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Cycling watts vs. erg watts
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Just curious -- since I've been doing a bit of work on the erg just for cross-training -- does anyone know what the relationship between watts on the erg and watts on the road is? How accurate/precise do you think the watt readings on the erg are? Any former rowers out there?

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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [BoyWithACoin] [ In reply to ]
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>does anyone know what the relationship between watts on the erg and watts on the road is? How accurate/precise do you think the watt readings on the erg are? Any former rowers out there?

I believe the Watts on a Concept II are very accurate. As in lab accurate. Though it's measured a little differently - drag on the flywheel vs. force of input (e.g. deflection-based measurement like on bikes).

I'm not sure what the relationship is. Though I think my 6 minute Watts are just a little lower rowing than cycling. By best 2K time was at about 435W, and and my power curve says my 6 min power on the bike is 460W. A lot of is efficiency-based I'm sure. I was a (backdoor brag) very technically sound rower with years and years experience. A newer rower is probably less efficient.
Last edited by: trail: Nov 26, 13 20:08
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [trail] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks! That was really helpful. Erg has been great cross-training, but my numbers on it sound low. Probably at least in part due to technique, like you said, and part due to muscle specific stuff too.

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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [BoyWithACoin] [ In reply to ]
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BoyWithACoin wrote:
Just curious -- since I've been doing a bit of work on the erg just for cross-training -- does anyone know what the relationship between watts on the erg and watts on the road is? How accurate/precise do you think the watt readings on the erg are? Any former rowers out there?

I was going to ask this same question about a week ago. I did a 2K in 6:36 last week at ~170lbs and I think my avg watts for the 2K were right around 350, if memory serves me correctly and if I was looking at the right numbers. I was also a somewhat efficient rower back in the day, making it to a couple national team training camps in Princeton in the early 2000s. My 5-minute power on the bike is currently 405w. Maybe Rapp can chime in if he knows anything about the relationship.

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Steve Johnson
DARK HORSE TRIATHLON |
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [trail] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
best 2K . . . . 6 min . . . . (backdoor brag) . . . . .very technically sound rower with years and years experience.

Ya think?? 6:00 2k is damn legit. Nice! :-)
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [kmill23] [ In reply to ]
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When I was rowing on college ('96-'00) my coaches never really focused on watts. It was 2k and 5k times and your weight. Out on the water it was lots of seat racing to determine boats. My 2k erg PR was 6:36 as a lightweight. Not sure I could even pull a 7:00 now! My 5 min watts tested at 408 earlier this season. Not really sure on the correlation, though.


Blog: http://262toboylstonstreet.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/NateThomasTri
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [BoyWithACoin] [ In reply to ]
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The power numbers tend to be pretty close on shorter pieces for individuals well-trained in both sports, but there's a deviation that grows as the piece becomes longer.

I think most of it has to do with the "continuity aspect". Think about it this way - while a rower is recovering up the slide, a cyclist is still producing power. So while a rower is going back up the slide, his power output is 0, which means he needs to generate X + Y watts during the drive, to have an overall average power output of X for the entire stroke. (note: this is NOT an endorsement of rushing the slide, haha!) While a cyclist just has to sit at X watts at all times to average X watts. Fewer peaks and valleys in the power production on a bike, so less stress to produce a given overall average. A rower can make up for this inefficiency at short distances, because the entire body is involved in power production, as opposed to "legs only" on the bike. But over longer pieces, the inefficiency of needing a recovery phase catches up to the rower, and the cyclist can produce more power over longer pieces.

Does that make sense? It makes sense to me, at least, haha!
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [Doug MacLean] [ In reply to ]
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Doug MacLean wrote:
The power numbers tend to be pretty close on shorter pieces for individuals well-trained in both sports, but there's a deviation that grows as the piece becomes longer.

I think most of it has to do with the "continuity aspect". Think about it this way - while a rower is recovering up the slide, a cyclist is still producing power. So while a rower is going back up the slide, his power output is 0, which means he needs to generate X + Y watts during the drive, to have an overall average power output of X for the entire stroke. (note: this is NOT an endorsement of rushing the slide, haha!) While a cyclist just has to sit at X watts at all times to average X watts. Fewer peaks and valleys in the power production on a bike, so less stress to produce a given overall average. A rower can make up for this inefficiency at short distances, because the entire body is involved in power production, as opposed to "legs only" on the bike. But over longer pieces, the inefficiency of needing a recovery phase catches up to the rower, and the cyclist can produce more power over longer pieces.

Does that make sense? It makes sense to me, at least, haha!

I hadn't thought of it in that way before. So at a higher stroke rating - say in the 36-40 range - there's less time for recovery so the 'Y' isn't as great as in longer races where the stroke rating slows down and the time on the slide increases.


Blog: http://262toboylstonstreet.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/NateThomasTri
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [Doug MacLean] [ In reply to ]
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I think it would have more to do with the systemic demands of the greater amount of working muscles in rowing vs cycling involving oxygen demands, gas exchange, energy supply and thermal stress to name a few.
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [Tapeworm] [ In reply to ]
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There's a lot of sites out there that explain all this; as someone noted already, rowing is a much less efficient way of producing power, but a watt is a watt, and Concept 2 makes an outstanding product that measures power very well. I would think that since 2/3 of the time in rowing is spent "recovering" the actual drive portion of the stroke is a higher peak of power; in contrast, in cycling one can sustain the same watts for longer because the "stroke" in cycling is constant and doesn't require hitting the same peak power in each drive. I think this explains why rowing is more anaerobic (it's still plenty aerobic) and cycling is more purely aerobic, on average. Obviously this is a big generalization.

6:36 is a pretty good lightweight time!
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [Whiny Will] [ In reply to ]
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Whiny Will wrote:
There's a lot of sites out there that explain all this; as someone noted already, rowing is a much less efficient way of producing power, but a watt is a watt, and Concept 2 makes an outstanding product that measures power very well. I would think that since 2/3 of the time in rowing is spent "recovering" the actual drive portion of the stroke is a higher peak of power; in contrast, in cycling one can sustain the same watts for longer because the "stroke" in cycling is constant and doesn't require hitting the same peak power in each drive. I think this explains why rowing is more anaerobic (it's still plenty aerobic) and cycling is more purely aerobic, on average. Obviously this is a big generalization.

6:36 is a pretty good lightweight time!

I've read that running is the most purely aerobic though, since there is absolutely no rest available when running. I think both cycling and swimming are considered to be a little more fast-twitch oriented than distance running. This is what makes tri so interesting since you have swimmer/bikers like Starky going up against biker/runners like Del Corral:)


"Anyone can be who they want to be IF they have the HUNGER and the DRIVE."
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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Sure, that makes sense, but... Don't we all raise the stroke rate simply through pressure on the drive, with no change in time spent on the recovery? ;-)

(that was just one of the things our cox's always said... "We're gonna take it up 4 beats, all on the drive!"... I guess it was an honorable goal to shoot for, right? haha!)
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [Doug MacLean] [ In reply to ]
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as we used to joke about the worst coach ever... slow hands, fasttttt slide

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@adamwfurlong
Hilltop Bicycles
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [Whiny Will] [ In reply to ]
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I did an erg session for the first time in a couple of years just a month ago, after doing s/b/r for a couple of years and it struck me how much more of a strength-endurance sport it is compared to running and cycling. Now, obviously this has partially to do with the fact that not a lot of rowing races are over 20 minutes, where most of tri's are at least over an hour, so a better comparison is probably track cycling and track running. But even then, without any background in track running/cycling, it seems to me as though rowing is much more based on acceleration, followed by recovery, instead of a continuous load on the muscles. Using both legs at once, instead of one leg at a time is also a big factor in all of this I'd assume.

For another comparison on the erg watts to cycling watts, I did my best 20 minute test at an avg of 368W, 2k in 449W. If I would have spent the amount of training it took to get to that number solely on cycling, I'm sure it would be possible to hold 450W for 20 minutes (I'm definitely a heavy-weight rower)

We never used watts but 500m splits or total time but here's a useful calc to find the corresponding watts: http://www.concept2.com/...tors/pace-calculator
Last edited by: snaaijert: Nov 28, 13 2:19
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [kmill23] [ In reply to ]
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kmill23 wrote:
Quote:
best 2K . . . . 6 min . . . . (backdoor brag) . . . . .very technically sound rower with years and years experience.

Ya think?? 6:00 2k is damn legit. Nice! :-)
Damn good for a lightweight.

no sponsors | no races | nothing to see here
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [BoyWithACoin] [ In reply to ]
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BoyWithACoin wrote:
Just curious -- since I've been doing a bit of work on the erg just for cross-training -- does anyone know what the relationship between watts on the erg and watts on the road is? How accurate/precise do you think the watt readings on the erg are? Any former rowers out there?
But do you need to correlate the two? As many have pointed out, rowing requires periodic power output, while cycling requires constant power output. This is quite a bit different with regards to how muscles a re recruited, and, to some extent, energy consumed, etc. The erg favors weight and length; the bike (on a trainer) does not, to the same degree.

The real question: static vs dynamic erg? ;)

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Last edited by: philly1x: Nov 28, 13 5:11
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [BoyWithACoin] [ In reply to ]
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In my experience it seems that erg power is about 20-50W down on bike power for comparable durations; less so if you're a well trained rower. The best 5k I managed was about 300W on the erg and my best 20min power on the bike at the time was about 330W.

There are quite a few rowers with known erg scores (eg Hamish Bond, Graham Benton) on the wattbike record list (here: http://www.wattbikeranking.com/ranking?c=8) and it seems to be similar for them. Also Drew Ginn's scores are around too, and he published his bike power when he was TTing.

The one thing that does muck it up is doing lower stroke rate on the erg, eg R20 seems to be a favourite of rowing coaches but it seems that this is like doing efforts on the bike at 60rpm :-)
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Re: Cycling watts vs. erg watts [snaaijert] [ In reply to ]
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snaaijert wrote:
I did an erg session for the first time in a couple of years just a month ago, after doing s/b/r for a couple of years and it struck me how much more of a strength-endurance sport it is compared to running and cycling. Now, obviously this has partially to do with the fact that not a lot of rowing races are over 20 minutes, where most of tri's are at least over an hour, so a better comparison is probably track cycling and track running. But even then, without any background in track running/cycling, it seems to me as though rowing is much more based on acceleration, followed by recovery, instead of a continuous load on the muscles. Using both legs at once, instead of one leg at a time is also a big factor in all of this I'd assume.

I think swimming is also a "strength-endurance" sport as a certain amount of swim-specific strength is needed to swim fast. Top rowers and top swimmers are both a lot bigger than top distance runners and cyclists, and even the 10K swimmers are big, e.g. 6' to 6'6" and 190 to 220.


"Anyone can be who they want to be IF they have the HUNGER and the DRIVE."
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