Meet World Record Holder Bill Nurge | Concept2

Meet World Record Holder Bill Nurge

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Jan 19, 2023

Bill Nurge rowing at HardCore Training Center, Ketchum, Idaho, elevation 5,890 feet above sea level.
Bill Nurge is a muti-sport athlete, fitness trainer and owner of Hardcore Training Center in Ketchum, Idaho. He holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology and has been coaching and inspiring his clients for 40 years. He’s also competed in hundreds of sports events and is an accomplished Nordic skier. More recently he’s been smashing records on Concept2 machines.

From the lofty heights of Ketchum, Idaho—elevation 6000 feet—Bill Nurge is setting erg records.

Turning 60 was the impetus for Bill to set a few records. We’re not talking a handful—Bill’s number has swollen to 44 erg records. And what’s more remarkable, they were all set in the space of just over eight months.

“I had the goal when I turned 60 (in 2022) to set some goals on the SkiErg,” says Bill. Travelling from his home in Ketchum, armed with a SkiErg, Bill began his foray by going to the coast of Oregon. “I did one record and then tried for another, and another—one a day for seven days.” Bill concluded with the 60-minute SkiErg record on day seven.

The record setting didn’t stop there. Throughout 2022 they continued to mount up with World and American records being set by Bill on the SkiErg, the RowErg, the RowErg on Slides and the Dynamic RowErg.

He attributes some of his success to living and training at altitude and then travelling to lower elevations to attempt records. “I set six Dynamic records here (in Ketchum) and then went to Boise (elevation 3000 feet) and it was half as much better. I then went to sea level and it’s really fun. To go down and have more oxygen, it’s like heaven. It’s a nice reward for putting the work in at high altitude.”

Bill started using SkiErgs about eight years ago and, as a skier, he describes it as “love at first pull.” It also fit well with the gym he runs, the Hardcore Training Center, in Ketchum. The SkiErg is used for three to eight minutes every session, usually at the end of a workout. “It’s part of every workout that we do.”

bill near his rowing machine
Post 2k world record (Slides, LWT), Death Valley, California, elevation sea level.

Bill trains one to one and a half hours per day. It includes a mixture of the SkiErg, RowErg and general body training. Not surprisingly, Bill has a number of favorite workouts. “My go-to is 100m on 100m easy for 8000m. The 100m on is at a high tempo. I like it for the quality and I like the ability to go hard 30 minutes into a workout. The easiest are still not that easy, so the whole thing is race-like. It forces you to have quality strokes.”

Bill takes a personal interest in fitness and training as we age. He is an advocate of variety and despairs when he sees people just working out on one type of ergometer. “As we age, we need to consider bone density. This won’t be helped by just using the SkiErg. So, in our gym, we do a lot of jumping, and rotational and loading movements.” He goes by the mantra “use it or lose it” with the goal of improving muscle mass.

The key areas he focuses on are bone density, muscle mass, coordination, balance, mobility and dynamic flexibility. “We need to do movements that challenge the body just like when we were kids and playing in the playground.”

Bill’s typical session he calls an ‘hour of power.’ He starts with the erg at a low damper setting for light tension. Then he moves up the damper setting and does, say, 15 seconds easy, 15 seconds hard. Next is 20 minutes of more heavy loading—movements that use the whole body.

As an avid goal-setter one of Bill’s favorite sayings is, “We don’t rise to the level of our goals; we sink to the level of our training.”

“It’s great to have goals,” says Bill, “but we’re only as good as the training we do. In order to get to your next level goals, you need next level training. When I try for world records the easy part is the goal, but then I need to work out what I’m going to change in my training to get to that goal.”

Bill still has some goals lined up. “There’s a couple of records that I’m not completely satisfied with, the 2k and 10k. The memory of 44 records is all good but now I’m working out what process I’m going to do to get me excited. I’ve come up with some training changes and intervals to reach the goal.”

We're looking forward to what he does next!

Bill’s World Records

  • Dynamic RowErg: 12 World Records (6 Lightweight, 6 Heavyweight) totaling 93,790 meters
  • RowErg on Slides: 15 World Records (8 Lightweight, 7 Heavyweight) totaling, 99,852 meters
  • RowErg: 10 World Records (6 Lightweight, 4 Heavyweight) totaling 54,078 meters
  • SkiErg: 7 World Records, 48,686 meters

ERGcation (Erg Racing and Low Elevation Vacation) Trips in the Past Eight Months

  • Eugene and Florence, Oregon, 8 nights, 7 races
  • Boise, Idaho, 3 trips, 8 nights, 9 races
  • Richland, Oregon, 5 nights, 5 races
  • Hood River and Newport, Oregon, 10 nights, 10 races
  • Death Valley, California, 7 nights, 6 races

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