The concept of building this device was a brainchild of an Athenian admiral Chabrias who initially built wooden rowing frames for military oarsmen to practice.
Known as "Ergometers", "Erg" or "Ergo", is an indoor rowing machine that helps rowers to measure and improve their performance in the sport of rowing. The machine calibrates the efforts done by rowers and gives an excellent idea of their performance. The invention of this device has built a new kind of sports- indoor rowing. Later in the 1960s, Professor Frank Cotton who was one of the founders of the modern athletic physiological training and testing improved the basic idea of training for the sport by Chabrias and made a first rowing machine. This machine worked on the principle of friction to evaluate the strength of rowers but didn't add elements to measure the power invested by rowers which were added later on. The machine went through various modifications and finally reached to its master state as designed by Concept2, a manufacturing company for rowing equipment. The company introduced their first design in 1980 that also went through significant moderations to make it of the best use for rowers as well as ordinary people to exercise and evaluate their performance.
The rowing machines have various versions amongst which four have often been used- air resistance, piston resistance, magnetic resistance and water resistance. The magnetic resistance rowing machine is preferred over the air resistance rowing machine as it doesn't create noise.
Many advanced software systems have been built so that multiple users can compare their rowing performance simultaneously, either practicing together or at different locations.
When a user takes a stroke by sliding on the seat in the forward direction and pulling the handle near the chest, the speed is calculated, and the decelerating rate is recorded. It also calculates the power and distance covered by the user through software that can be analysed later.
The machine has an energy damper that works on braking mechanism, a flywheel, a foot stretcher, a rail on which the seat slides, and a monitor connected to the machine that gives the output of the performance.
Practicing with the ergometer enables rowers to strengthen their muscles, losing extra calories and increasing the stamina.
Ergometers are approximately 9 feet long, having a flywheel that creates resistance whenever any user pulls on the handle.