As The Flywheel Spins: A Concept2 Workout Podcast

Join Concept2 trainer Cady Hart-Petterssen in guided podcast workouts. Cady will lead you through invigorating workouts to help you strengthen and condition. The podcast provides great motivation to row, ski or bike more—the time flies by as your flywheel spins! Download the podcast to your smartphone to follow along. Suitable for all levels.

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Combined Workouts with the Indoor Rower and SkiErg

As an increasing number of individuals and facilities now have both a Concept2 Indoor Rower and a SkiErg, we have been asked how the two pieces of equipment can be used together in one workout.

What are the benefits of a mixed-erg workout?

  • Balances your opposing muscles. Rowing opens at the hip while skiing closes at the hip.
  • Alternates muscle groups. Resting different muscles can allow for longer workouts.
  • Adds variety. Work in different positions, such as seated vs. standing.
  • Equipment can be shared. Join a partner and workout together.

Workout Ideas

Before trying these workouts, please read our liability disclaimer.

Swapping Equal Intervals

Alternate a 4-minute row with a 4-minute ski, with 1–3 minutes of rest in between. Your work intensity should be just under your maximum effort. Repeat for a total of 4 to 8 pieces.

Note: Shorter rest will shift the workout’s focus toward endurance; longer rest will shift it toward maximum power development.

PM Setting Tip: Set up intervals of 4 minutes work with undefined rest time on both machines.

For variety: The piece can be any time or distance you like.

Rotating through a Step-Down Workout

This is one of our favorites! Step down from 10 minutes to 9 minutes, and so on, down to 1 minute, alternating from rowing to skiing. As the pieces get shorter, increase the intensity. Total time: 55 minutes. Rest time is just the length of time it takes you to get from one machine to the other, though you can add a longer rest if desired.

For Variety: This could also be done as a pyramid, from 1 minute up to 6 minutes and back down. Or you could use distance rather than time for the steps. For example: 2000m ski, 1750m row, 1500m ski, and so on.

Long Pieces/Back and Forth

Warm up on the SkiErg for 5 minutes (minimum). Switch to the indoor rower for a 15 minute row; paddle easily for 5 minutes; switch back to the SkiErg for a 15 minute ski; then a 5 minute cool-down on the indoor rower. If you prefer to measure your workout in distance rather than time, do half the distance on each machine. For example, for a 10k workout, do 5k on the indoor rower and another 5k on the SkiErg.

For Variety: The work pieces may be shortened or lengthened.

Partner Workouts

Most of the above workouts can work with a partner—one skis while the other rows.


Switching to “the other erg” can be a welcome change of pace for the cool-down after a hard workout. Plus, it’s a good way to add some muscular balance to your workout.

Interval Training

What are Intervals?

An interval workout consists of bouts of high intensity work alternating with periods of lower intensity or rest. By varying the length of the work interval and the length of the rest interval, a wide variety of workouts can be designed to achieve a range of goals. Here are some common questions about intervals

Interval Q and A

Q. Intervals are only important for competitive athletes, right?
A. Wrong!

It is true that intervals are an important training component for anyone preparing for competition.

They help you:

  • Learn to compete with greater intensity.
  • Build the time that you can maintain a certain level of intensity.
  • Improve your speed of recovery.
  • Develop your body’s ability to switch between energy systems.

And they are a very time-efficient method of achieving all these goals. But recent research is showing that intervals are not just for competitive athletes.

Q. Can intervals help me lose weight and maintain health?
A. Yes. New research suggests that interval training may be a very time-efficient and effective way to lose weight, not to mention that it will build your fitness as effectively as longer, moderate workouts.

A recent study in Japan reached the intriguing conclusion that you would burn more fat with two 30 minutes bouts of exercise separated by a 20 minute rest period than in a single 60 minute session.

And finally, intervals add variety and structure to your workouts, which makes them even more interesting and helps the time pass.

Q. Why are intervals good for older athletes?
A. They have been shown to be the most effective workout for stemming the tide of aging.

A recent pilot study in Norway has shown that interval workouts may be more effective than longer, lower intensity workouts for reducing cholesterol, adjusting the ratio of fatty acids in the blood, and reducing the risk factors for metabolic syndrome. They have also been shown to be an effective therapy for patients with heart failure. Consult with your physician before starting an exercise program.

Q. Then why not do them all the time?
A. Because you can’t. Expect to be tired after doing intervals. If you’re not, you’re not doing them hard enough. You need to allow your body to recover for a day or two after interval sessions. Competitive athletes might do intervals as many as five days per week during a high-intensity speed training week; older athletes can generally do intervals up to 2–3 times per week.

Q. What should I know before I get started?
A. Warm up well.

The reason intervals are so effective is that they are intense. By working intensely, even for a short period of time, you place a greater demand on your heart and lungs, which in turn provides a stronger stimulus for physiological change. If all of your exercise is at the same moderate level, it will still burn Calories, but it won’t inspire your body to make changes. In order to work at a higher intensity, it is even more important warm-up well and be sure you are using proper technique. We recommend at least 10 minutes of warm-up.

Q. Where can I read more?

Favorite Intervals from Concept2

Before trying these workouts, please read our liability disclaimer.

Meredith, Concept2 Team: Marketing

Favorite interval workout: Pyramid intervals. Start with 100m, then 200m, then 300m on up to 1000m and then back down, with 1 minute rest in between. It will take approximately one hour.
Variations: Shorten the workout by lowering the top of the pyramid.
Benefits: Pyramid intervals keep the workout interesting, and on the way back down it’s psychologically easier at high intensity because the intervals are getting shorter!

Dick, Concept2 Team: Engineering (and co-founder)

Favorite interval workout: 30 seconds of rest every 3 minutes. Pre-set the PM for a 2:30 work interval and a 0:30 rest interval. Aim for 30 minutes total time (10 work intervals).
Variations: Make the intervals a little easier but shorten the rest to 20 seconds. You can also choose to do either fewer intervals, or more!
Benefits: The short breaks allow you a brief mental and physical recovery without letting the heart rate drop very much. The end result is a sustained high quality aerobic workout.

Bruce, Concept2 Team: Leadership Team

Favorite interval workout: 6 repetitions of 500 metres of work with 1:45 rest, making each interval faster than the one before.
Variations: Choose to do 4 or 5 of these intervals, and you can opt to extend the rest length to 2 minutes.
Benefits: This is a classic interval workout that prepares you well for the 2000 metre race.

Peter, Concept2 Team: Engineering (and co-founder)

Favorite interval workout: 500m, 1 minute rest, 1000m, 2 minute rest, 1500m, 3 minute rest, 1000m, 2 minute rest, 500m, 1 minute rest, 250m. Go at your 2k target pace for the first three intervals, then faster for the last three.
Benefits: This is good preparation for a 2000 metre race because it helps you get familiar with your race pace on the way up the pyramid, and then pushes your intensity limits on the way back down. It’s also a great one to do when you don’t feel like working out.

Judy, Concept2 Team: Marketing

Favorite interval workout: 4 x 4 minutes with 2 minutes rest. Do the first interval at about 80% effort until you get to the last 30 seconds, then up the intensity. Start at 85% for the next two intervals, again increasing the intensity in the last 30 seconds. On the last one, start at 85% and build the intensity through the last minute.
Variations: Start with just three intervals, and increase to five or six if you can.
Benefits: These are very effective at building aerobic capacity.

CrossFit Tabata Intervals

The Tabata interval workout gets its name from Tzumi Tabata who demonstrated its effectiveness in 1996. His study compared two 6-week workout regimens:

  • An hour of steady moderate work five times a week.
  • 7–8 repetitions of a 20 second work interval at very high intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest, also five days per week.

He found that the interval workout resulted in a greater improvement in the VO2max, a key measure of aerobic fitness—14% vs. 9.5%. Moreover, the interval workout also improved anaerobic capacity by a very significant 28%, while the steady work had no measurable effect.

The bottom line: Tabata intervals are a very time-efficient way to get a terrific workout. On those days when you don’t have time to work out, try a quick round of Tabatas. You can set them up as a Favorite on your PM. Just be sure to get a solid warm-up before you start.

Note: We thank the CrossFit community for introducing us to the power of Tabata intervals. Tabatas are a key component of the CrossFit regimen. For more information about CrossFit, visit

Rowing for the Visually Impaired

The Concept2 RowErgs, the Concept2 SkiErg and the Concept2 BikeErg are all terrific training options for visually impaired athletes. They offer safe and challenging fitness activities, and they provide a great way to train for rowing, skiing and other sports. Thanks to indoor racing, they also provide an opportunity for competition.


The following software and applications are available for use with Concept2 RowErgs, BikeErgs and SkiErgs to voice your performance data during your workouts.


Designed to run on iOS and Android devices, ErgData is a free application that provides additional statistics, stores and displays your workout results, and uploads your workouts to the Concept2 Online Logbook. If you are running iOS 7, ErgData will work with the VoiceOver features on your iOS device to announce your workout data. Running ErgData requires a connection kit (available from Concept2) to connect your iOS device to the indoor rower or SkiErg. Learn more about ErgData.

Note for Android Users: ErgData voice features are available for iOS devices only. The third party app, BoatCoach offers voice features for Android devices.


David Brown

Following a bombing that instantly blinded him, David Brown sought a sport he could do on his own. Enter indoor rowing and ErgChatter, which changed his life.


Aerial Gilbert

Aerial Gilbert lost her sight in 1988. A guide dog and her love of rowing let her reclaim independence and the active lifestyle she'd always known.


Mike Winegarden

Fitness author and creator of See Yourself Fit, Mike Winegarden is totally blind. An avid rower, Mike recommends Concept2 to all his clients.


Adaptive Classifications


The following sport categories are developed to create fair racing on the Indoor Rower. Conditions affecting athlete’s ability and defining sport categories must be permanent in nature. Organ removal, by itself, does not qualify someone for any para rowing sport category. Pain, by itself does not qualify someone, Disability experienced post-surgery is a temporary condition and does not qualify someone for any para category.

Note: If you are uncertain or have any questions please contact Alexis Demars at Concept2 ( or call 800.245.5676 ext. 3086).

PR1 (Arms and Shoulders)

This category is for rowers who have minimal to no trunk function (i.e. shoulder function only). A PR1 class rower is able to apply force predominantly using the arms and/or shoulders. These athletes will likely also have poor sitting balance. In addition, these athletes are not able to use the sliding seat to transfer their power to the ergometer because of significantly weakened function or mobility of the lower limbs. Eligible rowers may typically have but are not limited to Cerebral Palsy – affecting both leg and trunk function, or neurological impairment with a complete lesion at T12 level or an incomplete lesion at T10 level.

PR2 (Trunk and Arms)

This category is for rowers who have functional use of the trunk and who are not able to use the sliding seat to transfer their power to the ergometer because of significantly weakened function or mobility of the lower limbs. Examples for this class would be bilateral around knee amputation, or significantly impaired quadriceps, or neurological impairment equivalent to a complete lesion at L3 level, or an incomplete lesion at L1.

PR3 (VI) (Leg Trunk and Arms—Blind or Visually Impaired)

This category is for rowers who have functional use of their leg(s),trunk and arm(s) for rowing and who can utilize the sliding seat. In addition, these athletes have permanently impaired vision. These athletes have reduced or no vision. Maximum vision of 10% of normal in best eye with best correction from visual acuity above 02/60 up to visual acuity of 06/60 and or field of vision between 5% and 20%.

PR3 (ID) (Leg Trunk and Arms—Intellectually Disabled)

This category is for rowers who have functional use of their leg(s), trunk and arm(s) for rowing and who can utilize the sliding seat. These athletes have tested 75% or less for intellectual quotient.

PR3 (AK) (Leg Trunk and Arms—Single Leg, Above the Knee Amputee)

This category is for rowers who have functional use of one leg, their trunk and arm(s) and can utilize the sliding seat. LTA–AK rowers must row without the use of a prosthetic on a standard sliding erg seat. If they prefer to use their prosthetic they should enter the PR3 (PD) sport category.

PR3 (SA) (Leg Trunk and Arms—Single Arm)

This category is for PR3 rowers only able to row with a single arm connection to the ergometer handle. These athletes have similar disabilities to the LTA–PD sport category, however, they also have a permanent condition that allows for only one arm, partial or complete, with or without use of a prosthetic device on that same single arm, to have connection with a standard or modified ergometer handle. These athletes may have an amputation or loss of function to one arm, allowing them to pull the erg handle with the remaining partial or fully functional arm.

PR3 (PD) (Leg Trunk and Arms—Physically Disabled)

This category is for rowers who have functional use of their leg(s), trunk and arm(s) for rowing and who can utilize the sliding seat. Eligible rowers in this sport category include single leg below the knee amputees, arm and hand amputees where both upper limbs have connection to the erg handle via adaptations), up to three missing fingers on one hand, neurological impairment equivalent to incomplete S1 spinal cord injury, Cerebral Palsy, trans metatarsal amputation of the foot.

PR3 (GD) (Leg Trunk and Arms—Genetic Dwarfism)

This category is for rowers who have a genetic dwarfism condition, as established by the International Dwarf Sports Federation (“IDSF”). Examples of this category would be athletes with achondroplasia, hypochondroplasia, pseudoachondroplasia, SED, Kneist, metatropic dysplasia. Current IDSF criteria: Height for disproportionate dysplasia shall not exceed 5 feet 2 inches for males (157.5 cm), female maximum height shall not exceed 5 foot (152.4 cm). Height for a proportionate dysplasia shall not exceed 5 foot (152.4 cm) for males, female maximum height shall not exceed 4 foot 10 inches (147.3 cm).

FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation)

FES technology allows paraplegic athletes to stimulate paralyzed leg muscles. Rowers control their legs by pressing a button on the rowing machine handle, which then transmits electrical impulses through electrodes to the nerves controlling their leg muscles.

FES (AR) (Functional Electrical Stimulation with Assisted Return)

FES technology allows paraplegic athletes to stimulate paralyzed leg muscles. Rowers control their legs by pressing a button on the rowing machine handle, which then transmits electrical impulses through electrodes to the nerves controlling their leg muscles. In the assisted return category, the athletes receive help from a third-party in returning to the catch position.

Adapting the Indoor Rower

Concept2 Tractor Seat

Tractor SeatThe Concept2 Tractor Seat is an after-factory alternative sliding seat available for Concept2 Indoor Rowers Models A, B, C, D, and E. It features:

  • A wider, more stable base for people who like more support while rowing.
  • A larger size that makes getting on and off the indoor rower easier.
  • Easy installation using thumb screws.

The Tractor Seat is available from Concept2; using it does not void your warranty. If interested, please call 0115 9340140 to order.

Note: When using proper rowing technique, range of motion is limited when leaning back on the Tractor Seat at the end of the drive.

Third-Party Add-ons

The versatility of the Concept2 Indoor Rower has made possible several innovative add-ons by other companies. Concept2 has no relationship with, has not tested the products and does not endorse the following companies.

Altering the Concept2 Indoor Rower with third party products such as those listed below voids our warranty.

Fixed Seats for Concept2 Rowing Machines

Alden Fixed Seat
Alden Fixed Seat
  WinTech Fixed Seat
WinTech Fixed Seat
Resolute Para-Rowing Seat
Resolute Para-Rowing Seat


Grip Aids and Alternative Handles for Concept2 Rowing Machines

Active Hands Grip Aids
Active Hands Grip Aids
  Trak Fitness Trak Handle Sport
Trak Fitness Trak Handle Sport
Trak Fitness Sportrower
Trak Fitness Sportrower
  Equip Products Single Arm Rowing Attachment
Equip Products Single Arm Attachment

Rowing with Greater Intensity

Once you feel comfortable with your rowing technique, you'll want to start rowing with greater intensity. This video shows how to row with more power and explains the relationship between power and stroke rate.

Model E Indoor Rower is shown in video.

Common Errors

The purpose of this video is to illustrate a number of common rowing technique errors as well as drills that will help you practice good rowing.

Model E Indoor Rower is shown in video.

Common Rowing Technique Errors: Video Overview

Improve your rowing technique. The Concept2 experts talk through common technique challenges, how to address “problem” areas to be more effective, and show you some drills for practicing better rowing technique. The Common Errors are broken up into 3 groups—arms/hands, back, and legs.

Poor grip/over-grip (0:29)
Breaking the arms at the catch (0:50)
Chicken wing arms (1:10)
Drills: Arms and Hands rowing technique (1:36)

BACK (2:24)
Lunging at the catch (2:29)
Over-reaching at the catch (2:54)
Lifting with the back at or after the catch (3:13)
Too much layback (3:30)
Drills: Back rowing technique (3:56)

LEGS (4:24)
Bending your knees too early on the recovery (4:28)
Rushing the slide (4:54)
Over-compression (5:14)
Shooting the slide (5:41)
Drills: Legs rowing technique (6:07)

Including some of these drills in your regular warm-up is a great way to keep your technique correct and effective. Whenever possible, watch yourself in the mirror while rowing indoors. Review this video periodically to reinforce good technique.

Getting Started

This video provides new rowers the information you need to get off to a comfortable and effective start with their rowing. Even if you are an experienced rower, you might learn something new!

Tracking Your Workouts with Concept2

Once you have taken some time to get set up on your Concept2 RowErg, this video offers some tips on using the Performance Monitor (PM) as a training partner, setting workouts, tracking your workouts using the Concept2 ErgData app and recording them in the Online Logbook, and more.

Adaptive Rowing

Adaptive Rowing at
Community Rowing, Inc.

8:21 minutes

Adaptive rowing is rowing for people with disabilities and its popularity is growing. The indoor rower can be modified to help meet the needs of adaptive athletes, making rowing accessible to a community of people with many varied gifts and abilities. Indoor rowing is a genuinely inclusive sport, and many races offer separate adaptive categories, including the World Rowing Indoor Championships.

Our goal in these pages is to support adaptive rowers worldwide by sharing stories, photographs, resources and information about training and adaptive rowing. If you have materials you would like to share, please email