Table of Contents
ErgMonitor (EM) is a fully functional Monitoring and diagnostic tool designed for use with the Concept 2 Indoor Rower.
EM allows a new or experienced Athlete to get a variety of feedback that can be used to tune and optimize their performance whether they are a Water Rower, Indoor Rower, or both.
In any sport there will be a particular technique that will be optimal for those engaging in it. While the outward appearance of achieving this optimal technique may be different, the appearance is a matter of style, but the best application of resources, as seen in force-time curves to get the best efficiency has been mostly something that the eye of an experienced coach was needed for, until now. Coaches will benefit by being able to quickly match athletes based on similarities usually found in seat racing, saving time and stress.
By using the wide range of features included in EM a user can now see clearly how they are going about applying their resources to the problem at hand, namely increasing fitness and putting it to use in an efficient and effective manner. They can then measure this against their own experience and feelings to come up with a model that suits them best.
For guidance, we will provide information that has been gleaned from more than 20 years of Personal Rowing and Coaching experience, but that experience draws heavily from those that have gone before, all the way back to the late 1800’s when some very sharp people were working out the details of how to move racing shells on water. Through today’s computer technology you will have at your fingertips, information they could only imagine, and they did a quite remarkable job of imagining.
Well enough of this… Let’s get to setting you up, and getting some of this Whiz-Bang technology working for you.
Download the ErgMonitor Installer.zip file from www.ps-sport.net. Extract the files to a temporary location and run the setup.exe program. Windows Installer will start. Read the information on the Welcome screen. Click Next.
Select an installation folder where you would like to install the ErgMonitor program files on the next window. Click Next.
Click Next to confirm the installation. The installation copies in the ErgMonitor executable to the location you selected and places the sample workouts in the same directory tree in the samples\workouts directory. It also places a shortcut to ErgMonitor on your desktop and a shortcut to ErgMonitor in an ErgMonitor program group in your Start menu Programs group.
The application is now installed, but you need to run the application to complete the registration. Click on your Start button, go to your Programs Folder, go to the ErgMonitor Program Group, and click on the ErgMonitor menu item. ErgMonitor will come up with a Welcome to ErgMonitor registration window.
Enter your 16 digit software key that was e-mailed to you. If you do not have a software key or the key that you have expired, then go to www.ps-sport.net and request a new software key.
After you enter the software key, please read the statements confirming that you agree with the conditions of the license. If you agree with the conditions, then check them off and click on the “I Agree” button.
Better yet: Read the Agreement points here so you will not be surprised.
"I accept full and sole responsibility for the installation and use of this software, my training and physical performance. I will not blame or seek compensation from the creators or distributors of this software for my failing to recognize my own limitations and train within safe limits."
"I understand that I have purchased a license to use this software and I do not own the software (code) itself. This license allows me to install this software on one computer for my use, my family's use, and occasional use from those outside of my family."
"I will not steal this software. I am allowed to install a single instance of this software under this license. If I install it or allow it to be installed on other computers, I understand that is, "stealing it."
"If I am a coach or part of a group of rowers, I understand that I can install this on one computer. I will not install it on multiple computers. Furthermore, I will only allow my group members to use this license for occasional benchmarking tests and not for regular training. If a member wants to use it for regular training, I will refer them to obtain a license of their own for this software."
"I understand that software development is an extremely complex process and some bugs may exist in this software. If I find a bug, or think I have found one I will report the bug to the authors so they can fix it."
ErgMonitor will now come up with a new default workout template…
1) PC Running Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, or Windows XP Pro. It may work on other Windows platforms, however until further testing occurs they will not (cannot) be supported.
2) Sound card with Microphone input.
3) Appropriate connectors and cabling: See “Hardware List”
Parts available from Radio Shack
Radio Shack Parts (Cabling):
A) 274-328 – 3/32 Mono Female to 1/8 Mono Male
B) 42-2472A – 6Ft Mono Extension Cable (one or more of these)
Substitute parts list: (Radio Shack seems to have less of the Mono parts lately)
A) 274-398 – 3/32 Mono Female to 1/8 Stereo Male
B) 42-2562 – 20’ 1/8” Stereo Extension cable
Model D Specific: (So far this works with Desktop computers, but not reliably with Notebooks.)
A) 274-397 – 3/32 Stereo Female to 1/8 Stereo Male
B) 42-2495 – Airline Y-Splitter (Red lead is the signal to the microphone input. White is voltage – DO NOT USE)
C) 42-2472A – 6Ft Mono Extension Cable (one or more of these)
Note: More than one 6-foot extension may be needed to reach your computer.
Part A plugs into Part B
The Plug from the back of your PM will plug into Part A
Part B (long cable) will plug into the Microphone jack of your sound card. (Model D: Red lead to Extension Cable)
It’s all pretty obvious when the parts are in hand.
HINT: Get a couple of rubber bands to wrap around the monitor arm and hold the cable assembly in place, no need to have it swinging down in your way. Make sure that the cable does not come in contact with the chain or handle while rowing.
Once you’re all hooked up there are a few settings that need to be looked after, find your volume controls for the sound card, particularly the one related to the Microphone and Recording Mode. Often, a speaker icon is in the tool tray on the lower right of your screen or you can go to Control Panel from the Start Menu and find the sound settings. Set the Sound Recording Volume to a middle value and also look in the Advanced settings and check the Boost Box if it is not already done.
You’re now ready to give this thing a whirl…
Run EM and a Workout Setup Screen will appear. (Default 500M workout)
For your first go at this we want to make sure that everything is working so Click on the Start button, The Data Monitor will be displayed. Now pull a few strokes, if METERS and TIME start counting keep on rowing for about 100M while paying attention to the Force curve, you are looking to see that a smooth curve is produced and it is consistent each stroke, wild variations (spikiness) will mean that an adjustment to the Microphone Volume settings will be required. It can be too high or too low; so some tuning may be required the first time on a new system. If you start by going to Max volume with boost that may clear everything up, if that doesn’t seem to do it leave the volume up and turn off the boost. Close the Data Monitor (Do not save, no reason to) prior to making volume changes, clicking on [Start] will bring up a new Data Monitor for the next try.
The common Microphone Volume settings that seem to work best are:
If EM is not responding at all with those three configurations, the problem is going to be harder to nail down. Please check the following things:
· If you were able to get a sound signal and EM is not working, you need to get the latest version of DirectX from Microsoft. ErgMonitor uses DirectX DirectSound from Microsoft. The DSOUND.DLL file is supposedly operation system specific, therefore we do not include it with the installation package. You can get the latest DirectX runtime from Microsoft at the following link: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/default.aspx?url=/windows/directx/downloads/default.htm
EM is a very precise Monitoring tool and our testing has shown some differences between it and the PM2, there are a couple reasons for this and only PM2 Times should be considered “Official” at this time. (The differences noted have been no more than 0.1%, about 1 second in 30 minutes.) The reasons for this are that ErgMonitor does not use the same Drag Factor calculation as the PM2 as the actual calculation of Drag Factor in the PM2 is not known outside of Concept 2. We chose to use as much precision as was practical and this results in some variation from the PM2. Logging EM times is completely valid since there is absolutely no unfair advantage incurred (i.e. the times are closer to the PM2 than those that can happen with the PM1 and those are allowed). Even PM2’s can vary slightly from one to another, but that variance has been defined as negligible by C2.
Well, ready to have some fun? Okay, let’s set up an example workout.
Select File > New Workout (Or “Open Workout” if one of the sample workouts is desired, there is one for all the standard C2 distances and a few extras)
Here is where you get to exercise a lot of control over what type of workout you want to do.
This is a list of the Intervals included in the workout, a workout may consist of a single interval or many intervals with rest periods in-between, you can be as elaborate as you like, but let’s start out simple and build from there.
When a segment number is highlighted its properties can be modified in the lower half of the setup window.
HINT: You can make mass changes by selecting multiple segments by holding the shift or control key down while you click on the other segments.
Interval – A workout for a set time or distance
Type – Select if the segment should be labeled as Work, Rest, or Warm-up/Cool-down
Start Option – Determines when the Timer starts, either on the first drive of a segment or immediately.
Splits – Sets the points at which you would like Avg Splits to be recorded for distance and/or Time periods. If you uncheck the checkboxes, the split will not be shown in the Pacing View.
Target – This allows you to set a target Pace and/or Stroke Rate (and ratio). If the check mark is selected, the Data Monitor will give various indicators of being on or off pace for the workout. If you uncheck the Stroke Rate checkbox, the Stroke Metronome will not be shown in the Pacing View.
Since we are just getting started, let’s set up a simple workout that uses many of the features to get familiarized with them.
For this workout we decide that a series of fixed distance intervals is going to be done after an initial warm-up, and we would like to record timed splits for each interval distance.
1K Warm-up, 3 x 1K @ Target pace of 2:00, with 1 minute rest; record 50M splits.
Select the default segment
Check the Distance Box and enter 1000 (Warm-up Interval Distance)
Select the Warm-up Type
Select the On Drive start option
Select Distance Splits and enter 50M
Unselect Time Splits
Unselect Target Pace and Stroke Rate
Click the Copy button (since the interval is also 1K this will save some time by having some of the information we already want)
Select the Work Type
Select the On Drive start option
Select Distance Splits and enter 50M
Unselect Time Splits
Select Target Pace and enter 2:00
Unselect Stroke Rate
Click the [Copy] Button twice to make two copies of this work interval. (Total = 3)
Click [Add New] button
Select the Time Interval and enter 1:00
Select the Rest Type
Select the immediately start option
Unselect Distance Splits
Unselect Time Splits
Unselect Target Pace and Stroke Rate
Click the [Copy] Button once to make a copy of this rest interval. (Total = 2)
Click the [Move up] button to place the Rest segment between the first and second work intervals.
Select the lower Rest interval and then click the [Move up] button to place the Rest segment between the second and third work intervals.
On the right you will notice various fields that will show your projected Time or Distances based on the segments you have defined. Also you can tell the program if you are using a Model B or C Ergometer. A Model C Indoor Rower has 14 Sprocket teeth, The Model B has either 13 or 15, and all that is required is seeing that it is right for your setup.
Now you are ready to save this workout: If you click [Start] you will be asked for a file name. Give it a meaningful name so that you can recall it for later use. i.e. “3x1Kx1min” come to mind.
Hint: A longer continuous workout is simply an Interval workout with a single Interval.
The Data Monitor/Power Plot View is now displayed and should look somewhat familiar, though at first glance it resembles the cockpit data displays of a Boeing 747.
Take a moment to look at it and notice that the Upper Right quarter is similar to what you are used to seeing on your PM2. The lower Right half has the rest of the ‘geeky’ data that might be of interest for the nuttiest among us.
Adjust the Size of the Display so that the items you wish to see are large enough to be viewed easily. (I maximize it to the full screen size)
Now for the Left side, how about a “real time” graph of your stroke power curve? Torque and Watts will be the default units that will be plotting on the graph as you row. Customizing the Power Plot is an option, if you want to see what some of the options are, Press F4 to display the Options Dialog; there are a lot of things to choose from on this screen, but you want to get to this workout so click [OK] to save time for now. Later you will learn how to create a New Scheme and set it as the Default.
Finally you are ready to Row – Don’t worry, all of this setup will take a lot less time next go round, unless of course you really get involved with setting up a complicated Power Plot.
Take your seat and start rowing.
The meters will begin to count down from 1000 as you go through the Warm-up distance. The haystack shaped curve is the force that you are generating, the greater the area under that curve the faster your pace will be (for a given Stroke Rate), Play around a little with how you are applying power and see how the various shapes you create effect the 500M Pace. The Displayed pace is updated at the catch so is a direct reflection of the curve you watched during the previous stroke. By paying strict attention to the shape of the curve for one stroke, then viewing the displayed pace during the next stroke, you will come to see the pattern where you are most efficient and effective. We chose to update at the catch (Different from the normal PM2) because it makes it more obvious when a rushed recovery is responsible for a faster Displayed Pace rather than a more powerful Drive.
As you approach 0 meters (Warm-up ending) get ready for the first rest period to start, the timer will count down from 1:00, as it approaches 0 get ready to Row the first 1K interval at the 2:00 target Pace, Row! When 1K is completed, the timer will again count down during the rest Period. You can row during the rest Period (Active Rest) or actually stop if you like. If active rest is desired, generally the Rest period will be set up in Meters rather than time, this of course forces us to keep rowing rather than stop and rest.
The lower left display of the Data Monitor will show Intervals Done and Intervals Remaining to target. After the 3rd interval is complete the workout will end automatically.
The Power Plot view is a lot of fun as well as being a useful tool. It provides a real-time picture of what is being accomplished during the stroke.
There are several units that can be mixed and matched in whatever creative way is desired:
The Power Plot view is highly configurable through a setup screen that is accessed by hitting [F4] (for options) or using the View->Options menu item. If the menu option is disabled, click on the power plot area to enable it.
This selection box allows you to save/recall various configurations that you have customized for the Power Plot View.
This allows for the selection of a distance or time scale for the data to be plotted against. There is also an option to turn on an estimated Stroke Phase Guide by estimating the 4 phases of blade function, that when compared against the power curve, will be useful to a coach in evaluating the effectiveness of the rower and help to train any changes that they feel necessary. The plot against Velocity may be the first visual representation of “The perfect search for the endless stroke”.
Allows selection of units that you wish to view.
Displays the list of units that will be plotted, and the ability to specify color and scale for each of the units.
Place a Numeric scale for the selected unit on the left side of the plot.
Place a Numeric scale for the selected unit on the right side of the plot.
Sets the Maximum value for the selected unit.
HINT: The default max values are set pretty high, you may want to play with the maximum so that the plot takes up about 80% of the Y-Axis for your particular plot. This is probably best performed when reviewing your workout after you are finished.
The color with which the real-time plot will be drawn for the selected unit.
The color that will replace the Draw color when a new stroke begins.
This marks the point of release, along the selected unit.
Left and Right Y-axis will display the scales for the Plotted units. Labels are the same color as the Draw Color for the unit they represent.
The X-axis is either Distance in centimeters or Time in seconds (The defaults should be adequate, but there may be a case where a longer scale is needed) The Aspect ratio remains locked so that the nature of the curve maintains integrity when being re-sized. This is very important for accurate analysis.
These lines are useful for using as reference markers during analysis, by comparing intersection points, subtle differences in power application can be seen.
Boat Speed – The velocity of your “Virtual boat”, this is not representative of how a real boat would move through the water, but we are working on a model for that.
RPM – Flywheel Revolutions per minute.
Watts – The value of energy being absorbed by the flywheel.
Handle Speed – The handle speed in centimeters/second.
Force/Distance and Force/Time curves are critical for determining the efficiency of power application. While peak forces represent a lot of power, the area under the curve represents the total amount of work.
Handle Force – The actual pounds or kilograms of force pulling on the chain.
Torque – Torque being applied to the cog in Newton Meters.
Drag Torque – Torque resistance supplied by the flywheel due to Drag, in Newton Meters.
Net Torque – (Torque – Drag Torque) This shows where the flywheel is accelerating (positive values) and where the flywheel is decelerating (negative values). It is useful for identifying Catch completion and the Finish location.
Torque/Sec – A unit achieved by dividing Torque by the interval between data points in seconds.
TorqueJoule – A derived value from Torque (Nm) * Watts (Joules/sec) * interval between data points (sec), the seconds unit cancels leaving a pure Force unit on a similar scale with Torque/Sec.
The Data Monitor is the main area to examine stroke and workout data in a numerical format, it has everything we are used to seeing plus a few things that will be new.
Stroke Rate – Displays Current Stroke Rate
Avg Stroke Rate – Displays running average stroke rate
Stroke Number – Displays Total Stroke Count for the entire workout
Time – Displays Elapsed Time for a Distance Interval Workout. It acts as a Remaining time display for Timed Interval Workouts.
Meters – Displays Meters rowed for the Timed Interval workouts. Displays meters remaining for Distance Interval workouts.
500M Pace – Displays the time it would take to cover 500M if each stroke were identical to the one just completed.
Avg Pace – Running average Pace
Target Pace – Displays Specified Target Pace, or calculated Target Pace if Time
Projected Time – Displays Time that it will take to cover the Target Distance at the current average Pace.
Target Time – Displays the Specified Interval Time, or calculated Target time if a Distance and Pace were specified during workout set up.
Projected Meters – Displays the number of meters that will be covered at the current average Pace for a Timed Interval workout.
Target Distance – Displays the Specified Interval Distance, or calculated Target distance if a Time and Pace were specified during workout setup.
Stroke Power index – Displays SPI. (Avg Watts/Stroke Rate)
Avg SPI – Displays the running average value for the Stroke Power Index.
Drive: Recovery – Displays the ratio of Drive time and recovery time, Drive time always being 1.
Avg Ratio - Displays the running average value for Drive: Recovery ratio.
Meters/Stroke – Displays the number of meters covered by the completed stroke.
Avg Meters/Stroke – Displays the running average number of meters covered per stroke.
Drive Length – Displays the Length of the Drive for the current stroke.
Avg Drive Length – Displays the running average Length of the Drive.
Speed (m/s) – Displays average “virtual boat” speed for the current stroke.
Avg Speed – Displays running average “virtual boat” speed.
Watts – Displays Average watts for the current stroke.
Avg Watts – Displays running average watts.
Drag Factor – Displays current Drag Factor
Avg Drag Factor – Displays running average Drag Factor
On Target Indicators – If you turn on pacing or targets in the Workout Setup window, several colored indicators will be enabled and will give you indications of whether or not you are on target. The conventions of all the colored indicators are:
· Green is good. You are within tolerance of the metric.
· Yellow means that you are being warned that you are off target
o A green indicator with a yellow stripe means that you are on the right side of the metric, but you are out of tolerance.
o A yellow indicator pointing either up or down (Stroke Rate) is pointing away from the target you set.
· Red means that you are really off target.
o A green indicator with a red stripe means that you are on the right side of the metric, but you are way out of tolerance.
o A red indicator pointing either up or down (Stroke Rate) is pointing away from the target you set.
Metronome - Displays a metronome for pacing if a Target Stroke Rate was specified. The metronome is turned on and off with the Target Stroke rate checkbox in the Workout Setup screen.
Distance Split (split distance) - Displays the elapsed time to cover the most recently completed Custom Split Distance. The Distance Splits are turned on and off with the Distance Split checkbox in the Workout Setup Screen.
Time Split (split time) - Displays the number of meters covered in most recently completed Custom Split time. The Time Splits are turned on and off with the Time Split checkbox in the Workout Setup Screen.
Current Segment - Displays progress through the current segment.
Workout - Graphically represents the Intervals Done and Intervals Remaining. If the workout consists of only one segment, the Workout pacing information is not shown since it would be redundant. Data in the metrics controls is only for Work segments (NOT Rest or Warm-up/Warm-Down segments).
Numerical data is provided for precise representations of how close you are to target pacing.
The Text Log is a very useful utility for extracting data about your workout to Excel for further analysis. We tried to place the information that is important while rowing on the Data Monitor, but since many, many more data metrics can be calculated, we thought we would make the raw data available to you. Information junkies should more than get their fill with this view of the data.
The Text Log is accessed through the View->Text Log menu item. The setup screen comes up automatically. To bring up the setup screen you can hit [F4], use the View->Options menu, or click on the Options button on the toolbar. Once the data is extracted to the text view, you can select it, copy it to the clipboard and paste it into Excel.
Data Type – Either Spike (the individual sensor readings), Stroke, Split, Segment, or Workout.
Select Current Data – Filters the data for the selected metrics to minimize the amount of data extracted. This checkbox is only available for Spikes (selects the spike data for the current stroke in the Data Monitor View) and Strokes (selects the stroke level metrics for just the current stroke in the Data Monitor View).
Available Fields – Lists the available metrics. A brief description of the field is shown at the bottom of the screen when a single item is highlighted.
Selected Fields – The metrics that will be extracted to the Text log. A brief description of the field is shown at the bottom of the screen when a single item is highlighted.
This will be an area where coaches will be making decisions based on their own philosophies of how a stroke should be completed, and then set about to apply those ideas to mold their athletes into the form that can accomplish that goal. Getting rowers to take the same amount of time or distance per stroke, when rowing together is critical to putting together a well-matched boat. Many flaws can be forgiven if everyone is doing them precisely together.
To sum up a rowing stroke in the fewest words: (From the Catch)
Accelerate to maximum pressure as smoothly and quickly as possible, hold that pressure to the finish, release cleanly, don’t screw up the run on recovery, and repeat.
With a particular amount of work in mind (Target Pace), the “ideal” shape would be a square wave, instant acceleration – hold – instant release, recover and repeat. This would mean that no extra high pressures would have to be obtained and the entire length of stroke would be used to maximum capacity. Obviously this is not possible (and as luck would have it, not Optimal), we just don’t do things instantly. (The Physicists and Mathematicians are screaming at me right now, but the Engineers are not having as big a fit, accepting my loose use of terms in relative, rather than absolute meaning.)
The Force Curve is going to be somewhat rounded because we simply need a bit of time to get up to speed, it will also peak at some point, where the Athlete puts in their most concerted effort against the handle, and then fall off since we run out of room and the pressure established at the peak will exceed what the smaller muscles can maintain.
It is fairly well accepted that an early onset of power is best, to take advantage of the efficiency of the oar, accelerate the Boat/Rower system quickly, hold that system speed, then release, recover, repeat. Maintain a higher Average speed than the other crews, and you will cross the finish line first.
Getting a “Good catch” will have to be left to the coach to teach, on the erg this is easy, since the chain will not stretch or slip, but the discussion must take a fork at this point separating what will be good for Water Rowing, and what will be good for Erging. While the majority of successful Erg competitors have water backgrounds, and water technique can be applied well to the Erg, it is not necessarily “The Best” way to approach Erging Only. I know this is blasphemy to the water rowers, but don’t worry, the most efficient Erg technique will make them very easy to keep track of on the water (Read – they will be easy to see because you will be looking at their backs.) Water Rowers should continue to work on water technique when Erging, as it can be easily abandoned in favor of Erg Technique for an Erg Competition, but practicing Erg Technique will lead to a degrading of skill needed for the primary concern of moving a boat.
If you have no intention of ever trying your hand on the water, don’t bother with getting too technical about this whole Erging bit, you’ve got no oar to deal with, no boat to balance, and the only way to get soaking wet is to sweat it out of your body. A couple key points will get you started right and you can tune it all up along the way.
1) Get your body into a strong position before applying pressure to the handle.
2) Use the Largest and strongest muscles first (Legs), to accelerate the flywheel quickly, then proceed to the smaller muscle groups to keep the flywheel moving.
3) Maintain posture to minimize the risk of injury. Would you lift 50+ pounds by bending over at the waist? Well don’t do it on the Erg either, it’s more weight than that and you will be doing it hundreds of times in a workout.
4) Work on maintaining a sense of ratio, so that your Recovery takes longer than your drive, when racing they will come closer to a 1:1.5, but train around 1:2.5 and focus on smooth power application.
5) Achieve faster Paces by increasing pressure, not by decreasing recovery time.
Use the Power Plot View and try to get a “haystack” shaped curve, the flatter the top of the haystack the more efficient your stroke is. By observing the shape of the curve and the Displayed pace, it will soon become apparent that sometimes what “feels” hard is not necessarily getting you a better pace.
Water Only? Yeah sure, your coach doesn’t make you Erg, right.
Here is where you finally find out what that problem with getting the boat moving may well be. And if you are part of a Crew, figure out how to get everyone on the same page with power application, so that there is no counter-productive “hard work” going on in the boat.
The first thing to know is that while testing yourself on the Erg, you must imagine and do everything exactly as you would in a boat, no room for sloppiness or doing things that are Ergsclusive if you want to get meaningful feedback.
Come up with some consistent protocol to run rowers through, while longer pieces can be recorded for analysis, the time to have each one complete a 6K may not be available.
Athlete should be well warmed up so they are not at risk when pulling at race pace.
1) Set up a single interval of 300M
2) Instruct the Rower on what they are going to be doing
a. They should maintain exact water technique (power application and timing), within the constraints of the Erg of course. Imagine being in a boat. They can even close their eyes, you will tell them when to stop anyway.
b. First 5 strokes to get things moving, no more than half power
c. Next 5 strokes to build to sustainable race pressure
d. 10 strokes at steady race pressure, striving to be exact in form.
e. Finish out the remaining meters, building to as much pressure as might be done in the final sprint of a race.
3) Save the file with the Rowers Name, the date and time will be automatically part of the file name.
Repeat the process for all of your rowers; each test takes about two minutes and even less if your next rower is ready to go right away, a group briefing can speed the process up also. The files will be there to analyze later.