Did you know that 66% of Americans play video games and only 23% exercise regularly? With its game-based approach to fitness, the Ergatta Rower seeks to close that gap. Instead of using the instructor-led workouts that many other home rowers use (including the Echelon Row-S, Peloton Row, and Hydrow), the Ergatta features video game-style workouts, similar in Rower Rowing, which allow you to compete. against yourself or other rowers for points, chips or winnings
Like other rowers on the market, the Ergatta requires a monthly membership fee of $29, or $319 off per year. This gives you access to the full library of rowing workouts, plus 40 new workouts every month, plus new programs to choose from.
How does this game-based approach to rowing measure up? I tested the Ergatta for two weeks to find out.
If you’re looking to add a rowing machine to your home gym, the Ergatta is probably the best looking piece of equipment you’ll find. A sleek water-based rower crafted from cherry wood, it’s compact, easy to fold up when not in use, but most importantly, provides a super competitive rowing experience for any type of rowing enthusiast. ‘exercise.
This is one of their selling points, and the Ergatta is indeed a fine machine. Crafted from cherry wood, it looks more like a stylish piece of furniture than exercise equipment. With a small footprint of just over 7 feet long and just under 2 feet wide, it’s very easy to fold up the screen arm and put the rower on the end for storage without any hassle. additional room required. Which is good news for those who live in smaller spaces.
The Ergatta is a WaterRower, like the Vortex VX3, which means it uses what’s called a WaterFlyWheel to replicate the feeling of rowing on water. The mechanics include a water reservoir that sits at the front of the machine, connected to a paddle and then to your handle (if that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same rower used at OrangeTheory and CityRow ). And if you’re wondering, no, the water never needs to be changed and Ergatta even includes purification tablets that you drop into the tank every six to 12 months.
When you row, the paddle spins and the water generates resistance. The more powerful your punches, the easier it is. While rowers who use other types of resistance are comfortable on their own, rowing the Ergatta using water resistance feels great on your body. Also, I liked that it’s impossible to set the resistance too high, which could force you to remove the handle with bad shape.
One of the most frustrating aspects of exercising at home, all by yourself, is never knowing if you’re working hard enough to see results — or at least as hard as you would in a gym or a class surrounded by other competitive rowers.
The Ergatta solves this liability problem. When setting up your profile, you will be asked to row 1,000 meters to calibrate your fitness level. Ergatta will then create four custom intensity zones around which all your solo workouts will be structured (your fitness level will also be used to select your competition for community workouts, like races). This makes it impossible to skimp on effort – in some training formats, your interval timer will stop even if you fall outside of the designated zone, whether you’re going too hard or not hard enough. And in case you start to feel a little too comfortable with your workouts, the Ergatta automatically stores all your workout information and uses it to recalibrate your fitness level every 20 sessions or so. Just to keep you honest (and sweaty).
During setup, there’s also a robust and detailed set of introductory videos that break down proper rowing technique and all the steps you’ll use during workouts, which is great for new rowers and newcomers alike. Ergatta users. look alike. While I think the Ergatta workouts are well suited for current or former competitive athletes like me, I enjoyed all of the introductory information. The creators know that almost everything about Ergatta (the physical rowing, the structure of the game-based workouts) is brand new to most people, and they take the time to make sure you feel up to it. comfortable before you start.
Many workouts on the Ergatta, from solo workouts to community races, are just high-intensity interval training in disguise. To get the study-proven benefits of this popular form of exercise, you’re supposed to push yourself as hard as you can for short bursts, then rest in between – that’s precisely how running workouts are structured. .
A 4500m race was split into five stages of 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 1000m and 500m with rest in between, while a 900m race was split into 150m stages. m, 200m, 250m and 300m. And here’s the fun part: you race against real people, next to each other on an on-screen track, moving forward or backward as you go. There are four live race times per week, but if you can’t get there in real time, you can always compete on demand against virtual rowers (who have already finished the race).
I’m not one of the 66% of Americans who play video games, but I know the curved, swooping racetrack will be recognizable to people who have played a racing game. And meter markers along the route alert you to how far you’ve covered and how far you have left in each stage. Plus, the machine is smart enough to select participants closest to your fitness level, so every race is competitive.
These game-like races pushed me to exercise more, and it was amazing to cross the finish line first (woo hoo!) on my first try. So awesome, in fact, that I forgot that I also just finished a high level HIIT workout. And let’s face it, that’s what most of us hope for when we try to fit exercise into our busy days.
Although the Ergatta rower looks and feels great, I didn’t like the footrests, which are too close together (much closer than a more traditional rower). As someone with flat feet and a history of knee issues, I found this uncomfortable, and I suspect others with knee issues or minimal hip flexibility might experience the same.
The handle is also shorter than most rowers; a narrower grip makes it slightly more difficult to engage through your lats (the large upper back muscles that good rowing form dictates you use) as opposed to pulling with your shoulders and arms. And, while not a dealbreaker, the seat is cramped and sadly cushionless.
There are a number of fun and engaging rowing training formats on the Ergatta. In addition to racing, I particularly like the new Vortex game, where you collect tokens based on how hard you row and compete against other users. And if you’re not sure what type of workout to do on any given day, the Ergatta also offers Push programs, which are goal-oriented programs with up to 50 sequential workouts to take the guesswork out of the bet. fit your exercise regimen. . But while most workouts include a warm-up and cool-down, there’s currently no stretching routine on the rower to do post-workout.
Also missing here are floor workouts, which are available through monthly subscriptions from other rowers like the Echelon Row-S and Peloton Row, and boot camp style workouts that move between the floor and the rower. And I had to dig through the library to find workouts that used all four intensity zones, which are just more varied workouts with endurance and intervals, as opposed to just two zones like interval training .
That said, rowing workouts are challenging and interesting. But the Ergatta will never replace all your training needs.
There are two visual formats for solo Ergatta interval-based workouts: Pulse and Meteor. Pulse’s appearance is simple: the screen is divided into four sections which represent the four intensity zones and a rotating circle moves through the zones to show you which one you are in, but it keeps you on the right way and in your intensity zones. . Personally, I was not a fan of Meteor; I wear glasses for reading and working on my computer (but not for exercising) and the ball whizzing across the screen with a tail of little dots was a bit fuzzy and unpleasant to look at.
The Ergatta compares most closely to the Aviron Rower ($2,199) which also uses game-based workouts. It is slightly more expensive in price ($2,499) and monthly subscription ($25 vs. $29 ), but the Ergatta is a foot shorter and packs down smaller, plus it’s much more attractive and offers the optimum resistance to water.
Rowers like the Echelon Row-S ($1,599), Hydrow ($2,495), and Peloton Row ($3,195) offer instructor-led workouts, which are a completely different exercise experience. But it’s worth noting that for a little more per month in membership fees ($35, $38, and $44, respectively), they offer a plethora of other workout formats besides rowing.
The Ergatta is probably the most beautiful piece of exercise equipment you can find, although in a few cases it prioritizes sleek looks over ergonomics. Add in the engaging and smart ways that compel the user to train in intervals through fun game-based workouts like Races and Vortex, and it can be a great addition to any home gym.
Although it offers a solid set of introductory material for the beginning rower, the workouts are tough; even though the intensity zones are customized, I could see it being disheartening for beginners to repeatedly come in last or fall out of the designated zone.
But for the player looking to change up their training routine or the bored ex-athlete who needs to scratch that itch, they need look no further: Ergatta is everything.
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