row2k Features
Training Hack
The Bungee Front-Stop
January 23, 2013
row2k hackers

A quick-to-add, easy-to-remove reminder that the slide is only so long

contributed by John FX Flynn

Finding yourself or one of your rowers over-compressing (or under-compressing) on the erg, and worrying that a whole winter of that sort of rowing might not be good for spring boat speed? We've got a hack for that: the Bungee Front-Stop.

Now that winter is well and truly settled in for most rowing hacks, we feel it is time to stop spilling boat tricks and trailer tips and get down to something more topical: the erg. It is that time of year just about everyplace, and we'd love to hear about all the hacks out there that folks are using both to get the most out of their erg time and to break up the monotony of rowing sans scenery.

We've heard of some good alternate erg uses already, but one of our favorite tricks has all the hallmarks of a good hack: using a spare seat bungee to make the erg a bit more "boat-like" by giving it a front stop.

We heard of this hack years ago and it is a great teaching tool to pull out at the start of an extended erg season. It works both for folks who tend to over-compress, when given that option by the long, stop-free rail you find on most ergs, and can also give folks rowing a bit short when they erg someplace to "get to" when they come up the slide.

A variation on this is to just use a strip of tape: instead of acting as a stop, the tape gives the athlete a little speedbump on the slide, which lets them know they've gone far enough (or gone too far, depending on how you set it). A bonus with the tape, of course, is that it won't actually affect the erger--making it perfect for longer pieces or even test workouts--but still provides a nudge on every stroke that overdoes things. Plus, at the end of the piece, you can "grade" the rower's progress by looking at how dirty the tape got each time the seat went past the mark, which can be a whole other way to get folks to compete in the "rowing well" department.

Whether you go with the tape or the bungee, there are a whole host of drills that you can use in tandem with the "front stop" to teach some new, good habits--or you can just let the rower figure out it out on his or her own via some pretty concrete feedback during those many hours in the erg room.

How do you hack your erg? Write in below and let us know what tricks you've used to make rowing the erg a bit more practical, and applicable, to the kind of rowing you are hoping to see when the erging is done and the boats are back on the water.

Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

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01/25/2013  12:43:33 PM
Row on the ergometer without using the footstraps. Feel the seat underneath , helps achieve balance and requires coordination, more like the boat.

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