Erging and Rowing
Rowing on the water and erg'ing on the Concept2 ergometer are similar but also very different. I've put together the below collection of videos and comments to help give a solid foundation for both. I'm trying to use videos that predominately already exist but will add my own where needed. Also not all the video's will be apt to ocean rowing. Most rowing training is for Olympic style racing which is a different kind of beast from ultra endurance rowing whether on water or erg.
1) The bare basics
In this video the basics are ran through with little rowing terminology used and fair descriptions of each movement. Understanding the basics and progressing passed this point is essential.
Items of note:
The chain should not whip up and down during the stroke or recovery.
Heels on athletic shoes shifts your 'foot/stretcher' angle. Just be aware of this, flatter heels are better compared to running shoes.
My preferred erg'ing shoe is Converse All Stars, as they're cheap (~$30 USD), have minimal heel rise, and last forever. They're also great for transitioning to the squat rack without changing shoe.
2) Setting Drag Factor
You can watch all the videos on Youtube that talk about drag factor but they're pretty much all made by Crossfitter's and people who have never been in a rowing shell. They are wrong and will only misguide you.
The above video is the shortest and best I could find that answers the single question of 'How to change drag factor.'
To feel the resistance of a single on the water, I think it feels like a 110. Two seats rowing from a dead stop in an 'eight', feels like a 130ish. I think our yacht of a boat will feel somewhere above 130, no one has provided me any information in this area.
So where do I set the damper / drag factor? Right now, 110. I plan to increase this steadily up to and through 130 to simulate the load of our large boat.
Can't be bothered to check each time? Set it between 4-5 and start rowing.
3) Ratio, Ratio, Ratio
Whether on the water or on the erg, getting ratio right will allow you to breathe, reset, and be ready for the next drive.
On the water, we will all have to work with each other on ratio. You don't get to set your own ratio when rowing with some one else whether in a 2x, pair, or eight. You're reliant on the other person to be dynamic and work with you to find the right ratio for the stroke rate. Watch the video a few times and get the concept down.
4) Back to basics
Here's a video that walks through the basics again AND common mistakes using a bit more rowing terminology than the other videos. The rower shows multiple different forms, good and bad. The forms that are shown and that are described can be seen in rowers not just on erg's but also on the water.
Many small items to keep an eye out for. Slowly watch and think through where your shoulder are, elbows at different points in the stroke, and whether the handle ever stops at the catch or finish. Small improvements to form can make big improvements in how fast, long, or how fresh you feel when you're done.
5) A First Look into Sculling Technique
This is a deep dive into the basics of sculling and many errors and faults that can be learned into a rower's stroke. We won't have a ton of time to work all the errors out of your stroke and I still have a fair amount of gotcha's that pop up from time to time.
Just be aware that the rowing stroke is not something that can be perfected in a few years. You can aim to have a consistently good and repeatable stroke within a few months.
6) Hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, spine
Make sure you know hold the oar/ handle without additional stress or strain. Everything else is secondary as this is how you apply force to the water. Poor form and you'll tire yourself, over work tendons, and generally not put good power down.