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Indoor Rowing Machine

The Erg

The erg, or indoor rowing machine, is an invaluable training tool for rowers. Not only can athletes learn and perfect their rowing stroke on the erg, it can also deliver a grueling cardio workout.

The erg sits about two feet off of the ground. It has a seat, which moves up and down the slide, a handle, which is attached to the wheel by a chain, and a digital screen that shows speed readings, time, stroke rating and other measures of the stroke. On the side of the wheel, there is a lever to adjust the resistance. Depending on the age of the erg, this resistance should be set between 3 and 4 in order to best represent the feeling of rowing on the water.

Practice hitting each part of the stroke (finish, arms away, body angle, catch, and drive) in sequence on the erg before increasing your exertion. Performing the stroke incorrectly at a high intensity is how most rowers sustain long-term injuries to their lower backs, ribs and shoulders, said Lauren Spinka, University of Florida Varsity Women's coach.

Watch rower David Carlson teach Katie Valle, a novice rower, how to erg. Continue to the Water page to learn how to translate the stroke to the water.