What is the Damper Setting, and how does it affect my rowing?

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What is the damper setting C2 Rower

Knowing how the damper setting works will improve your performance.

We have all seen it, a WOD like “Fight Gone Bad” or “The Ghost” which calls for Calorie Rowing is on the program, and before you can say “Holy Myth and Misinformation, Batman!” every damper setting in site has been set to 10.

Makes sense right? A setting of 10 on the C2 will make you work hard and give you the best workout, so it must be the best way to get steady calories.

In reality, a damper setting of between 3 and 5 is actually going to give you a “better” more efficient workout.

The damper is the lever located on the right hand side of the C2 Flywheel housing. It controls how much air flows into the cage. But, lets take it back a step and explain what is actually happening when you row on the C2.

Too many people think of a C2 as a rower, so relate how they row to how you would actually row a boat. The C2 is actually an Ergometer, which means an apparatus which measures work or energy expended during a period of physical exercise.

So its not water that provides the resistance (This should NOT be a surprise!) but air. If you take a look inside the large cylinder at the business end of the C2 you will see the Flywheel. This is what you are moving each time you pull back on the handles and move the chain out of the housing. Flywheels are designed to stop themselves. Slowing this deceleration is how distance and general “work” are measured. To make matters worse, the faster you can spin that wheel, the more resistance is produced.

So back to the damper, the more air that is allowed to flow into the housing, a greater resistance is generated. Meaning a setting of 10 allows the maximum amount of air into the housing, causing more resistance and also slowing the Flywheel at a greater rate. This leads to you having to work even harder on your next stroke to keep the speed up. This can also be affected by the cleanliness and age of the C2 you are using. Excess dust in the housing will reduce airflow and have a negative effect.

Viewing your Drag Factor and choosing the right Damper Setting:

Drag Factor is a measure of fan load, so you can put down the eyeliner boys! To view the Drag Factor on the C2, and to then set the damper level which best suits you follow these simple steps:

  1. On the Main Menu, select “More Options”
  2. Select “Display Drag Factor”
  3. Begin rowing at a steady pace, after a few strokes the Performance Monitor will display your Drag Factor.
  4. For the majority of the population, you should be aiming for a Drag Factor between 120-130, if you are a larger athlete, you may comfortably maintain a reading above 130. Adjust the Damper setting by raising or lowering the lever until you reach your desired level.

Following this simple procedure will improve your rowing in WOD’s and Time Trials. Using the correct Drag Factor will help you focus on good technique and will help prevent injuries caused by rowing at too high a Drag Factor.

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