If you’ve ever been on an erg/rowing machine you know that it’s a motherfupper of a thing! A tool of pure torture, discomfort and also sheer boredom. If you’re a rower you’ll have spent the winter months having arguments with yourself about whether to actual sit on one or not and then cursing yourself when you do and cursing yourself when you don’t. Some people think it’s great for a total body workout and a great way to measure progress. I, myself hate the bastarding thing and have had to find ways to make myself actually stay on one and put the work in and you know, not hate life. I thought I’d share my tips to my fellow erg goers and maybe you have some tips of your own 🙂


1. Don’t go on the erg: Do anything else! Get in a actual boat and go for a row, or go for a long run, a billion squats, forty laps of the pool. Any other kind of exercise that will get your heart rate up but you will actually enjoy! Sport is meant to be fun after all. Do whatever you can to avoid sitting down on that machine.


2. Don’t look at the screen: Ok so you failed at tip number 1 or your coach told you to stop being such a whinge bag. Either way you’re now on the machine. I find for long sessions it is always better to push the screen the other way. Get it out of your vision, out of your line of sight. When I stare at the screen my score gets worse and worse and the times goes sloooooowly by. When I can’t see what I’m doing my score actually improves and I also don’t have the feeling of being controlled by a machine. You still put in the effort but there is no measurement til the end. No judgement but your scores stays the same. Win, win!


3. Count the strokes: If I am doing shorter pieces I like to keep my head up and count my strokes. If I’m doing a 5 minute piece at rate 26/28 I like to count back from 135/140. It is surprisingly relaxing, a great way to keep controlled and you KNOW that when you get to zero it’ll all be over.


4. Erg with someone else: Are you usually rowing alone, doesn’t that make you want to cry? Try doing pieces with a buddy to help you get through them and even push yourself. And on the long, slow slogs you’ll have someone to have the chats with. Just think of it like a very uncomfortable stroll in the park with your bestie. Now if you natter on during the whole piece then your score won’t be great but if you have small convos and take breaks from talking, your score will be good and so will your morale!


5. Have some kick ass music: Stuff that really gets you going. You know that music that makes you imagine the best version of yourself that’s winning gold at every race, beating every score, triumphing over every obstacle and is on the cover of vogue and has her own line of leggings that make your ass look great! That kind of music that is going make you say let’s do this! Make it loud, make it pumpin’, make it so that the neighbours/fellow rowers/gym goers look at you with both annoyance and envy!


It is possible to sit on the rowing machine and live to tell the tale, it is possible to do it more than once a month without dreading it. These tips are only to help you mentally overcome it because you are physically a badass and it is only your fear stopping you from making that erg your bitch!


So make that erg your bitch because those people are right, it is great for total body workout, that’s why it sucks.


BONUS TIP: Take erging selfies and put them up on Instagram, people are uber supportive in the fitness world and will egg you on to do better!