Rowing Hacks is staying "on the erg" this week--just like most of you are, we bet--and here is a Training Hack that might just come in handy the next time you are trying to get a real rower's workout in on a public erg. Let's face it, a well-used (and abused) erg in an open gym can have a lot of issues, but here is a quick way to fix one of the more common ills: loose and worn-out straps on the footstretchers. Intrepid Rowing Hacks reader Marc Monplaisir of Ever Green Boat Club sent in this neat trick: use a spring clamp to make the straps work like new and save yourself from doing the whole "away workout" feet out.
We'll call it the Erg Strap Clamp and it is a good trick: all you need is a five buck clamp tucked away in your gym bag, and you can solve one of the more common issues with ergs that live in places where regular folks can beat them up.
We've all been there: home from school or traveling for work and away from your club, turning up at the fitness center of the local Y or your hotel, sighing in relief when there is actually a C2 erg and not some odd not-quite-an-erg rowing contraption--but then, of course, you have to start hoping that the machine is in halfway decent shape. There might not be much you can do if the bungee has gone bad, the seat wobbles, or the monitor is shot, but this clamp trick does make a close-to-working erg way better, especially when you figure that even the most fastidious gym rarely thinks about what shape the foot straps are in when--heck, if--they do maintenance on their ergs.
All you need to do to get those worn straps tight is to pull them through until they meet in the middle and then pop the clamp on. You might need to adjust the clamp a bit so it stays out of the way as you come to the catch, but you might also find an "in the way" clamp could be a useful way to remind yourself to stay up tall with the handle as you come up the slide.
So, next time you face having to row on an erg that lives out in the wild, as it were, keep this trick in mind and maybe pack a spring clamp along with some of those regular, non-rowing trou shorts that folks probably prefer at the open gym. While you're at it, you might want to throw some extra batteries in your bag, too, just in case the monitor is wonky--these two little tips might just save you an hour's worth of extra feet-out rowing, wondering what your split might actually be on your good erg back home.
Got a neat trick that helps you erg "on the road" when you are away? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.
This trick came to us from a Rowing Hacks reader, so if you have a great rowing hack to suggest please Send it to us!