How To Improve ERG EFFICIENCY

Increasing output, improving efficiency and being able to stand strong in any Erg-based workout is something we all strive for. Whilst practice will support performance, ensuring you have the basic nailed is what will see you row/bike/ski the extra mile. Below are our key tips for improving your performance across all Ergs

How to better your performance on the SkiErg

Whether you’re in the gym by yourself, in a class with friends or laying it all down on the competition floor, you don’t want to be wasting any unnecessary energy! An efficient stroke rate is a powerful one. Focus on the following 4 components when next on the SkiErg:

Whether you’re in the gym by yourself, in a class with friends or laying it all down on the competition floor, you don’t want to be wasting any unnecessary energy! An efficient stroke rate is a powerful one. Focus on the following 4 components when next on the SkiErg:

1. Stance
Establish a strong base of support – think power stance:
– Keep your knees and hips soft
– Position yourself a full arm’s length from the SkiErg
– Stand with your feet just outside hip width apart

2. Execution
Think of an elastic band and execute your stroke like a coiled spring:
– Ensure your power curve is well within your max reach
– Initiate each stroke with your torso and execute with your arms
– Your start position should be hands up with your hips extended
– Your finish position should be soft knees and hips with your hand just above your knees

3. SPM – Strokes Per Minute
Depending on your height and power, this will vary, but aim for a smooth and cyclical technique.

4. Damper (fan)
The ‘resistance’ represents the amount of air directly on the fan – generally speaking more resistance requires more power.

Remember, the more you ski at different intensities, the more natural and efficient your technique will become!

 

How to better your performance on the Rower

Improving your technique on the rowing machine will see you improve your power, output and comfort in the seat. Listening to the fan, optimising your posture and ensuring you row with your legs first – followed by a simultaneous lean and pull – will all see your rowing performance improve. Focus on the following 3 components when next on the rower:

  1. Smooth is fast
    Target efficient strokes by finding your natural/optimal reach or force curve. By this we mean finding a consistent, steady back and forth motion, retaining good posture (relaxed and tall) whilst hinging at the hip.
  2. Feed the chain into the machine
    Don’t rattle the handle and chain – remember legs first, followed by a simultaneous lean and pull. Maintain control through each phase of the movement – the seat shouldn’t ever hit your feet on the catch!
  3. Timing
    Recoil after each stroke to get the fan going again. Listen to the fan as an indicator of smoothness and use your breathing to help with a consistent stroke tempo.

 

How to better your performance on the BikeErg

An inefficient position on the bike will waste watts! If you want to avoid losing pedal efficiency and smoking your quads and lower back, focus on the following 3 components when next on the bike:

1. Saddle height
Sit too low and you’ll lose pedal efficiency whilst smoking your quads and lower back. Sit too high and you’ll lose the ability to produce force. When sitting on the bike with your leg at the bottom of the revolution, you should be in a soft, slightly flexed knee position. Your pelvis should maintain a stable position as you ride – avoid dancing around in the saddle!

2. Handlebar height
Your saddle and handlebar height should be set so you can lean forward onto the handlebars and be in control of your weight transfer – not leaning heavily on the handlebars and being able to shift your weight back and forward easily. Target an angle at the hip that isn’t disrupted by the pedal stroke, and an arm position that is straight. The handlebar distance away from you should be around a forearm’s length away from your knee at the top of the revolution.

3. Damper resistance
This is a classic! I still see so many people trying to crunch the pedals on a high damper in quest of achieving ‘more power’… I can promise you (I’ve learned the hard way many a time) this isn’t the way. If you want power output at an efficient rate, head for the middle. Set the damper* between 4-6 to serve you well for sprints, sprint endurance and longer aerobic stints!

 

*A note on damper resistance


When you walk into any globo gym and step on a SkiErg, BikeErg or Rower, chances are the damper has been whacked up to 10.

Let’s explain the damper a little more..

Damper settings are defined by how much air is let onto the flywheel through the vents (where the fan is attached). A higher damper setting (5-10) means more air (resistance) is hitting the flywheel – this means more work is required to accelerate it each stroke. A lower damper setting (1-5) means less air will decelerate the flywheel, making it easier to spin.

What’s optimal?

 

To decipher your damper setting, you want to pay attention to the drag factor – the rate at which the flywheel is slowing down between your strokes. This is displayed on the Performance Monitor (PM). Target drag factor will depend directly on the size of the athlete – we suggest between 100-130 as a normal range across all ergs.

What should it feel like?

For an efficient stroke rate and good technique, it’s wise to have less overall drag on the flywheel. It should feel light, with most of the power coming from your body – not the Erg.

When would you use a higher damper?

When you’re looking to train a strength or power stimulus, you would look to use a higher damper where greater force is required to accelerate. However, for the normal gym-goer looking to use an Erg for cardiovascular benefit, we recommend a damper setting between 4-6 with the intent being smooth and efficient technique.

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