What resistance level should I train on a Concept 2?

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What resistance level should I train on a concept 2 rower?

Concept2 Resistance Drag Factor
Concept2 Resistance Drag Factor

Concept 2 ergos have a range of resistance from 1 to 10.

My understanding of the rowing rule of thumb is that women row on resistance 4 and men on 5.  Juniors are on a lower resistance.

BUT the resistance is not the absolute measure – it’s the “Drag Factor” which is calculated by the monitor and so the actual number can vary depending on whether the machine has been serviced and is new or older. 

Here’s a helpful fact sheet wroitten by Concept2 which may help you decide which is the best setting for your needs


In it they say

C2 Drag Factor for Children

  • Year 7 – below 100 to 100 (girls & boys) (use the speed strap to go below 100)
  • Year 8 – 100 (girls) 110 (boys)
  • Year 9 – 105 (girls) 115 (boys)
  • Year 10 – 110-115 (girls) 120-125 (boys)

C2 Drag Factor for Adults

  • Male heavyweight (over 75 kg) – 125-140
  • Male lightweight (under 75 kg) – 120-135
  • Female heavyweight (over 61.5 kg) – 120-130
  • Female lightweight (under 61.5 kg) – 115-125

And this article from US rowing Demystifying the Drag Factor may also help.

In it they say

Of course, the real question rowers want answered is what is the magic number for drag? The answer is there is no magic number. It’s different for everyone. Where you set your drag factor will depend on your own size, weight and conditioning level, as well as the size boat you row.

That said, you should set the drag so the feeling of your drive on the rowing machine is as close to possible as your experience on the water. In general, scullers will need a higher drag due to the slower leg speed on the drive in a single. Those who row in an eight will have a lower drag, reflecting the faster drive speed.

There is specific advice for Masters Rowers C2 Drag Factors

To give masters specific rowers parameters for setting the drag factor, I asked various masters and coaches to share their experiences. Here’s what I learned. A 45+ male lightweight rower told me he rows with a drag of 115-120. He used to row around 130, but as he ages, he’s discovered that he has to watch the stress he puts on his back. A 35+ lightweight male told me he likes to row with low resistance of 100 because it feels more like being on the water and is easier on his back. A 60+ lightweight woman rows  between 100 and 110, and  a 50+ heavyweight woman rows at 120.

If you found this article helpful – it’s a good example of  how Rowperfect helps answer your questions.

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2 thoughts on “What resistance level should I train on a Concept 2?

  1. Emilio Ríos says:

    Hello…first of all i’d like to thank you for your page, it’s nice to find articles by people that know about rowing. I wish you could help me to find the best drag factor. I used to row for my national team as a junior (17-18 years) on January after 4 years of NOT doing sport, I decided to get back to my national team. My first goal is the ergo national championship. I did a test a couple of days ago and did 6:53. If i could go under 6:30 in 3 months time, it would be amazing. I hace donde it before, I know I can do it, but I also need help.

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