Erg Responsibly

To all you recreational fitness buffs out there:

Yes, you may have heard about benefits of rowing.   It’s a full-body workout, a true combination of cardio and strength.  It hits it all: core, back, glutes, legs, lats.  You can burn 600-800 calories an hour.

You may have seen videos or maybe even in person, a beautiful 8-boat crew idly gliding by on the water in perfect synchronization and thought, “Wow…that looks amazing.”

You may live by one of these new indoor rowing clubs, like this one featured on  Perhaps you’ve thought it might be fun to give it go.

That’s great.  Go for it.  I love rowing. I love trying new things.  I understand the need to give it whirl.    But you need to understand–as someone who knows how to row and how to erg, I can’t handle erging next to you anymore.  It’s clear you have no idea what you are doing. You are not getting the maximum workout you should be. And in some cases, I know you’re just going to hurt yourself.

Here’s what you look like:

And this:

No joke–saw someone doing that this week.  Here’s what else you look like:

Please take note:

  • If your legs aren’t burning–
  • If you are rowing at what is called “32 strokes per minute” and not breaking a sweat–
  • If you are a grown, fit man, and your 500 meters spilt time is a 2:30–
  • If you are rowing with your palms facing up to the ceiling–
  • If you think rowing on the ergometer is fun–


I see people looking over at my screen when I erg at the Y.  Yes, if the person next to you, regardless of age, is rowing at “18” strokes per minute and has the same 500 meter spilt as you, rowing at a “38,” there is something wrong.

Please, take a little time.  Do some research.  Rowing is great exercise, but if you’re not doing it correctly, you are missing out on the full benefits of rowing, as well as risking injury.  Rowing taxes the muscles in your back and if you are not doing the stroke correctly, you can overexert your muscles.   It’s happened to me!

The most common mistake I see in recreational ergers?  Not keeping the legs down while executing a swing forward.  If you have to bring your handle up and over your knees as you move up the slide, you are not erging correctly.

Check this out:

Remember–it’s up you to erg responsibly.



About camckenna

I write; I row.
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