Most rowers would rather be rowing on the water than sitting on an indoor rower. Unfortunately that’s not happening for many of us right now.
If you find yourself on an indoor rower, especially that stalwart of equipment the Concept2 Indoor Rower (aka Erg), there are several tricks you can use to squeeze more life (and performance) from the machine. Simple tricks.
I’m going to share 5 of my favorite with you.
Why use these simple tricks for your Concept2 indoor rower?
I’ll explain the tricks in a second, but here’s why you’ll want to use them. These tricks can:
- Reduce the spread of illness, especially in high-use situations
- Improve the performance of the human on the machine
- Extend the life of the machine
- Reduce the level of annoyance (and injury) by keeping the machine at its best
Many tricks will take 5 minutes or less.
The supplies you need will cost less than $5 USD.
And for the benefits you’ll get from these tricks can yield a great return on your investment.
(You can watch a video of three of the tricks here)
Trick #1: Oil the chain on the indoor rower (time = 2 minutes)
Concept2 supplies small bottles of chain oil with each new erg. You can substitute 20w oil in a pinch.
Concept2 recommends you apply the oil every 50 hours of use. And it’s easy to do.
Put a table spoon of oil on a paper towel/rag, and then wipe it on the length of the chain. That’s it.
Benefit: improved chain and gear life, smoother feeling during the drive
Trick #2: Inspect, clean, disinfect the handle of the indoor rower (time = 5 minutes)
Inspect: Check the handle for wear and rips in the material. Also inspect the attachment to the chain for tightness and possible frozen links.
Keep in mind that cleaning and disinfecting are two distinct and different actions. Cleaning is function-oriented and disinfecting is health-oriented.
Clean: The handle can get down-right gross. Sweat, grim, and oil from hands get driven into the handle each time it is rowed.
Using glass cleaner, a kitchen scrubby, and paper towels, I deep clean the handle frequently.
Disinfect: Before and after each row, disinfect the handle. There are several ways to do it. Some use disinfecting wipes, others use bleach solutions, spray or aerosols. Use the method that works best for you.
This is critical to do in high-use situations.
- Here are Concept2’s recommendations for oar handle cleaning.
- Here are Concept2’s recommendation for cleaning their other equipment.
Benefit: reduced transmission of disease, reduced possibility of injury (blisters, etc), improved rower performance
Trick #3: Clean the monorail of the Concept2 indoor rower (time = 2 minutes)
After each practice, I use glass cleaner and a paper towel to clean the monorail (a.k.a. rail). I am never surprised by the amount of dirt that is removed. And it’s amazing how the dirt will form bumps on the rail that make each stroke feel like driving down a pot-holed dirt road.
Benefit: improved rower performance (less resistance on monorail), less annoyance, smoother rowing
Trick #4: Keep software updated (time = 60 minutes)
The Concept2 Utility is free software that allows you to get more from the monitor. How, you might ask? The utility allows you to:
- Update the firmware
- Upload workouts to their logbook
- Manage data on your log card or flash drive
If you have older monitors updating the firmware could be critical. It was for me once and I had to update multiple monitors on the same day. It will take you some time but it is well worth doing.
The specifics steps are here, and I recommend calling their superior customer support line for help if needed.
There are other things you can do with your monitor, such as games and racing. You can find out more about those here.
Benefit: longer life of machine, improved monitor performance, tracking of data by using logbook
Trick #5: Use wood block to stop over-compression (time = 30 minutes)
Over-compression happens all too often in rowing. It can cause bad technique and injuries.
And over-compression is often a habit which rowers need to unlearn. Here’s a simple way to do just that.
- Cut a length of 1 in x 2 in wood to around 10 inches in length.
- Tape the wood securely to the erg monorail. Make sure it is secure.
- Instruct rowers on how it will shorten their stroke, but will make them much more effective
Here it is in action:
This is excellent training for new rowers, and when they transition to the water you can use the track’s front stops to help stop over-compression.
Benefit: reduced possibility of injury (reducing over-compression), improved rower technique, improved scores
It certainly is a challenging time right now but having access to an indoor rower can be a blessing.
There are other tricks you can use to increase performance, extend life, and reduce annoyance with your Concept2 Indoor Rower but try these 5 tricks first. And watch the video about 3 of the simple tricks, and get ready for a better experience with your indoor rower.
And better times ahead.
- Basic Sweep Rigging online course
- Rigging Tools For Newbies online course
- Everything you want to know about an indoor rowers (wikipedia)
- 6 Steps to a Million Stroke Boat