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Tips and Advice for Indoor Rowing by Rebecca Romero MBE

Foot Stretcher Position

Move the foot stretcher up or down so that straps go across the widest part of your feet. If your have and flexibility issues and cannot get your shins vertical when compressing at the catch position, then it can help to lower your feet. To do this drop the foot stretchers down a notch and see if it helps. The higher the feet are in relation to the seat provides a more powerful drive position, but unless you have the flexibility to rock over and get into a good strong position at the catch then this increased drive is lost. So finding a balance between the two is the best compromise.

Drag Factor & Damper Setting

The damper setting and drag factor, while linked, are different. The damper setting is the number on the side of your Concept 2 machine fan, which has a lever that goes from 1 – 10. It controls the air intake and resistance you feel. The damper setting controls the air intake but various factors can affect the resistance such as dust in the fan, temperature and altitude, so it is not an accurate unit of measure.


The drag factor measurement calibrates the damper setting and is an actual unit of measurement. It is found within the settings on the monitor on your Concept 2 machine or on the ErgData App.  The drag factor measure the speed the flywheel slows down, giving that rate a number.


Every machine will give a different drag factor to damper setting. So position 6 on one machine could be 140 drag, but only 120 on a dusty machine. So its always testing before your session, especially if using gym rowing machine.  Some further information on damper setting and drag factors can be found on the Concept 2 website, here.


As a guide Rowing Australia recommend a drag factor of 125 for Lightweight Men; 130 for Heavyweight Men; 100 for Lightweight Women; 110 for Heavyweight Women

Force Curve

The Concept2 monitor is able to display a Force Curve which graphically represents how you apply force (or power) during the rowing stroke. This can be used to analyse how the force you apply changes as you use your legs, back and arms during the drive. The area under the curve is the power you have applied to stroke, so you want to get the biggest are possible to maximise the power per stroke. The best way to achieve this is to aim for a bell shaped Force Curve.

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