Indoor Rowers

Customer Reviews For Our Indoor Rowers

Cameron Brown (NZ & International Ironman Champ)

"Being injured is pretty common in older athletes and having the concept 2 rower as a training tool when I had my calf injury ensured I kept all my fitness. When I returned to running I felt I still had all my aerobic capacity and strength, it even helped with my strength on the bike"

Rhys Carter (Motocross)

"I have recently recovered from a broken tibia and ankle. I have been using the rower and BikeErg to help with my recovery. They both help with range of motion in my ankle and also help build strength back up in my legs to help with the healing process."

Eric Murray is part of the famous Kiwi Pair and is an eight-time World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist (Professional Athlete)

The Dynamic is a great tool to feel how a boat moves. It doesn’t have the draw you get from the chain on the standard model and therefore you ‘have to’ create a momentum and flow to your stroke similar to that of rowing a single. There is a small amount of elasticity in the machine but you have to keep your hands moving etc like you do when you row on the water. You also have to have a ‘hang’tobe able to drive your legs and have a natural body open through the stroke. A constant rhythm will allow you to be efficient and sustain and good training pace. I personally feel that I have been able to adjust my technique on the Dynamic to that of what we are trying to achieve on the water. I thas helped a lot with being able to work on what I perceive to be the best way of moving a boat out on the water. My advice is: don’t be afraid of it! People can be reluctant to change, but change can also be a good thing. Persevere with it, as your numbers may be a little lower to start with, but the more you use it and get the feel of how you should be rowing it, the better your numbers will be. The feel is a lot different and if you do a period on the Dynamic and then switch to the standard, you will notice a HUGE difference in what is happening with the way you ‘have’ to row the machines. I'd recommend the Dynamic Indoor Rower to anyone who wants to progress their technical ability. Itis a great machine and a great step forward into a more technical specific boat feel machine. Anyone will be able to use the machine, but will they be able to use it to the best of their potential! That is what people need to ask themselves and then train, train, train, to achieve it!

Piha Surf Club NZ

Piha SLSC Boaties have used the Concept 2 rowers now for the past decade. Many things go into developing a Champion team of boat crews, many hours of dedication and training sweat, if I had to single out in key piece of apparatus that has made a big difference it would be the concept 2 rower. No hiding places on these babies... you can gauge the steady improvement if you’re doing the work and weed out the imposters who don’t. The multiple training strategies that we imply across the Concept 2 tests & training rows is vast and differing, it’s like all sports where winning is the ultimate objective – you do the work and the results will come. One of the best things with the concept 2 is rowing can be such a differing sport, Wind, tides, water depth can all effect the boats movement, having a gauged apparatus like the concept 2 gives the competitors’ something to gauge their fitness / power / strength by that is always an even spread. We couldn’t have won without them.

Rhys Carter (NZ Motor Cross)

The Concept 2 indoor rower has been an awesome addition to my training for motocross over the past year. It has helped with whole body strength as it is a full body work out. I replace the standard bars with motorbike handle bars to replicate riding a motorbike as much as possible to help use the muscles I use when riding my bike. I highly recommend a Concept 2 indoor rower to not just all motocross riders but to anyone that is looking for a full body work out.

Shawn Ramirez (Crossfit)

My name is Shawn Ramirez and I am a CrossFit Games 40-44 Masters Competitor. I wanted to first, Thank You for putting out the absolute BEST product that enabled me to keep my endurance and met-con up without putting stress on my joints and ankle in particular. In 1999, I sustained a devastating blow to my calcaneus in an accident in Europe, which left me unable to walk. The Doctors in Spain, woke me up with a prognosis that I possibly wouldn't be able to ever walk again. This gave me a surge of will and power that motivated me beyond measure. Within just 3 months of intense therapy, I was back on my feet, ready to take on the world. Fast forward several years later, to the 2014 CrossFit Games, and I was able to "walk" off the podium, crowned as "The Fittest Man on Earth." I'm writing this letter to Thank You from the bottom of my heart for producing a product that allowed me to overcome this tragedy, enabling me to avoid compound pressure on my heel, which led me to become the CF Games World Champion! Keep doing what you do, truly making a difference in many lives!

Wally Many (Weight Loss)

Wanted to say thanks. Two days after ordering it was at my door. And what a beauty it is. So much better than the 'competition.' I'm using itasan adjunct toan exercise bike (though it may supplant that for the most part) in losing weight. I decided I needed something for the upper body, too. I find it great to get in the rhythm and just go. And I would say that the more that I use it the better I like it. I haven't given up the exercise bike but use it to warm up for about twenty four minutes. Then at least 30 minutes on the Concept2, which feels like a down hill ride even as I try to keep up a strong pressure. I do each of them twice a day so I do get a good workout. Since my purpose is to lose weight, I have almost reached the bottom I think and then I will taper off some and use it to keep up the fitness I have gained. Have lost over forty-five pounds and reached my first goal—the weight I had when discharged from the Army sixty years ago. I would never been able to keep atitjust using the exercise bike. I just wanted you to know how great the machine is. Thank you!

Cameron Beechey

“I got started because my Dad was doing it, so I thought I should give it a try. It turned out that I liked it so I did it a lot. We have the RowPro software so sometimes I race people from around the world.

I normally row about three times a week, but I’ve got lots of other things going on as well, like touch rugby, swimming, soccer etc.

I would also like to (one day) row a million metres like my Dad has and beat him in a race.” Cameron Beechey – age 8

“I was keen for Cam to start rowing as not only would it be additional motivation for me, as I knew he would give me a hard time if I skip any rows, but I also think it is a fantastic exercise option for fitness and all over strength. I also think it is good to get into the habit of regular exercise, sure wish I did when I was younger…”Richard Beechey – Father

Mark OBeney

Four years ago 39 year old rower Mark Obeney weighed 159 kilos and was struggling with his weight due to lack of exercise following a serious car accident. He was left with multiple leg fractures and had limited mobility making it difficult for him to exercise, especially as he even found walking very painful.

Following extensive treatment, Mark had his last operation to remove the pins, plates and screws from his legs in 2002. His doctor gave him the go ahead to start light exercise and in a bid to get his fitness levels back up again he began using the Concept2 Indoor Rower.

Mark had owned an Indoor Rower since the early 1990s so he already knew the benefits of the machine. Under strict medical supervision Mark began using the machine for five or 10 minutes a day and didn’t feel any pain.

A year later and Mark was really beginning to feel the benefits of exercising again. He felt brave enough to join a health club where he set up a training programme with a personal trainer. Taking into consideration Mark’s improving but still limited fitness, he began a training programme of free and fixed weights alongside workouts on the Concept2.

“After the car accident my Concept2 got put away to gather dust in the cupboard as I was in too much pain to even walk let alone row,” explained Mark.

“Once the final operation was out of the way though, I was really keen to get back on the machine again. I dusted it down and moved it into the dining room where I could use it every day. Training at home, and then joining the gym, has made such a difference and to date I’ve lost 39 kilos and am continuing to do so.”

Mark has steadily lost around one pound per week and today weighs just 120 kilos. Although he’s found the last few months pretty tough, he’s still training and aims to get down to 102 kilos. That would result in a total loss of more than 55 kilos. “My weight loss has recently hit a plateau but I’ve noticed that my clothes are fitting better than ever and in some cases are getting loose. It’s not just about the scales though, it’s about inch loss too!

“Nowadays my weekly routine is using the Concept2 for 30 minutes or an hour each day supplemented with light weights and swimming. I’d like to total two million metres on the machine and row a marathon – on and off the water!”

“I’m hugely competitive, I’ve got to keep going and beat my previous time!”

Geoff Thornton

“I was once a reasonable sportsman playing club rugby in the UK but my mobility was impaired by a slipped disc which was untreated, because the hospitals were full, and the disc severed the nerves to my left calf which then withered. This means I cannot run, and as I get older walking is more difficult. So, to keep my heart and lungs functioning properly I bought a rowing machine having previously used one in the gym. Prostrate and kidney cancer, and arthritis have not helped my rowing ability either!

I also bought one for my son, Ben, who is 37 and 6ft 8” tall, a few years ago on which he trains for various competitions including a 100,000 Km (yes one hundred thousand km) race two years ago. He has rowed the marathon in 2 hrs 40 mins. His older sister Dr Penny Mitchell has rowed 2Km in 7 mins 20 secs but now has quit due to back trouble, a family failing. Nevertheless she still competes in running and cycling events winning three gold medals in last years’ Golden Oldies meeting at Dunedin.”

When Geoff got his machine he was very enthusiastic but ill disciplined. He would row at any off time during the day, when he had nothing better to do, for 10 or 15 minutes, or one or two kilometres, whatever he fancied. Then he realised that his rowing frequency was dropping off as he was tired from working on the farm so he started to row 2k most days before breakfast. “My initial target was to beat 9.40 – which was elusive”. He then recalled his business experience (as a Management Consultant) and the three Essential Rules of Good Management:

Have a target and ‘give it a go’ Have a recording system to show if you have reached the target Take corrective action so as to hit the target next time

With this in mind he looked at the Concept 2 memory for the listed 500m splits for his last ten 2km rows. Taking an average from these and with a target time of 9.40 he worked towards his goal. And on January 19th of this year, Geoff recorded a 2k time of 9.37 smashing his goal!

It just proves you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Michael Buikema

Michael hired a Concept2 for 3 months to help him win a weight loss competition at work:

“I started the weight loss competition with a moderate target in mind, hoping to lose about 10 kg (from a start weight of 96.5 kg). I am 184cm tall so wasn’t too overweight, but most of it was around the stomach, which was unhealthy. I also had very bad eating habits, and on most nights had up an extra dinner (or 2), and was always eating takeaways for lunch.

I knew that dieting alone would not lose the weight, so needed an exercise option. That’s where using a concept2 was ideal, as with a young family, there is not enough time to go to the gym in the mornings or evenings, and with knee issues, running is not an option for me. A rowing machine is low impact on back and knees, and being able to exercise in my own house, at my own times was worth its weight in gold.

I started off slowly so as to ease the body into it, the first week was about getting the stomach used to not having an extra dinner each night and a three course meal for lunch. In the second week the Concept2 arrived. As I have had knee and back injuries in the last couple of years, I knew that going hard straight away would not work, so the first two weeks started with 20 minutes, building up to 30 minutes a session in week 3. After that I put up the length of the sessions by 10 minutes a week, so by week 8 of rowing I was doing 80 minutes a session.

I originally planned six sessions a week, with one full session Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, a half session on the Friday, a full session on Saturday and Sunday, then have Monday off. This did not always work out, especially after my second daughter was born with three weeks to go. At that point it was exercise when I could, for as long as I could, but I never achieved the 80 minutes again.

Focus while rowing was never on the distance travelled. I focused solely on the number of calories burned, and tried to ensure that in each session I would burn more calories than in the session before. Sometimes I did continuous steady rate, sometimes used interval training, just to mix it up and keep it interesting.

The exercise was complemented by healthier eating and a reduced calorie intake. The reduced calorie intake was not sustainable in the long term, but worked really well for a weight loss competition.

Start: 96.5 kg

End: 76.3 kg

This was a 20.2 kg weight loss; the next closest in the competition was 12.5kg.

In the six weeks since the end of the competition I have now come back to about 86 kg which is about right for me. The 76 kg was too light and the weight loss too much in the short time frame. Getting back up to 86 kg also means that I fit my clothes again now, so I don’t have to buy a new wardrobe.

John Lewins

John Lewins is one of our newest Million Meter Club members and when we asked him what motivated him to use the indoor rower he kindly sent us the following:

Why did I fall in love with a Concept2 Rowing Machine at 70 years young?

I am very competitive, so the chance to pit my rowing output against others was all the inspiration and motivation as well as perspiration (I.M.P) I needed to row 1 million meter’s. Before taking up The Challenge I had only rowed 1,000 and 2,000m with the odd 5,000 thrown in, therefore to build up to row 22,000 and 25,000 at a time gave me a real buzz.

I have always tried to keep fit, running 10k, ½ marathons and the odd marathon for fun! A few years ago I had a total knee replacement which stopped me from running, but gave me the opportunity to do those ‘we must do it next year’ walks that we had been putting off – the Milford and the Queen Charlotte Tracks were the most enjoyable and challenging.

Joining and working out at the YMCA Ellerslie helped me to reach and maintain a reasonable level of fitness. Unfortunately I suffer from neuralgia caused by a severe bout of shingles and this restricts what exercising I can do in the gym – no lifting weights for example but rowing is perfect, it doesn’t affect the damaged nerves in my back.It is a good feeling to be cruising along on the rower with perspiration pouring off knowing that there goes another ½ kilo. I have lost 5 kilos since starting in June this year and now down to a trim 76 kilos. I just love a challenge and set myself a new one for each year.

Stan Brierly

Let us introduce you to Stan Brierley, a member of North Shore YMCA. Stan is the current holder of the New Zealand Million Meter Club record of an amazing 42 million metres! Stan completed this record on 31st May 2010.

This is a particular milestone for Stan as he has finally completed an epic journey of rowing round the world on a Concept2 rowing machine. This was a personal challenge Stan set for himself, which started back on 10th April 2000.

For the record, converting the hours Stan rowed to days, means that if rowing for 24 hours continuously the number of days would amount to 233 which is quite a feat!

Another interesting factor is the amount of calories used, based on an average of 50 calories per kilometre, the total is two million, one hundred thousand calories!

When we asked Stan what kept him motivated during his epic ‘adventure’ he said: ”My main aim is to keep my body operational and maintain a decent level of fitness and by undertaking this row around the world, it ensures that I will be active for at another least eleven or twelve years.”

He went on: “There are many things in life that cause you to vary a goal and one of these came after I was recovering from a heart by-pass operation with post operational problems. As I was a formerly fit person, into running great distances, triathlons, harbour swims and Ironman events, it meant that I had to think about what I could do to recuperate. So I decided to join a gym and work my way back to physical health.

“I commenced with rehabilitation classes and stuck at them for some time but felt I was not making any progress, still feeling unwell with frequent hospital visits. So I decided to try the gym circuit training and during one of these sessions I was introduced to the Concept 2 rowing machine.”

Stan started out by doing 600m and found it hard going but got back on a few times and became hooked! “I slowly increased my distances and eventually reached 4 kilometres and at that time I was encouraged by the gym to have a go at 5,000m non-stop.” Stan was soon able to get through both 5km and 10km without stopping.

When Stan started indoor rowing, he had a shoulder problem that doctors had worked on for some time and despite X-rays, cortisone injections and exercises it didn’t get better and the pain was waking him up at night. Stan continues “however, as soon as I started rowing, instead of aggravating it, the problem soon disappeared. So I decided that rowing was going to replace my running, swimming and other sports and was soon clocking up 10km almost daily.

Over time I worked my way up to doing a half marathon, then a full marathon and then decided since I had run around the world, I would do the same on the rowing machine.”

When Stan ran around the world he worked from the distance via the equator which is 38,898km. Averaging 10km a day it took him 11years and nine months to complete that journey.

Since Stan decided that health was a lifestyle, he decided to undertake the mission of rowing around the world which meant calculating a sea route from New Zealand to Australia, across the Indian Ocean, to the Red Sea, across the Mediterranean, Atlantic, through the Panama canal and finally back home.

He worked this out to be 42,000 kilometres and Stan set off on his daunting journey on the 10th April 2000 which would take just over a decade to complete.

Stan was clocking up the miles and soon did marathons, ultra marathons and a 100 kilometre row which he completed in 10 hours 37mins which was only 2 minutes slower than a 100km run which confirmed to him that running and rowing were similar when it came to effort and time. He then completed the distance again and shaved 42 minutes off his time setting a world record for his age group!

Stan entered all of his work outs into his rowing log and was amazed to see how his progress was accumulating, his weight had stabilised and it was great to see the calories used. Stan comments “these were excellent motivational tools! But by this time I had decided to slow my rowing down to a steady 7 minutes per kilometre and in my mind this was equivalent to the jogging distances that I used to do when I was out on the road. I was aware of the fact that the distance from St Heliers Bay to Rangitoto was 4.5k and made it a daily target to row to Rangitoto and back across the Auckland Harbour.”

Stan arrived at Melbourne in June 2001 after crossing the Tasman and then took a year to arrive in Perth. Crossing the Indian Ocean diagonally came next – a rather daunting distance of 8,029 km’s! “By the 26th October 2005 I was going through the Straits of Gibraltar and then into the Atlantic. I had clocked up 23,043 k’s and was over halfway through my journey.

The Atlantic seemed formidable as I believe the sea can be quite treacherous and in theory there is a lot of shipping crossing so mentally there was this to contend with. It’s an attitude thing with rowing, the same as a lone runner, you act within yourself and you frequently play mental games while on each journey. Each session is an achievement in itself and of course, entering details in the log becomes thrilling as progress is made!

There are now many rowers at the North Shore YMCA who have completed 1 million metres and many who have completed much more! Each of these rowers has improved their wellbeing and health! Their companionship and encouragement in this field is incredible!”

Stan wonders if it had not been for the rowing machine where would they be now!!!

Dave: Home User + Injury Rehabilitation

Have been using concept 2 for a few years now at the gym as part of my rehab program from a motorcycle accident in 2014. Many surgeries later and I am coming out the other side. The concept 2 was the key tool I used on every bounce back so it became my go to machine which I have use every morning since Jan 2016. Finally made the decision to get one for home which is turning out to be a great investment. Now I’m using both machines but getting on my own anytime I want is proving to be a big bonus. The online challenges are great motivators. And I have also encourage a few other to get involved as well. My wife is also increasing her rowing effort by doing another row in the evenings. So yes, happy as and fast approaching the 8 million mark and over 400k completed on the holiday challenge to date. In fact, knocked out my first half marathon yesterday.

Nu Filo - Invictus Games Athlete

"In 2006 I lost my leg in an accident while serving in the NZ Army. During my recovery from the accident I discovered the Concept2 rowing machine. The rowing machine has been a huge part of my journey as well as my training for the Invictus Games...Rowing for long distances has been a struggle this year, with a long history hip flexor issues since my accident it’s been a challenge to extend on the drive. Lucky for me the Invictus Games Rowing events are just a 1 minute and 4 minute row. Having the rowing machine at home has given me the advantage of knowing my race. The goal is to race your own race and if you do well anything can happen."

A.S (Home User)

Just wanted to send you a note of appreciation for your wonderful company and product. I have been searching for a form of cardio that my dysfunctional knees/hips can handle, and that I can also have in my small studio apartment. Turns out, your rower fits PERFECTLY in the only open floor space I have left. And it faces my TV. Which is key. Your rower was delivered quickly and was packed to perfection. And, because it is to lightweight, I was able to get the machine up four flights of stairs by myself—and I'm a 5ft 4inch blond girl!! that would never be possible with an elliptical or treadmill. So happy. Then, as I unpacked it, I was even more happy to find out how easy it was to put everything together. And now, I have a fully functional gym in my home! I'm blown away by every step of this process, from the ease of ordering all the way to the quality feel and attractive look of the machine. I'm in love. And as a beginner rower, I'm having to keep myself off the machine so I don't go too hard too fast! Amazing. And, on top of the quality of your rower, your customer service is top notch. I had a couple exchanges both over email and on the phone with your company, and everyone was helpful and friendly. And those two characteristics are increasingly hard to come byin customer service these days. So, kudos for that, too! I will be suggesting the Concept2 rower to as many people as I can get to listen. Keep up the good work. You are changing people's lives. And not just the real-serious-rowing-types, but regular people like myself, too.

Amy Vander Stoep Karraker (Rehab- Knee Replacement)

I want to thank your company for making the equipment that turned me into what my orthopaedic surgeon calls a "medical miracle." He has never seen a patient recuperate so quickly from a total knee replacement. I could walk without crutches two days after surgery, drive my car in ten days and was totally off pain medication in two weeks. It's been six weeks now, and I'm still not perfect but I'm getting there. I give a lot of credit for my quick recovery to the pre-surgery exercise program I developed that featured a Concept II rowing machine. For two months before the operation, I simply rowed for at least 35 minutes a day and also did an easy series of basic physical therapy leg strengthening exercises. In addition, I worked on my upper body so I could work with crutches, as needed. My only question is why don't you have more information available about how your product can help those with bad knees and other leg-related problems? Rowing is an ideal way to strengthen muscles and encourage weight loss without putting undue stress on the joints. I've really become a 58-year-old evangelical preacher when it comes to your rowing machines. I'm now back on one every day in preparation for replacing my other knee. I'm also spreading the word to others. Your equipment could save a lot of people a lot of pain—so please, let more people know!

Carolyn Watson (Weight Loss)

I had to email you and tell you my story because I am so excited! I actually hugged my Concept2 Indoor Rower because I love it!! I was a runner for 7 years and was in the best shape of my life until about 2011 when I let life’s issues get in the way. I weighed 192, at5'6" and was 43 years old. I was at my absolute worst for my sister’s wedding in June 2011. After seeing myself in the wedding photos, I decided to join a gym and from 2011 to July 2013, I had managed to lose only 10 pounds. I had an exercise bike at home that broke and needed to be replaced. In my quest to find the best home gym equipment replacement, I stumbled across articles, radios shows, and information about the indoor rowers in the CrossFit Games, and decided to further research the rowing machine. I purchased my Concept2 Model D Indoor Rower in August 2013. Once I got the correct posture and the rhythm down, I began to seriously work at it in September of 2013. The rhythm of rowing and sliding back and forth was somehow soothing and stress relieving. I became so addicted and had developed such will-power to be persistent with it! I began noticing results immediately. By January 2014, I had lost 40 pounds in 5 months, rowing 30 minutes to50 minutes a day 5 days a week. In February, I decided to add other activities to my routine like hiking and running again, because I think that the rower has motivated me and has given me such energy, strength and endurance. I began noticing muscle toning as soon as I began rowing in September, and I actually have visible lean muscle mass now! It’s amazing how toned I’m am looking now, just after my 46th birthday. I continue to get compliments constantly on my amazing transformation, and I have become such a spokesperson for Concept2, you have no idea. I think I may have even sold a few. I have continued rowing every other day and plan on continuing to do so forever!!! The indoor rower became something I really stuck to, and it really worked for me.

Stan Brierly (Rehab)

When I started rowing I had a shoulder problem that doctors had worked on for some time and in spite of x-rays, injections with cortisone and exercises it did not get better, the pain was waking me up at night; this was a real problem, however as soon as I started rowing, instead of aggravating it, the problem disappeared. That was the first step in my recovery. I decided rowing was going to replace my running, swimming and other activities, and I became addicted to this form of exercise. In due course I regularly rowed 10 kilometres daily and noted I could row at the same pace I could run. I worked my way to a half marathon, marathon, Ultra marathons and then decided since I had run around the world by keeping a log, I would do the same on the rower.

Sir Steve Redgrave | Retired British Rower and 5x Olympic Gold Medalist

“If you’re thinking of getting fitter, losing some weight and generally improving your health, in my opinion the single best fitness machine for you is the Concept 2 Indoor Rower. Throughout my rowing career, it formed one of the main building blocks of my training. No matter how hard I tried, I could never beat it. It never broke and it never let me down. The quality of the machine, the similarity to rowing on the water and the accuracy of the feedback enabled me to attain a level of fitness and mental toughness far beyond anything I had achieved in my early days. It gave me the confidence to take on the world and, well, you know the rest… Now that I’ve retired from competition, my training needs are different. My work and family commitments mean that I have very little time to exercise and, like everybody else, I need to combat the dreaded middle-age spread. I’ve also got a new target as I am aiming to break the world charity fundraising record in the 2006 Flora London Marathon to raise funds for the Steve Redgrave Trust, which is working to improve opportunities for young people across the UK. Yet, despite all these changes, and despite all the pain it has put me through in the past, it’s still the Concept 2 Indoor Rower that I find myself turning to. It’s the best all-round fitness machine in the world, and suitable for anybody, not just international athletes!”

“Because the machine gives you the best workout around, exercising all the major muscle groups, it’s incredibly time efficient, making it possible to have a really good session in just thirty minutes a day. Equally important for me is the fact that it’s weight-bearing and impact-free. At my age, it’s not possible to endlessly pound the streets. If I’m going to line up at the marathon in the best possible shape, it’s the Indoor Rower that’s going to get me there. In no time at all I know I can improve my stamina and shed a few of those extra pounds I’ve put on since retirement.”

“I have known the people from Concept2 for over 25 years now, and it is no surprise to me that they have transformed what was once simply a training machine for rowers into the best fitness machine in the world. The product, the support and the company are all first class. Even though I am rarely going to be in a boat again, the Indoor Rower will still be my training companion for many years to come.” June 2005

Mark Johnston

“I would like to say how important the Concept2 rowing machine has been in improving and maintaining my health, fitness, and mental attitude. I originally purchased the machine from you in 1995 (still in very good order) mainly to use it as a cross trainer for hockey and later running half and full marathons. However as time went by and three young children arrived and house renovations commenced, there was little time for my hockey and running commitments – life changed very quickly. However the Concept2 indoor rower has been a real life saver for me. Not only is it incredibly efficient but more importantly I don’t get the injuries that I was starting to pick up from hockey and running – lets face it I am not getting any younger (42 this year).

Furthermore the incentives on your website and the Concept2 website in the US really keep you going. For the last two years I have done the Annual Christmas Challenge of doing 200,000m from Thanksgiving to Christmas and the other challenges including the Blue Moon Row. Also using Row Pro software adds a new dimension to the indoor rower and I religiously log my meters on the US website as part of the Row Pro team (currently just over 3.5 million metres since 2002). Next goal is 4million and another pair of socks followed by 5m and a T Shirt. Also entered quite a few indoor rowing events organised by Bob Bridge – good fun and another motivator to use the machine.

So how many sessions do I do a week? Four evenings or mornings a week I head off into the garage to hop on the machine – my wife and kids think I am mad. However it is a great time to gather your thoughts, have some real time out to yourself as well as planning the day ahead.

It is also very pleasant, when the evenings get lighter, to look out over the paddock where we live and see the sheep staring at you through the fence in an intrigued manner.

My favourite workout is 5000m consisting of 4 x 500m burst with 750m rest in between. Gets your heart rate up but just enough recovery time in between. However I have improved my times greatly in the last couple of years which has been very rewarding (7.45 – 7.06 for 2000m – trying to break 7.00). When I do longer rows (10,000 metres) I usually listen to the World Service radio/rugby test matches and catch up on the news missed during the day. However I did notice that when listening to the All Blacks vs Australia Rugby Test the last 20 minutes of the game saw my heart rate and ave/500m splits go very high as one was feeling the tension near the end of the game.

The most rewarding part of a workout on the machine is the fact that you feel so good after it and more alert mentally and physically without the impact on your body. I only wish I used it earlier rather than pounding the roads in my early hockey playing years.

To me the Concept2 is not an option, it’s like part of my job. I just do it (sorry about the pun). If I had to decide every day whether I was going to row or not, it would be agonizing. You have to decide what your routine is going to be, and then just do it. Don’t make it an option. You have a brilliant machine.”

Allan Hallberg

Following our interview with enthusiast Marian Deakin in the September 2006 newsletter she pointed us in the direction of Allan Hallberg, another indoor rowing devotee who she said was another interesting character! So we got in touch, and Marion was right.

Allan Hallberg, Waikanae Community Constable, was born in Dunedin 51 years ago and describes himself as “a competitive old bugger” but as well as being a medal winning and world ranked indoor rower, has also been a powerlifter, cyclist, endurance racer and duathlete!

It all started in athletics at the tender age of 12 when Allan found decided early on that running was not his forte. He made the switch to the field events and in time became pretty good at them – winning a New Zealand title for shot putt in 1982. A little later in his twenties and thirties he tried competitive powerlifting and won nine New Zealand titles in Squat, Dead Lift and Total, mainly in the 125kg class. In 1989 Allan finished sixth in the World Championships.

In 1983 Allan came 8th in the cult global competition World’s Strongest Man and was one of only six competitiors to complete a dead lift over the ‘magic’ 1000lb (455kg). After a stint at Tinwald Cycling Club, Allan moved to Waikanae in 1996 and got involved in some endurance races (Taupo, Mt Taranaki and Rotorua to Taupo) and ended up competing in duathlons. Jump forward to 2005 and during training Allan got injured and badly tore a calf muscle and wasn’t able to run for months so he used the rowing machine for warm ups as he could still cycle.

Allan says “after a few weeks I was bragging about a 5km row I had just completed and one of the guys said that there are races for indoor rowing and never being one to shirk from a challenge, I asked how to get into it and I was sent the Concept 2 2000m training schedule.” Allan entered all three distances in 2005: 5,000, 10,000m and the One Hour at the Long Distance Championships and did quite well. His times were pretty good (17mins 36secs, 36mins 09 secs and 16,179m respectively) and he decided to enter two further races and came out with a New Zealand record for the 300m race for 49.1 seconds.

Allan then says “I guess I lost interest in racing and enjoyed sitting on the rower and sweating it out so from October 2005 until February 2006 I would average about 100,000 to 110,000m per week maybe doing three half marathons per week which improved my hour row. I would set myself up with my MP3, fan, drink bottle and just row.” “Then in February 2006 my enthusiasm was rekindled by Marian Deakin who mentioned the CTC Challenge which is an international rowing team challenge with different challenges every month, so I joined the same team as Marian – the “Forum Flyers”. Since 1st May 2005 I have clocked up 7.8 million metres and should reach the big 8 Million by the end of March. I currently average between 80,000m to 90,000m per week with the next target being the Nationals in May, then the Worlds in September. In the world rankings list for 2006/7 I still lead the one hour row with 16,873m, there are a few 2nds (including a half marathon time of 1hr 15mins and 56secs) and 3rds as well and also at the 2007 NZ Masters Games in Wanganui I came second in the 1000m with a personal best of 3m10.8, first in the 500m with 1m 26.8, first in the 300m with 48.4secs (breaking my 2005 New Zealand record) and first in the men’s and mixed pairs so I have had a really good year.”

“I have found rowing to be great for my fitness and weight management while I have been using it. I actually read somewhere, tongue in cheek of course, that it was referred to as ”the poor man’s liposuction”, a great statement. I have also promoted it to others as a great cross trainer for other sporting codes”.

Allan’s advice to anyone starting out in indoor rowing is: “firstly don’t put in a fixed time or distance, set it to “just row”. Secondly, don’t go out too hard as the first few minutes are to get into a rhythm with both the slide and breathing and most of all be relaxed and thirdly, the power comes from the leg drive and not the arm pull. Better still, pick a machine with a flat battery so there is no read out. Sometimes on a long row (one hour plus), I turn the computer away and just work on technique with a slow stroke rate, which works for me”.

When we asked Allan about his 2007 targets, he told us: “They are to improve on all my times. I want to break 6m 30 for the 2km. I haven’t raced this distance since 2005 so it is long overdue, and eventually I want to compete at Boston in 2008/2009”.

Asking Allan how his family feels about him spending so much time on the machine, he says “Both my wife and 14 year old son, Frazer, have got interested in rowing as well. Frazer went with me to the World Champs and won all his races. The kudos he got from school mates especially after the local rag featured an article about him, his self cofidence has grown leaps and bounds. He is quite tall and once made the statement that he didn’t want to stand out, now he stands tall and gets into a lot of other school activities. He joined the music club and is now playing the drums, and there was no way this would have happened last year”

Shaun Quincey

In November 2009, Shaun Quincey embarked on the biggest and longest race of his life, rowing solo from Australia to New Zealand. Inspired by his father, Colin Quincey, who completed the first ever solo Tasman Crossing in 1977, Shaun is the only other person to row the Tasman solo with no assistance.

To prepare for the journey, which covered a distance of 2200km on one of the most treacherous seas in the world, Shaun trained for up to 4 hours daily on the Concept2.

“I am glad I love the sport and my current day to day routine is certainly a test of how much I want to share the accolade with my Father. I am focussing very hard on enjoying the preparation for this adventure and I love it.

Marian Deakin

When Marian Deakin sat on an Indoor Rower for the first time, little over a year ago, she was determined to get in shape and lose some weight.

Twelve months on and the results have been amazing, and proof if it were ever needed that indoor rowing is a fantastic way for anyone of any age or ability to get themselves fighting fit.

Marian had tried other sports like swimming to help her get in shape, but she had been disappointed and decided to try indoor rowing when her local gym organized a million metre row for its members. The early months were successful, but not without some tiring moments.

“On my first row I managed 6km and it nearly killed me!” she explained. “It took me until the December to get to my first million and in that time I lost around five kilos. That was good, but I wasn’t satisfied. I wasn’t really doing it properly as I had been in too high a training band. That’s where the Concept 2 web site really helped. The training plans teach you all about training bands and make the long process of rowing yourself into shape rewarding and enjoyable.”

Marian quickly worked out her ideal training bands and got into a disciplined regime, meeting other people on Concept’s internet forums who were facing their own challenges and sharing ideas and opinions. Now she has an impressive weekly regime, which combined with a healthy diet, is still knocking off the kilos and helping Marian towards her goals.

“I train six days a week, giving my muscles a rest on Sundays. My average distance per day is a little over 12km. I’m a normal woman, not superwoman and I can’t even run a mile before anyone thinks I am leaping tall buildings in my spare time! On the rowing machine though, your metres do mount up, and you can see the calories being burned.

My week is broken into a UT1, AT and TR session- basically light medium and hard sessions – and they then repeat again. The UT1 session is low strokes per minute and low heart rate, the AT a little higher and the TR is a really tough workout for anyone, however fit or unfit they are. The UT1 sessions are designed to burn fat and are based on heart rates. It’s really essential to know about your heart rate training bands if you want to get full benefits of training.

One day I may do six 10 minute sessions at UT1, on another six 6 minute sessions at AT level. There is a 10 minute warm up and warm down routine I always do before and afterwards. And you have to do your stretches to give your muscles a break.”

Marian’s noticed benefits beyond impressive and consistent weight loss too. “Within a month or so my cardiovascular strength improved, I get asthma but I wasn’t getting short of breath at all with the erg. The erg really helps you regulate your breathing as you exercise.

In terms of flexibility, I noticed benefits in a couple of weeks. I’d had a bad injury to the muscles round my coccyx and I’d developed plantar facitiis in my left foot. Within a couple of weeks the pain had gone and if I took more than two days off indoor rowing the pain actually came back. The muscles were obviously being gently stretched and rehabilitated far better than through any physiotherapy I had received in those areas.”

A true devotee of the sport, Marian researches in advance hotels and places to stay that have a Concept 2 machine. “I now look for hotels that have a gym when we go on holiday. Before booking I send them an email asking them if they have an erg in the gym and if it is a Concept machine. We had a lovely hotel in Kuala Lumpur but it had some weird rower – not a Concept, I refused to touch it and my husband hated it and got off after three minutes.”

Marian’s weight loss has been staggering and puts her firmly in Concept 2’s worldwide list of the most successful athletes to use the Indoor Rower as part of their weight loss and weight management programmes. “In terms of weight loss I noticed when I’d lost the first few kilos but the real benefits really came faster when I got on the Concept 2 plan and stuck to it. At this stage I’ve lost 17.5kg since starting on the erg, but the most came off during the summer on the first interactive plan. My plan is to lose another 10kg over the summer months, at the moment I’m more into fitness and maintenance of weight.”

There’s little doubt an athlete as dedicated as Marian will achieve her goals and the final word of advice – for anyone thinking about using indoor rowing to help them lose or manage their weight – comes from Marian.

“Anybody can exercise and the lovely thing about the Concept 2 machine is that you are sat down all the time, it really is low impact and comfortable. The thing with rowing for fitness is it’s all about you – you aren’t in a race with anyone. Start by getting some lessons, I wish I had – it would have saved loads of time having to break bad habits later on. Don’t rush out and buy a Concept 2 after you’ve rowed your first 10 minutes at the gym, put some time in and decide if it is for you before you make the investment. Try one of the C2 interactive plans, you can tailor them to suit your fitness level and the amount of days you can commit to during a week. Show someone your intended plan – by showing it to my husband it made me even more determined to compete it. You will probably feel shattered at the end of the first two weeks, I wanted to sleep-in on my rest day as I was so tired. That feeling passes and you start feeling really good.”

“And stick with it, the only person you are failing if you stop is yourself…..”