Do you even lift? If so, what, when and how fit are you? A gym review.

We speak a lot about rowing specific injuries and performance but this week we are taking a look at general gym usage and statistics……with a focus on the erg just to keep it interesting!

The numbers were run by FitRated, originally observing 225 people at 3 different gyms to ensure a good mix of gender and ages, then numerous articles stemmed from this but the main goal was to look at what people are doing in the gym and why they choose certain equipment. The numbers are not research-level, with the fitness ratings being self described, but it provides some intriguing insights. One of which is not that surprising; men love bench press. 100% of men used the bench press with the 2nd most used tool by men being the incline bench press, hilarious. Women seem to like the elliptical most, treadmill second most but again this is not athletes we are talking about, more a general spread of gym populations. Fair enough then if more of the above men and women just want to look good on a beach but kudos for keeping active.

You can take a look at the lists below to get a feel for who does what and when at the pump house.

The most rowing related stat was that the fittest people at the gym all used the ergo. This is inline with the erg’s growing popularity, helped no doubt by Crossfit but also by its growing reputation as THE whole body workout tool. The research on ergometer use shows that it engages 86 per cent of muscles in the body, this is huge and sets it apart from other more lower limb based aerobic tools and from the usual upper body dominant resistance machines. In terms of calories burnt and body impact, the erg beats running or cycling – a 170-pound person doing moderate work on a rowing machine can burn about 270 calories in 30 minutes. It also has the advantage of being low-impact, meaning it doesn’t load keystone weight bearing joints like the knee and hip as much as running, which makes it more appealing and accessible to people of all fitness levels.

The only issue is you need to know how to use it properly to get a safe and effective workout, rowing, as we know, is a skill. You can say the same about good running but gait is an inherent skill and despite what some of your rowing nuts would argue, sadly rowing is not. This means we need education and technical advice to become more accessible, which is also happening with the growth of erg studios in many cities.

Here are our top research backed tips for avoiding injury on the ergo:

-Don’t use the erg as your first warm up routine
-Erg sessions should not be excessively long, especially for juniors or beginners with poor technique
-No long ergs before weight training
-Consider sliders? The jury is still out on these but there is some Australian based evidence that say they can reduce the lower back loading, again not fully conclusive but worth a thought
-Get your foot and drag factor settings right for what your needs are
Whatever your choice in the gym it’s great to be active and you will always increase the effects of what you get out if you’re going in with a plan. Keep moving, it’s good for you, especially if it’s rowing!


Thanks to M2Woman and FitRated for the pics & research