How to Use an Erg to Get Faster! | Concept2

How to Use an Erg to Get Faster!

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Apr 05, 2019

If your goal is to improve your fitness, achieve a new PR (personal record) or break a world record, the erg will not just measure that accomplishment, it will help you
achieve it.

An ergometer is a machine that measures work. Concept2 ergs measure the work you do in a repeatable, dependable way. Your score today can be compared to your score next week, and both can be compared to your friend’s score at a different location or elevation. This is thanks to the self-calibrating feature of the Performace Monitor 5 (PM5)*. So clearly, the erg can be used to measure your progress from week to week and workout to workout.

But here’s how it becomes an even more powerful tool to help you improve. You can use the erg to determine the pace, the damper setting/drag factor, the tempo, and the technique that gets you the best performance, simply by comparing your results for two workouts that are exactly the same, except for one variable. For example, let’s find out which damper setting will get you the best result for a 500 meter piece.

Test #1: Set the PM for a preset workout of 500m.

  • Set the damper at, for example, 2. Do the piece at maximum effort and note your stroke rate (spm, for the SkiErg or RowErg) or cadence (rpm, for the BikeErg).
  • Take a day or two off to be sure you are equally rested for the two tests.
  • Repeat the test with a damper setting of 5 and the same stroke/cadence.
  • Compare your results.
  • If you want to try a third damper setting, repeat as above. Note that the optimal damper for 500m may very well not be the optimal damper for 5000m—but it might work pretty well for 1000.

You can do similar comparisons for any variable you wish to test. For example, you can test slight variations in technique with all other variables the same, and may see differences in your results. You can also compare different pacing plans. It takes some discipline and organization, but for those who want to do their best, it’s time well-spent—plus, every test piece is a great workout in itself. Take advantage of the fact that Concept2 ergs are ergs!

*Note: The PM on the BikeErg will prompt you periodically to verify the calibration. The process is simple and the PM5 will guide you through it.

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