Rowing machines are a popular piece of fitness equipment found in most gyms. These machines simulate the motion of rowing a boat, providing a full-body workout that is low-impact and easy on the joints. However, many people may wonder why rowing machines are called “ergs.”
The term “erg” is short for “ergometer,” which is a device that measures work or energy expended. In the case of rowing machines, the ergometer measures the amount of work done by the user and displays it on the machine’s monitor. This allows users to track their progress and set goals for their workouts.
The term “erg” has become synonymous with rowing machines, particularly in the rowing community. In fact, many rowers refer to their training sessions on the rowing machine as “erg sessions.” While the term may be unfamiliar to those outside of the rowing world, it has become a common and widely recognized term for this popular piece of fitness equipment.
Origins and Terminology
From ‘Ergometer’ to ‘Erg’
The term ‘ergometer’ comes from the Greek word ‘ergon’, meaning work, and ‘metron’, meaning measure. It was originally used to describe a device that measured the amount of work done by a person or machine. Over time, the term ‘ergometer’ became synonymous with rowing machines, which measure the amount of work done by the user.
The term ‘erg’ is a shortened form of ‘ergometer’ and is commonly used to refer to rowing machines. The company Concept2, which is known for producing high-quality rowing machines, played a significant role in popularising the term ‘erg’. In the 1980s, Concept2 introduced a new rowing machine called the Model A, which they referred to as an ‘ergometer’. However, users quickly started referring to the machine as an ‘erg’, and the term stuck.
Historical Development of Rowing Machines
The first rowing machine was invented in the early 1800s by a man named William B. Curtis. His machine used a system of levers and pulleys to simulate the motion of rowing. However, it was not until the 1900s that rowing machines became popular as a form of exercise.
In the 1970s, two brothers named Dick and Peter Dreissigacker developed a new type of rowing machine that used a flywheel to simulate the resistance of water. This machine was much more realistic than previous rowing machines and quickly became popular among rowers. The Dreissigacker brothers founded the company Concept2 to produce and sell their rowing machines.
Today, rowing machines are a popular form of exercise and are used by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and people looking to improve their cardiovascular health. The term ‘erg’ has become synonymous with rowing machines, and it is likely to remain in use for many years to come.
Mechanics and Design
Rowing machines, also known as ergometers or ergs, are designed to simulate the motion of rowing a boat on water. Understanding the mechanics and design of these machines is crucial to understanding why they are called ergs.
Key Components of an Erg
The key components of a rowing machine include the resistance mechanism, the seat, the handle, the rail, and the wheels. The resistance mechanism is what provides the resistance to the rower and can be air, water, magnetic, or a combination of these. The seat is designed to move smoothly along the rail, allowing the rower to slide back and forth during the rowing motion. The handle is attached to the resistance mechanism and allows the rower to pull against the resistance. The rail provides a stable base for the seat to move along, while the wheels allow the seat to move smoothly and easily.
Types of Resistance in Rowing Machines
There are different types of resistance mechanisms used in rowing machines. The most common types are air, water, and magnetic. Air resistance is created by a flywheel that spins as the rower pulls the handle. Water resistance is created by a paddle wheel that spins in a water tank as the rower pulls the handle. Magnetic resistance is created by a magnet that provides resistance to the flywheel as the rower pulls the handle.
The Model D by Concept2 is a popular indoor rower that uses air resistance. It features a flywheel that spins in response to the rower’s effort, creating resistance. The performance monitor on the Model D displays various metrics, such as distance, time, and stroke rate, allowing the rower to track their progress.
In water rowing machines, the resistance is created by the paddle wheel spinning in the water tank. This creates a smooth and realistic rowing experience, similar to rowing on water.
In magnetic rowing machines, the resistance is created by a magnet that provides resistance to the flywheel. This type of resistance is adjustable, allowing the rower to increase or decrease the resistance as needed.
Overall, the mechanics and design of rowing machines are crucial to their effectiveness and popularity as a fitness tool. Whether using air, water, or magnetic resistance, rowing machines provide a low-impact, full-body workout that can improve cardiovascular health, strength, and endurance.
Training and Exercise Benefits
Rowing machines, also known as ergometers or ergs, offer a full-body workout that engages multiple muscle groups. The motion of rowing involves pushing with the legs, pulling with the arms, and engaging the core muscles. This means that rowing is an effective way to work out the entire body, including the legs, back, arms, shoulders, and core.
Cardiovascular and Muscular Benefits
Rowing is a low-impact exercise that provides both cardiovascular and muscular benefits. It is a great way to improve endurance and increase heart rate. Rowing also helps to build muscle and improve overall strength. The repetitive motion of rowing helps to tone and strengthen the muscles in the legs, back, arms, shoulders, and core.
One of the benefits of using a rowing machine is the versatility it offers in terms of exercise. Rowing machines can be used for a variety of workouts, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), steady-state cardio, and endurance training. This makes it a great option for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want to switch up their workouts and challenge their bodies in new ways.
Overall, rowing machines are a great tool for anyone looking to improve their fitness and health. They provide a full-body workout, offer cardiovascular and muscular benefits, and are versatile enough to be used for a variety of exercise routines. Plus, rowing is a low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints, making it a great option for anyone who experiences joint pain or discomfort.
Technique and Performance
Proper Rowing Form
Proper form is essential when using a rowing machine, also known as an ergometer or erg. The correct technique involves a sequence of movements that engage the core, legs, back, arms, shoulders, and chest. The proper rowing form consists of four parts: the catch, drive, finish, and recovery.
During the catch, the rower sits with their legs bent, arms extended, and hands holding the handle. The drive involves pushing off with the legs, engaging the back and arms to pull the handle towards the chest. The finish is the final part of the stroke, where the rower leans back slightly, bringing the handle towards the chest. The recovery involves returning to the starting position by extending the arms, leaning forward, and bending the knees.
Tracking Progress and Performance
Rowing machines come equipped with a performance monitor that tracks various metrics, including speed, motion, distance, energy, power, and heart rate. These metrics help the rower measure their progress and improve their performance. The duration of the workout and the number of strokes taken are also recorded.
Indoor rowing has become increasingly popular in recent years, with a growing community of rowers participating in competitions and challenges. The rowing ergometer has become a staple in gyms and fitness centres, providing a low-impact, full-body workout that engages the core, legs, back, arms, shoulders, and chest.
By using proper form and tracking progress and performance, rowers can improve their endurance, strength, and overall fitness. The rowing machine provides a challenging workout that targets multiple muscle groups, making it an excellent addition to any fitness routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What distinguishes an ergometer from a standard rowing machine?
An ergometer, also known as an “erg” or a “rowing machine,” is a device that simulates the motion of rowing a boat. Unlike a standard rowing machine, an ergometer measures the amount of work being done by the user in units of energy, usually in watts or kilojoules. Ergometers are commonly used in rowing training and competition, as well as in fitness centres and home gyms.
What constitutes a proficient erg score in rowing?
The score on an ergometer is measured in watts or kilojoules, and is used to assess the athlete’s power output. A proficient erg score will depend on the individual’s age, weight, height, and training level, as well as the distance and time of the rowing event. In general, a score of 2000 meters in 7 minutes or less is considered a proficient score for male rowers, while a score of 8 minutes or less is considered proficient for female rowers.
What are the primary benefits of using a rowing machine?
Rowing is a low-impact, full-body workout that can improve cardiovascular health, muscular strength and endurance, and overall fitness. Rowing machines provide a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints, making it a great option for people with joint pain or injuries. Rowing also engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, back, arms, and core, making it an efficient way to burn calories and build strength.
How does an erg workout differ from traditional rowing?
An erg workout differs from traditional rowing in that it is done on a stationary machine, rather than in a boat on the water. Erg workouts are typically done indoors, in a gym or fitness centre, while traditional rowing is done outdoors on a body of water. Erg workouts also allow for more precise measurements of distance, time, and power output, making it easier to track progress and set goals.
What does ‘ERG’ stand for in the context of rowing machines?
The term ‘ERG’ is short for ergometer, which is a device used to measure work output. In the context of rowing machines, ‘ERG’ is often used as a shorthand term for the rowing machine itself.
When was the first rowing machine developed?
The first rowing machine was developed in the mid-1800s as a way for rowers to train indoors during the winter months. The earliest rowing machines were designed to simulate the motion of rowing a boat, but did not measure the amount of work being done by the user. The first ergometer, capable of measuring work output, was developed in the early 1900s and has since become a staple of rowing training and competition.