History of the Concept 2 Rowing Machines

When most people evaluate their overall fitness level, there are very few that do not

When most people evaluate their overall fitness level, there are very few that do not have goals they would like to meet to improve their performance. There are three major areas or concerns that most people indicate impact on their ability to increase their fitness level:


oThe time factor. Many people are so busy they simply don’t have additional time in the day for longer or more frequent workouts.

oThe cost factor. Going to the gym or working out at home can be costly both in gym memberships and home fitness equipment prices.

oThe boredom factor. Whether at home or in the gym the workouts become old quickly and it is hard to get enthusiastic about returning.

These factors are even more pronounced if you are working out at home. Due to space and cost restrictions there are limits on the equipment that most of us can purchase to set up in a home gym. Luckily there are some impressive total body workout home fitness equipment products on the market. One such piece of equipment is the Concept 2 rowing machine.

Unique in its design and geared to provide an intense cardiovascular program as well as working all the major muscle groups this machine is everything the home or club fitness enthusiast could ask for. The design of the equipment and the natural movement of the muscle groups when exercising also provides opportunities for using the Concept 2 rowing machines in sports rehabilitation training.

Concept 2 rowing machines are also known ergs. This is a shortened version of the full name, ergometer, which comes from Greek and literally means a “work meter”. Ergs have changed and developed over time to the effective exercise and training equipment that they now are.

Evolution of the Concept 2 rowing machine

There are currently four models of the Concept 2 rowing machine and each one has improved on the last. The idea for the indoor rower was developed by two brothers, Peter and Dick Dreissigacker, both who are avid rowers and in 1976 were in training for the Olympic trials in pairs rowing. They were designing their own oars in the back of a bread truck that doubled as their home. While the trials for the Olympics did not go as planned, the carbon fiber oars that they developed did. The Dreissigackers moved in their combination home and office truck from California to Vermont to set up a shop to make carbon fiber oars. They bought an old dairy barn and began the process of converting it into a shop and producing rowing equipment, starting with oars. Since that time the company has grown and expanded to include many different types of products for both land and water rowing.

o1977 the first set of carbon fiber oars were used in the World’s Championship.

o1978 colleges and universities began using the Dreissigacker oars for competitions with outstanding results.

o1980 the brothers look for ways to keep rowing over the long Vermont winters and experiment with a bicycle nailed to the floor and a pull chain. The concept of the rower is developed and improved.

o1981 the Model A, known then as the Rowing Ergometer was produced. It was made largely from bicycle parts.

o1982 the C.R.A.S.H-B rowing club in Boston called to discuss setting up an indoor rowing race.

o1984 the Dreissigacker brothers moved out of the barn and into a commercial facility due to the overwhelming response and demand for the Model A.

o1986 the Model B rower was developed that added a better, safer design including a flywheel cover, more natural rowing movement, and a performance monitor.

o1991 saw the introduction of the Model C rower. More streamlined and ergonomically designed the Model C rower became very popular for both club and home fitness use.

o2003 was the year the final version of the Concept 2 rower was introduced. The Model D rower is the most advanced of all the rowers that Concept 2 offers with a powerful performance monitor, heavy duty construction, ergonomically re-designed handle, quiet performance and impact-resistant flywheel cover. There are significantly more damper settings available on the Model D rower than on any other rower model. The chain can be easily removed for cleaning and the outlet strip is made of stainless steel to prevent any rusting.

The Model D PM3

One of the most unique features of the Model D Concept 2 rowing machine is the powerful PM3 that is included as a standard feature on the model. This advanced performance monitor is a menu-driven onboard computer that takes all the tedious paperwork and logging out of the rowing exercise. The PM3 uses a C2 logcard that allows you to set up your own personal training workout and use a simple push of a button to start it up rather than having to reprogram every use. In addition the C2 logcard can be removed and the program downloaded to your personal computer for additional data monitoring.

Indoor rowing competitions

One of the big problems with working out at home is the isolation and lack of competition and support. The indoor rowing enthusiasts have addressed this concern by setting up indoor rowing competitions. The Amateur Rowing Association and other rowing groups such as the C.R.A.S.H-B rowing club have been strong supports of these events.

Indoor rowing competitions have become very popular in a wide variety of settings. Schools across the UK and other countries hold indoor rowing competitions as part of their year long rowing training and conditioning exercises. 2005 will mark the beginning of the Concept 2 indoor rowing competitions for schools. It is free for schools to join the Concept 2 indoor rowing program. In Korea an indoor rowing competition is held yearly for blind individuals with a volunteer calling out information to the rowers that are competing.

The inclusive nature of indoor rowing makes the sport appealing to people of all ages and levels of experience. The categories in a competition depend on both age and weight and are calibrated on a Concept 2 rower to provide a standard for measurement. The indoor rowing competitions are usually 2,000 meters.

C.R.A.S.H-B Sprints

These annual indoor rowing competitions are held in Boston Maschettutes and started in 1980 by a group of Olympic rowers in the area. The original name of the organization was the Charles River Association of Sculling Has-Beens hence the C.R.A.S.H-B name. It was later changed to Charles River All-Star Has Beens, but the tradition continues. They originally raced five miles, but the competition has now been shorten to the 2, 000 meter sprints. All rowing equipment used is the Concept 2 Model D rower.

Anyone is able to enter the event and all that you need to supply is your correct name and your last 2000 meter ergonomic score. This allows the organizers to place you in the correct level for competition. The competition attracts people from all over the world, with hundreds competing in each category.

British Indoor Rowing Championship

This competition was first held in 1991 and attracted 200 competitors. Now held in Birmingham, England the competition attracted over 3000 participants and is the world’s largest indoor rowing competition. Like the C.R.A.S.H-B competition is features Concept 2 rowing machines on a 2,000 meter sprint.

In addition to the sprint competition the BIRC includes a 4000 meter four person team relay competition.

The Future of the Concept 2

The popularity of the sport continues to increase and expand. With advances in the science of fitness and health the benefits of a Concept 2 rowing machine become more evident. The Dreissigackers continue to stay on the cutting edge of rowing equipment production and are always looking for ways to improve the product and to promote the sport. With advances in technology and design there just may be a Model E Concept 2 rowing machine in the future.