General Description


British Olympic rower James Cracknell (L) and television presenter Ben Fogle train on a rowing machine as they prepare for the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005 at Hyde Park on November 17, 2005 in London, England. The Atlantic Rowing Race involves rowing a gruelling 2,935 miles from La Gomera, Canary Islands and finishing approximately 55 days later in Antigua, West Indies.


Indoor Rowing, otherwise known as Ergometer Rowing after the name of the equipment used for this type of sport, has been widely used in training and preparation of athletes for many years. But recently, indoor rowing has grown from a tool for off-the-water training for the serious rower to a sport in its own right

Nearly every rowing nation now holds National Ergometer Championships, the longest running and best known probably being the CrashB’s, held every year in February in Boston, USA.

Competition Description

Races are held between individuals or teams where each rowing machine is linked up to other team members and distances and stroke rates are averaged out to give the team’s progression. Recent innovation has made it possible to place several ergometers on a slide system, making the machines move back and forth giving athletes that on-the-water sensation.


Ergometers have been used in rowing training since the 50s and 60s in many countries.
The earliest examples were huge metal contraptions with a big sold fly-wheel, and were desperately hated by all oarsmen and oarswomen.

The 80s saw the development of some lighter, slightly more rower-friendly machines such as the Repco, which had a wheel which acted against air resistance. Some years later, the highly technical Gjessing, from Norway was designed and became the internationally accepted standard measuring tool which was used around the world. It was only later that the Dreissigackers came out with the Concept2 which had the great advantage of being light, relatively inexpensive, and consistent, so that wherever you were, and on whatever machine, you could compare your score with others.

From this the idea of ergometer racing developed, notably the CrashBs, in Boston, as it became possible to compare the scores from a large number of machines rowed at once.

The rowing ergometer is now commonplace in fitness centres all over the world, introducing non-rowers to the rowing action and giving them the opportunity to compete in ergometer competitions.

The ergometer has become the standard tool for judging a rower's speed over 2,000 metres, it has become a fixture in boathouses and gymnasiums around the world, being also widely used by athletes of other sports for cross training.

Links, websites and other related documents

2006 World Rowing Ergometer Challenge
Crash B