A Gym Without an Erg, is No Gym at All

We have created a pretty modest home gym now. I am proud of how my brother got this off the ground, and I provided the manual labor putting, installing, and what not. I dumped my 24hr gym membership two years ago, after almost half a decade of having it.

But I admit, I miss the swimming pool, and the erg. Especially after reading The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown (one of my five recommended reads from 2014), I feel this constant urge to go rowing. Sadly, deserts aren’t conducive to rowing.

So what exactly do I got going on in the gym? Well workouts largely consist of INSANITY and P90X routines, the former requires nothing, the later requires free weights and a pull up bar, either permanent or stationary. When those get boring, there is the treadmill, along with my bike.

I get bored of routine, even though lifting weights, or any training, is all about routine! The fact that the human body is a machine still blows my mind. Its just amazing, incredibly amazing. Yet to accommodate my ADHD, when it comes to working out, I like to switch things up between INSANITY, P90X, running on the treadmill (I get killer shin splints, still), biking outdoors (read here), hiking outdoors (read here, here, everywhere), and doing a mix of jump roping, boxing, and yoga. The goal is simple, don’t let too many days go by without doing something physical, towards that end I channel King Julienne’s “Physically Fit” song.

Our gym is populated with a treadmill, weights, a stationary pull up bar, boxing bag. But what we lack is a Erg. I miss it actually. I used to do different cardio exercises when I was a member at 24hr, one of them was the Erg.

The thing about making a home gym work, is that you have to devote dedicated space. This might be a premium in some houses (families!), because habit constantly works against us. Its a constant battle in our home to keep from stocking up on odds and ends in the gym space. When it does happen, I generally tend to us the excuse of having to find a place for the object, move things around, take time up for doing that activity, as an excuse to not work out. That is what I believe makes the linchpin for success or failure at working out at home, and the allure to membership gyms.

This is backed up by science– just read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I think without an Erg you don’t really have a complete home gym. So we were in the market for one.

What is an Erg?

Rowers, like my brother who did a stint on the UCLA Men’s Crew team (find and follow him on Twitter!), know all about these machines, and they call it ‘the erg.’ We, the land lovers that we are, call it the “rowing machine” or the “indoor rower.” One of the best Ergs on the market is the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine. Its also twice the price of its competitors. (Frank Underwood’s “House of Card’s” erg is a hundred dollars more, takes up more space, plus you’re paying for the aesthetics).

Erg is short for ergometer, and the literal definition of ergometer is “a device that measures work,” this offers some insight into the intentions of Peter and Dick Dreissigacker, the founders of Concept2, as they developed their first commercial rowing machine. In fact, these brothers were the first one’s to put a “rowing” machine to market, largely motivated by their love for Crew and desire to be able to row when the weather was detrimental.

“They wanted to offer an effective, realistic training tool for on-water rowers, especially for use during the winter months. It was important to them that the device be able to accurately measure work output and performance, so that rowers could measure their speed and distance as if they were on the water and track their progress–and so they could compare their own times across different machines and also compete with other rowers. It was priced right and easy to use, so rowing programs could purchase enough of them for training purposes, not just testing. It also quickly gained popularity for home use among both rowers and general fitness enthusiasts.”

After some research, going back and forth, we are awaiting the arrival of the erg. will keep you posted on how it goes!


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