Concept 2 Rowing Machine

How is this for training for kayaking? I realize there are kayak ergometers out there also. I get out on the water as much as possible with my kayak but there are days when my schedule doesn’t allow it. Would a rowing machine be good training for kayaking or are the muscles and motion used too different?


– Last Updated: Jul-29-09 7:20 AM EST –

on your goals. if you wish to be a racer or distance kayaker, get the most specific trainer, i.e., an indoor device that is for kayaking motion.

if, however, you are wanting overall conditioning and strengthening with
some transfer of training to kayaking get the Concept 2.

I have one and love it. It has also strengthened my back, abdomen, neck and arms to the point I am not injured from rough water kayaking.

There are companies now making an adaptor for the Concept 2 for kayaking.

rowing machine
The Concept 2 rowing machines will give you a great total body workout using your legs, arms, back, abs, etc. Although not specifically using the exact same set of muscles as kayaking, I am certain that a rowing machine would benefit your overall fitness and make you a better paddler. I used to row occasionally on my “recovery days” from cycling, and I would be totally whipped the next day. I found out pretty quickly that it wasn’t providing me much recovery, but it was a great workout.

Very similar muscles
Too kayak you mostly use your back and you ab muscles with a little bit of grip in your hands. This is very similar to rowing muscles that are used.

Of course the rotation for rowing is back and forth at the hips and for kayaking it is side to side, But rowing is the best cross training for kayaking that I have seen.

Is good exercise for kayaking
I go at it as hard as I can for 25 -30 minutes.

It exercises lots of your large muscle groups used in kayaking.

Concept II thread from 2005 here.
Over 73 posts on this thread. Informational reading.

Yes, I still use mine.

Concept II
Probably on that thread somewhere, but… the Concept II is a fantastic torture device (smile). Use one at my local rec center, quite a bit leading up to the Crash Bs competition. It will give you a fantastic overall body workout but be careful of form as injuries to the lower back are quite common to accompany hard use. I have a Speedstroke and find it the single best kayak specific training tool for stroke dynamics alone. The other kayak ergs are supposed to be quite good also (Vasa, Paddle One, etc.).

Concept IIs can be had for much less $ than the kayak ergs, but if you’re really intent on not only fitness, but stroke mechanics, than maybe a dedicated machine is the way to go. You’d have to make that call.

Do you know why back injuries are
occuring? I used old time rowing machines for some years and I rowed and sculled, and I didn’t have any lasting back injuries whatsoever. The other oarsmen didn’t seem to have persisting back problems either.

Maybe some folks who start using a rowing dynamometer have some latent, pre-existing back problems. But it’s hard for me to accept that it’s the rowing motion itself.

you had good form were progressive
g2d you did good.

rowers are subject to the same laws of physics we all are. Overuse injuries from repetitive motions carried out poorly under great stress without proper warm up and without strengthening surrounding and opposing muscles and without proper form are COMMON in all sports.

you are right it is not necessary to get them.

I was taught to keep tempo below 22 and slowly build form and technique rather than what many do today with super high tempo and sprints without the form.

Kayakers have their favorite injuries too, right?

Great machine
and best value out there in stationary exercise equipment. If you shop for one used, you’ll notice that even older ones fetch a high price. This is because it is a well-designed, well-built machine, and if you ever manage to wear a part out, Concept2 sells replacement parts for all of their models at quite reasonable prices. The company is based in Vermont, and they have very good customer service. They also support an online community of users that can be a good motivator–there are periodic “challenges” to motivate you, virtual teams you can join, and you can upload your times to their site and compare yourself to others of your age and gender.

I’ll be honest–I’d much prefer to be in the outdoors than on a machine, but having said that, the C2 is the one machine I can actually get motivated to use consistently in the winter. I don’t use it much this time of year.

Any treadmill, elliptical or other exercise machine you bought for the same money wouldn’t last too long with regular use. Your Concept2 will last for decades with simple basic care. And if you decided after using it for awhile it wasn’t for you, you can easily sell it for 80-90% of what you paid for it. They are in demand.

it is so
What you are saying about the C2 is so right on.

99% of exercise machines go unused after 3 months. The retention and use rate of C2 is above 90%!

Why? The exercise itself is relaxing, meditative, and does not hurt you. It can be done for a whole lifetime.

There are people in their 90’s on it!!! Amazing.

I also got the rails that the machine can be placed on and it simulates being on water and is totally worth it.

I live on a river and look out at the water while rowing on days the weather is torrential.


– Last Updated: Aug-01-09 12:55 PM EST –

As an ex-crewbie, I've seen a lot of gym rowers with terrible technique. You can crank off high scores with lousy form, but it'll catch up with you -- in any sport.

I've seen people slamming up and down the slide, yanking at the handle, and it makes my back hurt just watching them.

The drive should be a smooth progression of legs->back->arms, with a relaxed recovery that's just the opposite. Watch these folks, and notice how the back opens over a fairly small angle. Look at the back angle when the leg drive starts -- it's up and solid, not bent way forward. A lot of gym rowers extend their legs without locking their back(shooting the slide), so they're leaning waaay forward when they start to pull. That's tough on the lower back.

Also notice that nobody has to lift their hands to clear their knees on the recovery. Hands go out fast first, then the back, then legs bring you smoothly down the slide.

Hands come straight in and go straight out. Wrists flat and relaxed -- your hands are hooks, not clamps.

Warming up, loosening up, rowing with good technique, and building up your workload over time should keep you out of trouble.

Concept 2
I did end up getting the Concept 2. I am not so much worried about paddling mechanics. I practice that religiously on the water concentrating specifically on that during my warmup and cooldown (and of course during the workout itself). My job is such that I sometimes can’t make it onto the water as often as I would like, even in good weather. I don’t live right on a body of water. I had a Speedstroke for a while and it was good for stroke mechanics but I just didn’t feel I was strengthening myself aerobically or muscularly for on the water kayaking. I am training for the Sewanee River Challenge (52 miles) with my fiance. We will be using the Bullitt K2 tandem. I know we will get out every weekend for very long paddles. We also change stroke rates, do some intervals, etc. on those long paddles. I was getting the rower for those weekdays when I am unable to get out on the water.

I have one and love it
Also a kayakpro erg. I prefer the precor orbiatl at gym with friends. Can burn 800 cal in an hour on quickstart. Any machine needs adrenalin and excitement. How about a fan infront with dvd of molokai or this is the sea. My old concept 2 is still fine except didgital readout is weak. All machines are good. Bikes and xc skiis are also great.

form is everything on concept II
Starting out with a rower you have to have correct form or you will cause injuries. Go to the concept II website and study the plentiful videoas and forum discussions to get started. Do not fall into the trap of measuring up to the performance achievements of some of the advanced forum subscribers. More info than you ever thought possible is available on both the US and UK concept II websites.

It is a rare gym trainer than has any clue as to how to use a rower so start out with a visit to the CII on-line site.

While a any rowing machine will workout your entire body body it’s not the actual kayaking motion and thus for that I would recommend you learn the proper kayaking motion.

On the other hand having rower isn’t bad as it will help you strengthen your upper and lower body muscles which will in turn help you row better during kayaking.

Concept2 Rowers are some of the best in the market and ideal for building strength of the arms and biceps. They come with the PM5 Monitor to help you track each workout.

Also adjusting the resistance is easier and it fold so storing it is easy too.

Read more about these rowing machines at

Are you a paddler or just trying to promote your site? Whatever, an erg is also great for building cardio endurance. Perfect technique won’t take you far if you can’t go the distance.

I like to do a one-arm row and work in some torso rotation. Most of these have a timer, so you can switch after a minute, two minutes, whatever, and work both sides equally.

@Rookie said:
Are you a paddler or just trying to promote your top rowing machine site? Whatever, an erg is also great for building cardio endurance. Perfect technique won’t take you far if you can’t go the distance.

Building cardio endurance is the main thing. You mentioned it right. I use concept 2 rower and I think it’s a great machine for building stamina and endurance.

Nordic Track conversion to Kayak Erg.

I had purchased a set of plans awhile back to convert a Nordic Track to a kayaking erg. It worked brilliantly but I realized I’m just not the type to sit in one place and paddle.

Anyone who would like it is more than welcome to the one I made for free, the cost is lunch from Uncle Sam’s Cantina at the FDR Estate (just down the road) when you pick it up at The River Connection Store.

I bought the conversion plans from My creation is a bit smoother with some sailing Ronstan micro-blocks to guide the line and a carbon paddle shaft sans blades along with a smaller seat.

See you on the water,
The Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY
845-228-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile