What is That Lever On The Rower?

All of us have used the rower in a CrossFit class and in the heat of a workout, we all just hop on that machine and just focus on racking up calories or meters! I’m also sure that everyone at one point or another has looked at that lever on the right and wondered, “does that number really matter?” 

Well, let’s talk about everything you’ll want to know about that lever and the Concept 2 Rower itself as we talk about the most used piece of cardio equipment in a CrossFit box!

How does a Concept 2 Rower Work?

The Concept 2 Rower is one of many rowers that are on the market. We use them because they are the most trusted on the planet by Olympic athletes and their coaches!

That’s not like a “9 out of 10 dentists” kinda thing. They make the best rower and it is the standard, while everyone else makes a copy.

As an Air Indoor Rower, you use your legs, back, and arms to apply forward to a handle that is connected to a chain. That chain applies your force to a flywheel and it gets a fan turning. The speed at the fan is going in read by a laser in the machine and relayed to the monitor at the top of the rower. The monitor then gives use readings we can understand and use to change our pacing and track our progress via meters, watts, and calories. 

But What About That Lever Thing?

Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed that on the side of the rower, there is one more thing to go over! 

On the right side of a Concept 2 Rower, there is a little lever that points at numbers from 1 (at the bottom) to 10 (at the top). If you play around with it you’ll notice it is harder to pull at 10 and easier at 1. So automatically we all assume “that’s the resistance!” Well, yes, but also not exactly.

On the water, a rower will dip their oar in the water and pull against the water to propel their boat farther. After that pull the boat will coast until the next pull is applied.

With an air rower, the fan acts as the boat going through the water and the damper acts as both resistance applied by the water on the boat as well as how deep the oar is in the water when you pull.

If the damper is on 10, not only will there be more resistance and the boat will slow down faster, you can also apply more force to the fly wheel. This means that the stronger and larger you are, there is a different layer to the damper than just resistance! 

This difference usually matters in any sort of sprint situation and that’s really the only time you would want to crank up that damper setting is when you’re going for a test that is under :60 in length!

The rest of the time we need to be concerned with…

Drag Factor!!

If you’ve ever wondered where exactly you should be on that weird damper to be optimal, drag factor is the measure you should use to find it!

On a Concept 2 Rower, you can measure the drag factor in the “More Options” section of your monitor! Next hit “Display Drag Factor.”

When you open the Drag Factor app, you should just start rowing. Some numbers will pop up and your goal should be to have it read 130 at an moderate pace! 

If it is under that number, move the damper up. If it is over, move the damper down. 

Now, once you’ve found this…you’ve found it for just that particular rower! The thing is, that each rower is made slightly differently and each rower you use is in a different part of its maintenance cycle. A well maintained rower that has fresh oil could have a 130 drag factor at 5 and an old one with dust caught inside the air chamber might have to be at 7 or even 8!

In our gym, once you find it on one, it will be the same on all the others since they are on the same maintenance cycle!

Want the quick answer for Vegvisir Athletes, it is about 6!

Now that ya know this, go into your next rowing workout and give this a go! See what your drag factor setting is and let’s get some awesome rows in!

fill out this form to get started >>

Take the first step towards getting the results that you want!