Concept2 Drag Factor


This is one of the first things I ever tell newbies to the rowing machine, and I feel it warrants a quick short post.

One of the most common mistakes I see happen on a rowing machine is somebody walking up to it, throwing the damper on the wheel cover to the top and then starting to push out some very hard strokes.

This is massively incorrect, and will result in injury!

Some insider info for you – every rowing test carried out for official scores e.g. by schools, universities, clubs and internationals are doing at 135 and 125 drag factor (for men and women respectively). This is the level of resistance that mimics a coxless men’s four (seen as the pinnacle of Olympic rowing).


By using the same drag factor every time you use your rowing machine, you know that the scores you are looking at are ‘real’ and that you are limiting other factors that would affect your time. For home users, this is unlilely to be a huge issue. For gym users – this is big as so many people will fiddle with the settings.



Setting the resistance too high is quite simply stupid. The resitance is far too much, and you are putting too much stress on your lower back. If you want to generate more power – just push harder when at the correct resistance. This isn’t holding you back.


Other Machines

Whilst this post is aimed at the Concept2 – which is pretty much standard for commercial gyms. You should note the same guidance about not going too high other machines such as the WaterRower. See my comparison of the two machines here – Concept2 vs WaterRower


Like I say – just a short post, but an important one!

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