise

Are you looking for a great addition to your workout? Consider the rowing machine, also known as an Erg. It’s a fantastic tool to work on your both aerobic and anaerobic endurance, muscle strength throughout your body, plus developing coordination and timing though your muscle chains.

When using the rowing machine, set the computer to meters, and /500m splits. (It will not give you an accurate caloric expenditure, and the watts option is also inaccurate so don’t use those options.) The best way to judge your progress is to compare your 500 meter splits with your time and distance covered. Another way to monitor progress is to see how fast you can complete a given distance (say 2,000 meters) at a given stroke rate. So if your stroke rate is 24/minute and your first 2k test is 15 minutes then use that as a baseline. In a few weeks test again and see if you can bring that time down to 12:30 at the same 24/minute stroke rate. That is fantastic improvement! Keep up the great work.

Looking for a good Rowing Machine workout to keep that metabolism high while being tempted with all those holiday goodies?

  • 9x500m w/2:00 rest between each.
  • Do it in a stroke rate (strokes/minute) pyramid: 18; 20; 22; 24; 26; 24; 22; 20; 18. You’ll find the S/R on the display screen.
  • Goal is to improve your 500m split time as you climb the pyramid and maintain those same spits as your descend the pyramid. That will mean you are rowing with greater power and efficiency by using fewer strokes.

Set up:

  1. Get on the Erg (aka Rowing Machine) and turn on the monitor to Main Menu
  2. Go to Just Row
  3. On the bottom three buttons press the Change Units button
  4. Select /500m (Calories and Watts are completely inaccurate and useless options don’t waste your time with them!)
  5. Go back to Main Menu
  6. Go to More Options
  7. Go to Display Drag Factor
  8. Set Damper to 5 and start rowing
  9. Adjust the Damper until your Drag Factor is between a 115 and 120
  10. Return to Main Menu
  11. Go to Select Workout
  12. Go to Intervals Distance
  13. Use the scrolling arrows to so set your workout:

Set Workout:

  1. On the distance option use the arrow and +/- buttons to select 500m
  2. Scroll to Rest and set up 2:00 rest