What a drag! Comparing drag factor on the rower and SkiErg

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The aftermath of a half marathon on the Concept2 ski erg

The aftermath of a half-marathon on the Concept 2 skierg.

Have you ever referred to the drag factor on your Concept2 indoor rower or SkiErg?  It’s the number that tell you how much resistance is on the flywheel and gives you an indication of how hard you have to pull (or push-pull in the case of the rowing machine).  Traveling ergers and competitive indoor rowing racers love this tool: Once you know the drag factor you like you can adjust the damper setting on any C2 machine to hit your factor (Concept2 has a great rundown on how to do it.).  Voila, it’s almost like you never left home!

Enter the SkiErg. We got a question on our Facebook page about how rowing-machine drag factor compares to the SkiErg.  The machines are apples and oranges in that respect, unfortunately.  Although they are both total-body machines, they are mirror images of each other in terms of the forces used by the body parts: The rower is primarily leg-driven while the Ski Erg is primarily torso-driven.

Therefore, as Concept2’s Greg Hammond puts it: “There is really no way to compare the two, each person is going to vary based on their strengths. On the rower if you are very quad-dominant then you would be able to hold a higher drag load over time. If that same person had an underdeveloped upper body then they would not be able to hold the same drag on the SkiErg.”

Here’s how to see the drag factor on your machine:

a) From the Main Menu select More Options

b) Select Display Drag Factor

c) Row or ski, the monitor will show your drag factor after a few seconds

So, play around with it and see what works for you.  Then hit up the comments and tell us what you’ve found – post your drag factor for both machines and let’s see if a trend develops.

Want to learn more about the SkiErg? Come to one of our trainings that includes SkiErg instruction!  We offer them around the country on a regular basis. Check our training calendar to find one near you.


  1. Mel on January 10, 2016 at 9:25 am

    In the boathouse out coach always keeps women at a drag factor of 110 and I think 130 for men- its important not to put it so high that is will strain or hurt your back

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