The PM5 Monitor: Which Unit Should I Use To Measure My Workout?

Written by Concept2 NZ on March 1st, 2018.

The PM5 Monitor is a feature of all Concept2 machines, and offers a wide range of functions to help keep your workout interesting, motivating and relevant to your goals. The PM5 monitor offers three different units to help you measure your workout; 500m split, watts and calories. Each of these different measurements have their own purpose, and choosing the right one for you can make it easier to track your progress towards your individual workout or lifestyle goals. Read on to find out which insights each unit can offer you!

500m Split:

The 500m split screen is the go-to for rowers who want to equate their efforts on the indoor rower to the time it would take to cover distance on the water. The 500m split allows you to see the split time you are on-track to complete 500m in, managed evenly over the stroke to provide a consistent metric to follow. Standard on-water rowing races are raced over 2000m, so by setting the split to 500m a rower can reference the speed they would like to achieve in a race, and follow at each quarter whether or not they are on pace. The predicted split function on the PM5 monitor is also very useful for gauging progress over distance, especially if you have a time restricted target such as the half hour event, where competitors attempt the greatest distance rowed within 30 minutes.

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The 500m split indicates pace over distance


For athletes looking to assess their strength and power on the indoor rower, the watts display offers an accurate reading of your power output, in a unit widely used across various exercise formats. The watts setting can be useful for monitoring increases in strength, with greater watts indicating an increase in power output. This can be especially useful in gauging your power relative to drag factor, as an increase in drag factor should equate to a higher power output when undertaken at the same rating. Monitoring your wattage in strength-focused workouts can also be a useful way of keeping track of your form and ensuring your technique is not being compromised. If your wattage has not increased with an increase in drag factor, this may indicate a deacceleration of the leg drive, something you do not want to encourage when striving for good technique, and that may put you at greater risk of injury.

In recording your wattage, and calculating your watts per kilogram of bodyweight, you can compare your ability on the erg in even terms to others. It is often the case that bigger, heavier rowers can produce more outright power, but by calculating power (watts) to weight (kg) you can compare scores relative to stature.

Watts are an effective way of measuring power output


The calories unit of the PM5 monitor allows you to view your workout effort in terms of energy expended. As the food energy index is measured in calories, using the calorie setting can be particularly useful if you are on a diet and exercise plan, where you may want to track your calorie expenditure in your workout in order to help inform your diet choices. However, the calorie measurement is also a very helpful unit to reference if you like to vary your workouts with other activities, as the calorie value of a rowing workout can be compared in even terms to the calorie value of a run or bike work out. This is the most accurate way of comparing the value of your workout with other workouts, as other units such as distance, time and speed do not consider effort or mechanics. For this reason, calories are often the unit of measurement for CrossFit workouts, as calories expended can evenly apply to a variety of different exercises that might make up a workout.

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Calories can be a great of comparing effort spent on a row, ski and bike workout in even terms.

While you may only select one particular unit for display on your monitor during your workout, you can review your results in other units after saving the workout. To view the various units on your PM5 monitor, follow these steps:

  • Press ‘Menu’
  • Select ‘Memory’
  • Select ‘List by Date’
  • Select your ‘Workout’, then press the ‘Units’ button to scroll through the different units
500 split summary-808watts summary-376calories summary-333

 View each unit of your workout in the workout summary on your monitor