It seems like there's an app for everything these days. but don't fear rowers, you've not been left out. But what can a rowing app do that you're console doesn't already? Brands such as Concept2 and Waterrower offer some great features such as PC software or online race functions to motivate you to higher and better things. Many rowing machine computers are also PC compatible so you can store your performances and show you some impressive graphs and pretty pictures. So what can an app add to the mix?
Well there's certainly a few that are giving it a go! But one of the big issues we've found it whether it will work with your particular rower. And right up front we'll say if you own a Concept2 you have more choice in the app store - no surprise there.
But if you're a user of a budget rowing machine you can forget it. You need an advanced monitor such as a PM3 or PM4 for a Concept2, and even then they are usually only workable for the more recent monitors. So do check the requirements before you download.
If you don't have a machine that can run an app and you're looking for motivation with different types of workout, you can download my program here for just a few bucks. Okay so blatant plug over, let's get back to the rowing apps.
Here we'll look at some of the current apps available to download.
ErgBuddy by Concept2
(Available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.)
Obviously only available for Concept2 machine owners. The app itself is free but do check the small print for compatibility with your PM (performance monitor) and software before you purchase the required Wahoo Key for it to work with your iPhone or iPad (around $60). It will work with a PM4 but you may need to download the firmware (free) from Concept2 if yours is a ,model made before December 2012.
The App itself really doesn't do anything more than display your workout data on your device. But the main benefit I can see is that it is great if you row in a dimly lit room, or if visually-impaired, a large iPad screen is much easier to read, If completely blind, the voice-over feature gives an audio record of your workout data. Having said that, the voice-over option is useful for all rowers as it could be a motivator if it's calling out your split times or your progress against your current time trial. You can select which data you want voiced and also the interval in seconds between the audio.
One drawback is that you'll need a stand for your additional screen, and then probably something to stand that on.
You can find out more and the installation requirements at Concept2's website or watch the video to the right.
Or check out the app. 'Row Activ' promoted by BritishRowing.org - we've not tried it yet but we hear it well worth a go!
I'm currently looking for rowing machine users who've tried some of the others in the App Store and will add them here shortly.
The latest development in this field are virtual workouts, the current leader in the field being Hydrow - and it will take some effort from the competitors to catch up!