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Old 11-02-2011, 11:35 PM   #101
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In the past I was using mostly the exercise bike (in addition to strength training) mixing it in some days with other things. However, I haven't been too satisfied with the results and think the Concept2 gives a better overall workout.

I spent a little bit of time looking through their forums. I found this thread interesting in the discussion about damper settings and explaining how it is that a lower damper setting can be as hard or harder workout than a higher damper setting.

Concept2 Forum • View topic - Damper setting woes...my aching back...

I'm not sure where I'll end up...the trainer that DH and I were working with had recommended starting at a low setting and working up, but really didn't suggest going beyond about 5. Of course, now that I plan to be doing it much more regularly I'll see how I feel as I go on.
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Keep Those Slides Clean
Old 11-03-2011, 09:58 PM   #102
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Keep Those Slides Clean

So many group memebers are getting their own C2s that I thought I might pass on my experience with dirt on the slide.

A few weeks ago I noticed a clickety-clack sound coming from under my seat while rowing. The white rollers were covered with some kind of black crud. I called C2 and the woman told me that this is common, and that if I cleaned the rollers and then kept the slide clean that would not happen.

Cleaning the rollers is not real easy, but I got them clean and sure enough the sound stopped. But I have found that I have to clean my slide at least daily to keep it from happening. I usually wipe down with 409 before and after rowing, and occasionally clean the rollers too.

Ha
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:33 PM   #103
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Thank you for mentioning this. It will be something to watch out for.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:20 AM   #104
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Since it's now too cold to do my regular 30 mile Saturday bike rides, I've jumped on the Concept2 bandwagon, but I have a few questions for you rowing experts.

I did my first session today. Rowed 5000 meters in 35 min. 59 seconds. I had the damper set at 5, my avg watts was 36 and my avg stroke speed/min was 31.

After 5000 meters my forearms were a bit tired, but I wasn't sweating and wasn't breathing hard. I had on my heart rate monitor and max BPM was only 121 (I regularly get to 160bpm climbing hills on the bike). I believe I'm using proper form because I've spent some time reviewing YouTube videos and there was a mirror immediately to my right, so I was watching to see that my form matched the videos.

So to my questions:
1. Any thoughts, based on the numbers provided, on why this exercise didn't wipe me out like I expected? Am I doing something wrong? Or is it possible that my cardio good from the hundreds of miles on the bike?
2. What is the appropriate way to make this exercise harder for me cardio wise without overdoing muscles that aren't used to doing this form of exercise? (i.e., Raise the damper number, row faster, other?)

Thanks for your advice.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:15 PM   #105
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Since it's now too cold to do my regular 30 mile Saturday bike rides, I've jumped on the Concept2 bandwagon, but I have a few questions for you rowing experts.

I did my first session today. Rowed 5000 meters in 35 min. 59 seconds. I had the damper set at 5, my avg watts was 36 and my avg stroke speed/min was 31.

After 5000 meters my forearms were a bit tired, but I wasn't sweating and wasn't breathing hard. I had on my heart rate monitor and max BPM was only 121 (I regularly get to 160bpm climbing hills on the bike). I believe I'm using proper form because I've spent some time reviewing YouTube videos and there was a mirror immediately to my right, so I was watching to see that my form matched the videos.

So to my questions:
1. Any thoughts, based on the numbers provided, on why this exercise didn't wipe me out like I expected? Am I doing something wrong? Or is it possible that my cardio good from the hundreds of miles on the bike?
2. What is the appropriate way to make this exercise harder for me cardio wise without overdoing muscles that aren't used to doing this form of exercise? (i.e., Raise the damper number, row faster, other?)

Thanks for your advice.
I don't know how old you are or how tall or heavy, but rowing for that time at that speed at your heart rate seems like a good fairly easygoing workout. You may find that your muscles feel quite used up for a day or so.

I would cruise like you are doing for a while, maybe at least a month. It is easy to overdo and hurt little muscles in the back which can sideline you. Also, if your max theoretical HR is 170, 121 is roughly 70% of max, certainly in the aerobic training zone. Just go a little faster and you will pump faster too, if that is what you are seeking. But I think that it is best to row carefully and slowly for at least a month.

Once you have your base and your form seems stable, the easiest way to get more heart rate is to do intervals. Get yourself well warmed up to a pretty good heartrate, then pull 20 strokes as hard as you can, then maybe 40 at a moderate pace (sec/500 m), then 20 as hard as you can, etc. until you have done 10 cycles. Be sure to cool down rowing at a moderate pace for at least 5 minues after this. But I believe that it is way more important to just row, to avoid injury, and to be regular than it is to go fast. Unless your goals are athletic rather than medical, in which case you will have to do athletic training.

Basically what counts is not your damper setting, or your SPM, but the readout in terms of watts or speed or calories/hr. Usually you will up these metrics by pulling harder once your stroke is grooved. The best stroke is usually the one with the smoothest application of power. You want the catch to be adding on the stroke before, not starting all over again. With really good form you can pull hard and sometime feel your butt come off the seat briefly in midstroke.

If you really want heartrate, mimic an on the water race. You go 2000 m as hard as you can go. If you are really doing this, you are near collapse by the end. I haven't done this since I was a young rower, it is very punishing. It also seems to me to not be a really good plan for a middle aged person. I do think that bicycle hill climbing, especially off road where the hills can be really steep, is more HR challenging. When my youngest son was still at home, about 15 years ago, I was 55. I could get pretty winded climbing with him on mountain bikes. But my its very nature hills on a biclycle are intervals. Unless you are going up an entire mountain, you climb for a while, then level out.

My typical workout when I am not trying to get winded (which is usually!) I will row 5000 meters =<30'. Then go get a drink, change my music or TV, and do the same again. Then I usually warm down for 1000 meters. This is not an exhausting workout, no huffing or puffing. The second 5000 meters is usually faster than the first.

I find that if I push hard for more than part of the workout, it is difficult to face it the following day.

Now I have to get off my butt and row! I want to get outside while it is still nice and sunny too.

Ha
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:58 PM   #106
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Thank you for such in-depth information on what I should be focusing on. I'm 50 years old, 5'6" and am currently at 145 lbs (I've lost 30 lbs since May 2011 and have a final goal of 135).

I enjoyed today's exercise so much that I've been doing research on the Concept2. I've found a great forum, daily workout challenges and the half and full marathons sound like great goals...but then I also enjoy riding in 65 - 100 mile bike races, so maybe I'm just dialed in to enjoy pain

What I'm most excited about is the potential of finding something that I can do in the cycling off-season to maintain my cardio without having to endure hours in boring spin classes.

HaHa, you need to add the name PPC2 (the Pied Piper of Concept2) to your handle!
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:00 PM   #107
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Must be something about us FIREd folks; I've had my Concept2 (model E) since December 2009 and just hit 1,000,000 meters! Bought it on Amazon, and I think it shipped direct from the company.

I tend to use it for several weeks at a time, 2 or 3 or 4 times per week, then go back to the gym (spinning) for a while, then back to the C2.

I just looked and see that I really haven't improved much over the two years; I tend to row the 10,000 m set in about 45-50 minutes. (Actually, I now feel great at the end; two years ago I was really tired at the end). After several weeks of rowing sets I can do 10,000m in 45 minutes, but after a few weeks of time off or even spinning, I'm back to 50 minutes. It's a good overall workout, but I can really feel the strengthening in my back muscles...I almost never have a stiff neck anymore!

The biggest challenge has been to keep from getting bored while rowing. Music doesn't do it for me. But, I've found a great solution--one hour TV programs from Netflix typically show in about 45 minutes, so they work great! Another great solution has been Teaching Company videos, watching two 30 minute episodes.

Keep on rowing...
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:39 AM   #108
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Since it's now too cold to do my regular 30 mile Saturday bike rides
...
Thanks for your advice.
Wuss
Come join the dark side: Icebike Home Page (the web site is little dated, but still relevant)
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:33 AM   #109
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Wuss
Come join the dark side: Icebike Home Page (the web site is little dated, but still relevant)
OMG, that is insane! That isn't cold, it's frigid!!

I live in Vegas and where we ride west of town is now down in the 30s at about 6am on the weekends. There is no snow, but it is cold...I am reptilian-like...below 50 degrees my hands and feet get cold and I'm miserable! So yep, I'm a wuss!!
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:53 AM   #110
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Can tall people use this too? I'm 6'6" and wonder if there is enough space on it to straighten my legs.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:27 PM   #111
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Can tall people use this too? I'm 6'6" and wonder if there is enough space on it to straighten my legs.
I think so. Plenty of college rowers are very tall. Go to a gym or a rowing center in your city and try it out.

Ha
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:08 PM   #112
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I think so. Plenty of college rowers are very tall. Go to a gym or a rowing center in your city and try it out.

Ha
Also, I noticed that they sell an extender for the rail, if needed by tall folks. If you check out a rower at the gym and the track is long enough, take a look and make see if it's got the extension piece, and if it would be OK for you with the standard-length track.
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:49 PM   #113
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Our Concept2 (Model E) arrived yesterday. DH put it together -- took about 2 1/2 hours. It seems a little trickier than the Model D because of the higher seat. Most of it he could do himself but some parts required 2 persons mostly because of putting together two parts that both needed to be lifted.

I've been sick with a sore throat so I only used it for a few minutes but seems fine so far.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:09 PM   #114
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Has anyone heard of a water rower? I just switched gyms last week and the new gym has two water rowers. I was disappointed at first, but after using it I like it. The pull is smooth and it is quieter than the Concept 2 (but maybe the concept 2 needed to be cleaned).

Edit to include a link to an article which compares the two rowing machines:

http://www.jamesstroud.com/postings/...sus-waterrower
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:50 PM   #115
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Has anyone heard of a water rower? I just switched gyms last week and the new gym has two water rowers. I was disappointed at first, but after using it I like it. The pull is smooth and it is quieter than the Concept 2 (but maybe the concept 2 needed to be cleaned).

Edit to include a link to an article which compares the two rowing machines:

Concept2 versus WaterRower &mdash; James Stroud's Pages
A gym I go to has a couple of these. They are quiet. I don't know about durability. I used one once because the C2s were busy. I didn't like it as much, but I am accustomed to the C2.

I read the article you linked, Helen. Pretty good article I think, about these units and rowing in general. I am impressed by his analysis of the muscles used. This is what I notice too- other than the front deltoid head, traps and pecs, it really works the entire body, even the lower legs. Great hip exercise. If I row along time I feel it most around my hip muscles. Like he says, add some pushups, and IMO some shrugs and it gets your whole body. The emphasis wrt the upper body is on the posterior chain. I think it might be an awesome exercise for women who like low back dresses, as it really does change your back.

One thing I would like to add is that the C2's feel, that of a slightly softer catch and more resistance as you accelerate the fan is actually more similar to rowing in a shell. The boat does not stop, it slows slightly and you get the catch and pour on the power into midstroke. Also, I think this softer catch is likely safer for the back, not just lower back but all those upper muscles that stabilize the scapulae. This might be especially relelvant for older rowers like me.

He mentions seat softness. I was spending so much time on mine that I got an inflamed sebaceous cyst on my butt. I started using a cushion for post hemmorhoid and prostate surgery patients. It likely slows me down a little, but it totally handles the sore butt issue. I don't remember ever having a problem like this when I rowed on the water, but it may be due to age.

One thing I like about C2 is that there is a very large community, and many performance benchmarks. The water rower may have this too, I just do not know.

Newer concept 2's will be fairly quiet wrt chain noise if you keep the chain oiled. But there is no escaping the air noise, as that is what makes the resistance. I do not find it bothersome, I can watch a movie, or a Spanish DVD with good understanding in spite of the noise. But if one is trying to row early while the rest of the family, or one's partner is still asleep in the next room it might be too loud.

It might boil down to personal preference, and price, and whatever one can discover about durability. My son has a Model C that he has had 10 years or so. He uses it a lot, and hardly even oils the chain but it is still going along with no difficulty. It is a good simple design, made out of good parts.

Another thing I like about mine is that it can easily be moved. I wheel it around to face the TV, and then pull it out of the way. If you want to stow it, you can very quickly take it down and put it back together.

But I am a fan, others may like the water rowers just as much.

Ha
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:59 PM   #116
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Great hip exercise. If I row along time I feel it most around my hip muscles.
Wow, I hear you there, Ha. I did 10K meters this AM and didn't feel much from it - until I had been sitting at my desk for a few hours. My left hip is feeling it, I guess I over did it.
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Old 11-19-2011, 09:59 PM   #117
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The day after my 10k meters on the rowing machine I wasn't really sore. I think sitting in the steam room helped a lot.

I watched this youtube video that night and the light went off about putting power into the pull:



The next day I was on the machine for seven minutes and it totally kicked my butt. OMG.
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:27 PM   #118
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What is that weird thing he does with his wrists?
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:58 AM   #119
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What is that weird thing he does with his wrists?
I don't know but it seems like he'd get tendonitis.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:54 PM   #120
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I think so. Plenty of college rowers are very tall. Go to a gym or a rowing center in your city and try it out.

Ha
+1
Be sure to adjust the foot strap correctly before deciding.
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