Why Use the Weight Adjustment Calculator? | Concept2

Why Use the Weight Adjustment Calculator?

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Apr 30, 2018

The Weight Adjustment Calculator can be a helpful tool because it provides a way to compare indoor rowing performances between people of different weights. It shifts focus away from absolute power toward power-to-body weight ratio. If you have a large friend who always beats you indoor rowing, challenge them to a weight-adjusted race!

Men's Heavyweight Olympic Medalist and World Champion, Ondrej Synek, with some of the tall (but not that tall!) Concept2 crew.

Why It Works

On the indoor rower, a taller heavier person with good technique can often use their length and body weight to accelerate the flywheel and achieve better scores than a smaller, lighter person. However, on the water, that heavier athlete will sink the boat more, creating more drag on the hull, and shifting the advantage back toward the lighter person. The Weight Adjustment Calculator reflects this and takes into account body weight: It adjusts a heavier person’s indoor score negatively while a giving an appropriate boost to a lighter person’s score.


The need for this formula was evident even before the Concept2 Model A Indoor Rower was introduced in 1981. It’s said that a well-known German rowing coach proposed such a formula, which was then tweaked by athletes at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT). Concept2 then reviewed on water and indoor results and adapted the formula for the Concept2 Indoor Rower. 


For on water coaches, the Weight Adjustment Calculator can be a very useful tool as you put your crews together. A coach who simply selects athletes with the best erg scores may well not end up with optimal power to body weight ratios. Don’t automatically underestimate a smaller person—check the adjusted erg score first!

Even if you’re not an on water athlete, the adjustment can provide you with some good information—and a whole new way to compete with your taller, heavier friends!

Weight Classes

It’s unrealistic to always compete with others of your same build. To simplify, the sport of rowing is divided into heavyweight and lightweight categories specifically to address the relative differences of average athlete weights. Concept2 uses similar categories for our online logbook, rankings and records.

Unlike rowing, the sports of Nordic skiing and cycling do not use weight classes for competition. We have seen that there can be a weight advantage for the SkiErg, but at this time do not have a formula available that takes into account all the dynamics of skiing indoors and outdoors.

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