Using An Erg

Using An Erg

Ergs are available and we know you’ll work hard on them – PLEASE wipe all your sweat off the equipment and from the padding underneath when you’re done. Your fellow members will appreciate your consideration.

Place the handle against the wheel when you’re finished. Do NOT leave the handle in the temporary holding position in front of the foot stretcher.

Practicing Technique


Photo courtesy of Wendy Barnes

New members, please check your erg form with an experienced rower – while the machine is a great tool to learn the rowing motion and to improve your fitness, it is easy to get hurt when the stroke is not correctly executed. In our upper boathouse, we have several ergs that members can use to practice proper technique.

Strength Training

While rowing on the water attracts most of us to rowing, practicing on the erg (indoor rowing machine) ensures that we do not injure ourselves and helps to build strength and endurance.

A tapered training schedule means that the intensity of the workouts varies across time to optimally build strength and endurance. Tapers can occur at multiple levels such that their layering results in a peak in strength on a target date. Generally, the peak date is set to a goal regatta.

Pursuits empty of passion lack our 100% effort. Of course we all have responsibilities, but we must not forget our dreams and goals. Find your passion. Pursue it with all your heart. That’s all there is; anything less is a waste of your time.
Sarah Kessans and Emily Kohl

For example, a training schedule can have two levels of taper. The first is across the entire training season. The first few weeks are designed to train your aerobic base and develop muscle tone. As the season progresses, the workouts are built to increase in intensity and become anaerobic for low- and high-intensity training days. Throughout the schedule, it is important to include steady-state pieces that help your muscles recover. Recovery during training is vital as it eliminates lactic acid build up and helps to rebuild muscles so as to avoid injury.

The second taper occurs on a weekly basis. Workouts are arranged so that you can do a “small peak” session at home and then accomplish the “large peak” session as a team. The most important series of workouts occurs from Sat – Mon. The low-intensity, high-intensity, steady-state sequence is designed to build your strength, but can lead to injury if not done properly.

In order to gauge progress, it is also important to meter your workouts. For example, every other week you might do an erg test. For the first erg test, set a goal that you think is reachable. Once you have some results, you can then set realistic goals for each successive 2K or 1K erg test. There are two types of goals to set: 1) 2-week goals, and 2) a season goal. By selecting these two goals appropriately, you will have the most successful training season.