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About That Drag Factor

And Happy New Year from all of us!  

We've been using the rowers fairly often at the gym due to the chilly weather, so let's talk about that. Specifically, let's talk about the damper setting and drag factor.

You're probably aware that the damper setting is a lot like gear settings on a bicycle, and that a lower setting feels easier than a higher setting. However, just like with the lower or higher gears on a bike, you can get a challenging intense workout at ANY damper setting. 

Many people set the damper to 10 thinking that they are increasing the intensity of the workout, but according to the Concept 2 website, this is mistaken thinking: 

"Many people confuse damper setting with intensity level or resistance. Instead, the intensity of your workout is controlled by how much you use your legs, back and arms to move the handle—in other words, how hard you pull. This is true regardless of where the damper lever is set: the harder you pull, the more resistance you will feel."

At lower settings, the rower does feel easier–that's not your imagination. Concept 2 likens this to the difference between a sleek racing boat (a lower setting) to a big clunky rowboat (a higher setting). With either boat, you have to increase the power and pace into your rowing to increase the overall intensity of your workout. 

How does drag factor play into this? Well, some people might be more efficient rowers at a lower setting than others. Drag factor is a measure of how quickly the wheel inside the rower slows down (the air resistance). 

You can play around with the drag factor measurement on the rowers at the gym (located in the menus). Try 30 seconds or so at a 1, 30 seconds at 4, 7, and 10. You will see a number somewhere between 60 to over 200 (this varies a bit by the machine and the human doing the rowing).

Concept 2 says that most men and women should be aiming for a drag factor between 115 and 140, which correlates to a damper of 2-5, maybe much lower than you were expecting. There is no magic number, but it is worth playing around with some and finding the drag factor and damper setting that works best for you. It may be that your next 2K PR time happens with a much lower damper setting than you think!

For more information, check out the Concept 2 website, and be on the lookout for Coach Gina's rowing classes! The next one is going to be on Sunday, January 14 at 8:15am!

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