New Rowing Machine

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Hi! A while ago I asked on this forum for advice about the best piece of home exercise equipment for a full-body workout. Several people advised getting a Concept 2 rower and gave specifics. Today we purchased a like-new C2 rower, and I'm excited to start using it. I don't intend for it to be my main form of exercise because I also like to nordic walk and cycle outside. I have read through these forums a bit about rowing, and just joined the concept 2 forums. I do have a couple of questions:

1) Where does it work well to keep your rower? I want to keep it in the large, carpeted entry room to our house because it's pretty (the room) and I think that will increase my desire to use it. We bought the pad with it and plan on storing it vertically when not in use. I could also wheel it outside to our pergola/patio to workout outside. Is that a bad idea? We could also keep it in a basement room, that would be very secluded and cool.

2) I saw that there are some Youtube rowing workouts, which seem wonderful to me. Any recommendations on which ones are good?

3) According to mapmyhike, I burn about 450 calories every morning on a fast 3 mile, 41 minute walk. From the small amount I read, rowing does not burn as many calories as this pace of walking. Why is that? FWIW, I have been using MFP for 75ish days, logging everything I eat and walking or cycling everyday using these calorie burn estimates, and I'm losing the one pound a week that I supposed to.

4) Any other tips?

Replies

  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,994 Member
    edited June 2018
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    1) I keep my C2 in the open and carpeted area between the family room and kitchen. Don't use a pad. Best place for me because there's room for it there. I don't have to move it. And it's always a visual reminder that I need to use it.

    2) Rowing is currently my sole choice for cardio. I row 10k meters/day everyday and I do not bother varying my workout much. I usually just do 4 sets of 2500m/12.5 min each at 26-28 spm with 5 min rest periods in between sets. Lately, I've been doing some 2x5k m/25 min sets but they are literally a PITA no matter what type of pad I use and I've tried many. So, I don't do 5k often.

    3) I row specifically so that I can eat more while in maintenance and I routinely burn 550 cals in 50 mins rowing 10k meters in the manner above, which is a moderate level of effort and about the same rate of burn for your walks and I can do this at any time w/o ever leaving the house.

    4) Too many "tips" to to mention w/o specific parameters but the main thing for a beginner to learn is proper erg rowing technique in order to row most efficiently w/max power and min wasted effort. Lots of videos on this which I think that you should focus on b4 worrying about what type of workout you are going to do.

    OBTW, there is one specific operational tip that I need to mention because many people who use a rower (including gym staff and trainers) don't understand it.

    The lever on the fan is NOT used to vary the difficulty of the pull. You simply pull harder to work harder.

    The lever is used to adjust the "drag factor" (DF) that you use while rowing. The lever usually does not need to be set higher than 5 or 6 to do this

    If you do not know what the DF is or does, READ about t and LEARN what it does. C2 has a very clear and detailed explanation of it on their site.

    I've read that competitive rowers don't usually use a DF greater than 130 and that women often use 110.

    I'm a male, weigh 155, use a drag factor of 120 and the fan lever is set on the line between 5 & 6. It will require some trial and error to determine what DF works best for you but that number is probably going to be between 110-130.

    Good luck!
  • tfield98
    tfield98 Posts: 28 Member
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    I know you didn’t ask, but: Be sure to watch the C2 tutorial videos on their site. Go easy in the first few weeks so you don’t hurt yourself.

    A C2 Rower
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,809 Member
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    3) According to mapmyhike, I burn about 450 calories every morning on a fast 3 mile, 41 minute walk. From the small amount I read, rowing does not burn as many calories as this pace of walking. Why is that?
    450 cals in 41 minutes walking is a lot!
    What makes you think that your walking burn is accurate? Unless you are very large and / or very challenging elevation changes that is a lot.
    What does the common net calorie estimate Net Walking calories Spent = (Body weight in pounds) x (0.30) x (Distance in miles) give you?

    Are you using the weight correction on the Concept2 web site for your rowing estimates?
    (If I remember correctly the machine assumes a weight of 175lbs so if you are significantly different to that weight then use the C2 site to adjust the calories your machine gives you.)
    FWIW, I have been using MFP for 75ish days, logging everything I eat and walking or cycling everyday using these calorie burn estimates, and I'm losing the one pound a week that I supposed to.
    Remember this doesn't validate all the various individual estimates concerned - it just validates you are eating at the correct calorie balance.


  • littlebear0121
    littlebear0121 Posts: 1,073 Member
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    Thank you, sijomial. Bummer, I was hoping I was actually burning that much on walks, and was validated by the success in weight loss. But it's good to know so that I can keep losing. I'm not very large nor is there any elevation change. I do walk with poles but have never been able to figure out how much that adds for calorie burn. I did a workout from British rowing last night and also am curious about the calorie burn.

    Thanks also to tfield98 for the recommendation--I'll be sure to watch those videos.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,809 Member
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    Here's the link....
    http://www.concept2.co.uk/indoor-rowers/training/calculators/calorie-calculator

    When mentioned on these forums the MapMy suite of products often seem to give extraordinarily high calorie numbers. Then again when I started out I used a basic HRM which also gave very inflated numbers, I simply adjusted my daily calorie goal to achieve the desired rate of weight loss.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,994 Member
    edited June 2018
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    OP: I assumed you knew how many cals you were burning while walking but @sijomal correctly notes that a 450 cal burn on a 3 mile 41 min walk (about 4.5 mph) would be higher than expected.

    If you want to calculate the cals you burn while walking, give the following calculator a try:

    https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1350891527

    When I calculate the burn for a similar walk for me, I get 295 cals or about what I burn rowing 5000 meters in 25 mins.

    Not really that much difference in this context but, if you row longer or more often, you can burn far more cals rowing than you ever did/do walking.
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,727 Member
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    sgt1372 wrote: »
    OP: I assumed you knew how many cals you were burning while walking but @sijomal correctly notes that a 450 cal burn on a 3 mile 41 min walk (about 4.5 mph) would be higher than expected.

    If you want to calculate the cals you burn while walking, give the following calculator a try:

    https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1350891527

    When I calculate the burn for a similar walk for me, I get 295 cals or about what I burn rowing 5000 meters in 25 mins.

    Not really that much difference in this context but, if you row longer or more often, you can burn far more cals rowing than you ever did/do walking.

    4.5 mph is in that weird speed zone where walking calories begin to depart from the standardized formulas.

    That being said, unless you weigh well over 200 lbs, you're probably not burning 450 even at that pace.
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,248 Member
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    Definitely feel free to move your rower outdoors when the weather permits.

    I use mine mostly for cross training and during the winter it resides in the basement (we live in a house that could be described as compact) and in the summer it goes back and for between the garage and our deck - doing a workout in the nice cool air of the early morning is very pleasant.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 33,066 Member
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    Concept 2 doesn't recommend routinely storing the rower standing up (though many people do it) because there is some risk of it falling. ( http://www.concept2.com/news/storing-your-indoor-rower ). If I were going to store mine upright, I'd at least secure it upright in some way. (I leave it in rowing position, in my foyer/workout area, because it fits that way. ;) ).

    Using your C2 outside is fine, but store it inside for best lifespan.

    Usually, the reasons for not getting a good workout from the rower have to do with technique that isn't yet where it needs to be. The Concept 2 beginner videos (http://www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers/training), and some self observation (mirror, video) will help. Even better is a knowledgeable coach, but note that many/most general gym trainers aren't really knowledgeable enough to coach rowing technique accurately.

    There's a recent thread where several people had good recommendations about how to get a good rower workout as a beginner: https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10669498/rowing-machine . I'd recommend reading it (only a couple pages, several good tips.)

    Here's the core of what I said there:

    Sometimes, people think you should set the damper on maximum in order to get a good workout. That's not correct. Even national team (Olympic) rowers uses mid-range damper settings (4-6 on a Concept 2) for most workouts. (Note: This is a different way of putting what @sgt1372 said with more technical precision above, about drag factor.) As an older, lighter woman, I usually set the level between 3 & 4. (The Div I NCAA collegiate women rowers whose equipment I sometimes use typically set it high-3 to 4, so my older/lighter adjustment isn't that much ;) ).

    Also, some people think they have to move up and down the slide crazy-fast to get a workout. That's also incorrect. It's absolutely possible to get a sweat-drenched workout at strokes per minute in the mid-20s, or even lower. It's not about how fast you move.

    With a rowing machine, you create the workout by how much intensity you can apply between the footplate and the handle. You're basically trying to slightly suspend your weight mostly horizontally between those two points (butt gets lighter/less compressed on the seat) while applying muscle strength, first from legs, then back, then arms (in gross body part terms). These things require good technique, or it can't happen. It's best to start at a relatively low stroke rating (strokes per minute) to groove in good technique, then gradually increase the strokes per minute as you're able to get more power into each stroke.

    ----

    I still recommend reading the whole thread linked above; there were good tips, a video, a link to a beginner training plan, and more (don't worry if the OP seems a little tangent; the thread moves wider).

    Rowing machines can be an excellent workout, all the way up to HRmax if you wish. Good technique is the route to a good workout, and will also set you up better if you ever decide to try rowing on water. It's way easier to establish good technique up front and groove it into muscle memory, than to try to re-train incorrect but ingrained habits later. Think of that learning process as an investment. :)

    As far as workouts, I pretty much do workouts my coaches have given me, so I don't know much about the YouTube workouts or other videos. Some of my friends have used Xeno Muller's, but they're expensive. I'd try to find workouts led by people who actually row (machine or water), not pure Crossfitters. Some of the CrossFit folks are great rowers; some really aren't. Concept 2 has workouts on their site, but they're directions, not videos. (http://www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers/training/wod). Once you have your technique down pretty well, and learn how to set up the monitor (for timings), these are very useable.

    If you have specific questions, ask. There are quite a few helpful, experienced machine rowers here, plus a few on-water rowers (who usually use machines for some training so know what they're talking about). I've been rowing for around 16 years (boat when I can, machine when I must), competed boat/machine, and used to be USRowing coaching certified (let my continuing ed filings lapse ;) ).

    Best wishes!
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,994 Member
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    If you need/want to store your C2 upright, you should hang yours on the wall w/one of these:

    https://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-rower-hanger

    Safest way to do it. I thought about buying one when I got my C2 but I actually have less room to hang one up than I do just leaving it ready to use on the floor.

    The best rower to get if you need to store it vertically is the WaterRower. Its design allows it to sit flush against the wall (unlike the C2 which protrudes about 3 ft from the wall due to the fan and base) and looks like a piece of furniture w/the right finish.

    The few people here who have a WR love them and react w/indignation when I state why I didn't buy one. Hopefully they'll appreciate that I did say something, "good" about the WR here. ;)
  • littlebear0121
    littlebear0121 Posts: 1,073 Member
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    stanman571 said:

    4.5 mph is in that weird speed zone where walking calories begin to depart from the standardized formulas.

    That being said, unless you weigh well over 200 lbs, you're probably not burning 450 even at that pace.[/quote]

    Hi stanman, If you have time, could you explain this weird speed zone to me? I'd like to understand. I weigh 150 lbs, I don't think height matters when you're figuring calorie expenditure, right?

    Sijomial, sgt1372, and stanman571, I'm going to follow a rabbit trail that I've been thinking about if you don't mind, relating to the calorie expenditure that you obviously know a lot about. I have been using the mapmy___ apps to figure out how many exercise calories I can eat back every day. I either Nordic walk or cycle on a fairly flat road for about 40 minutes every morning. I am pretty good about entering in what I eat in MFP, but probably about three times a week I have to guess at the calorie amount of something that didn't come from a labeled container or from my kitchen. Everything else I have cooked myself and measured the serving size. I am under on calories almost every day, and if over, not by much. I think the mapmy_____ calorie estimates are balancing out with the fact that I entered my activity level as sedentary. I am a stay-at-home mom and am on my feet most of the day--taking care of and playing with kids, cleaning, cooking, gardening, etc. Sometimes I enter in the activities like cleaning, but often I don't. I think they balance out because I'm losing the pound a week that I'm supposed to be losing. I have lost 20 pounds, am at a healthy weight now but wanting to lose 20 more. If you were me, would you try to be more accurate with the calorie expenditure guesses from mapmy_____ and also the recording of daily activities?
  • littlebear0121
    littlebear0121 Posts: 1,073 Member
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    AnnPT77, that was awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your helpful response. We live about 30 minutes from the Mississippi River and would like to get into rowing as well.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,809 Member
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    As you have found consistency and adjusting based on the feedback loop of actual weight change over time works very well.
    (I did the same when I was losing, took 200 cals off my daily goal to compensate for somewhat sketchy food logging and a HRM that inflated my burns by 100 - 200 an hour to lose weight at my desired rate.)

    The downside is that when your routine changes (a new exercise added perhaps...) the way the various inaccuracies balance out is lost.
    If your walking (where I suspect your burns are very high) increased it might more than cancel out that you have understated your activity setting.

    Getting your estimates at least in the ballpark reduces that effect massively. For example my cycling has varied between 10 and 36 hours a month so far this year. If my exercise estimates were way out I would be struggling to manage my weight.

    What Stanmann571 is getting at is that "normal speed" walking is a very efficient movement (c. twice as efficient as "normal speed" running) and pretty consistent across people. But when you push the speed boundaries some efficiency is lost and the formula starts to be less accurate. Using poles probably changes your efficiency too.
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,727 Member
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    stanman571 said:

    4.5 mph is in that weird speed zone where walking calories begin to depart from the standardized formulas.

    That being said, unless you weigh well over 200 lbs, you're probably not burning 450 even at that pace.

    Hi stanman, If you have time, could you explain this weird speed zone to me? I'd like to understand. I weigh 150 lbs, I don't think height matters when you're figuring calorie expenditure, right?

    Sijomial, sgt1372, and stanman571, I'm going to follow a rabbit trail that I've been thinking about if you don't mind, relating to the calorie expenditure that you obviously know a lot about. I have been using the mapmy___ apps to figure out how many exercise calories I can eat back every day. I either Nordic walk or cycle on a fairly flat road for about 40 minutes every morning. I am pretty good about entering in what I eat in MFP, but probably about three times a week I have to guess at the calorie amount of something that didn't come from a labeled container or from my kitchen. Everything else I have cooked myself and measured the serving size. I am under on calories almost every day, and if over, not by much. I think the mapmy_____ calorie estimates are balancing out with the fact that I entered my activity level as sedentary. I am a stay-at-home mom and am on my feet most of the day--taking care of and playing with kids, cleaning, cooking, gardening, etc. Sometimes I enter in the activities like cleaning, but often I don't. I think they balance out because I'm losing the pound a week that I'm supposed to be losing. I have lost 20 pounds, am at a healthy weight now but wanting to lose 20 more. If you were me, would you try to be more accurate with the calorie expenditure guesses from mapmy_____ and also the recording of daily activities? [/quote]

    I apologize.

    Normally, when I make that comment I link this article, which links the study.

    https://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-weight-loss/a20843760/running-v-walking-how-many-calories-will-you-burn/

    Basically, Under 4 Mph(walking) the .57 multiplier applies. Over 5 mph(walking) Technical(technique) considerations put walking at the .72 multiplier or even higher than running. However, since the population who consistently walk at those speeds is relatively small, there's not been a whole lot of additional study. Between 4-5 mph, It's observed that walking burns more than the .57 multiplier, but we can't say how many more.

    All that being said. For a 150 lb person, the difference between the .57 and .72 multiplier is about 15 calories per mile. So while it can add up over time it's not really that big of a deal. Regardless, you're getting closer to 300 calories for the 3 miles than 400. which is a good healthy snack, and you definitely should be eating those 260-300 calories from the 3 mile walk.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,994 Member
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    If you were me, would you try to be more accurate with the calorie expenditure guesses from mapmy_____ and also the recording of daily activities?

    I don't know if you need to be "more" accurate in logging your food and exercise or not but you should always try to be as accurate as you can and, if you're not, you'll quickly find out based on your weight.