The ABCs of rowing: your terminology guide to indoor rowing success

Ami Kucharek

Written by , Head of Communication on

Niki Van Sprang rowing with EXR on a RP3

Like any other sport, indoor rowing boasts its unique array of technical terms and abbreviations. Don't worry if you're a newcomer feeling a bit lost in the terminology maze – EXR’s comprehensive indoor rowing glossary is your key to unraveling the jargon and diving headfirst into this thrilling sport.

20-MINUTE TEST Test your performance and figure out your rowing FTP by taking a 20-minute test. Sustain a high power output for the best result. It's an alternative to EXR's ramp test.
2K 2k stands for 2000m, a standard distance in competitive rowing like at the Olympic Games. It's used to compare times both on the water and on the rowing machine. A 2k test is dreaded by every rower because of its intensity.
ACIDOSIS If you’re not breathing enough and lack oxygen, you start to suffer from acidosis which means that there’s too much acid in your body. As a result, you feel weary and drained. Concentrate on regularly taking deep breaths to fight acidosis.


Learn how to train your rowing breathing technique with coach Hendrik.
AEROBIC WORKOUT During aerobic workouts, your muscles create energy by using oxygen and fat. Steady-state exercise that lasts longer than 2 minutes is usually referred to as aerobic. To increase your aerobic workout's difficulty, increase your speed, resistance or duration.


Hendrik Plevoets, the coach of world indoor rowing champion Ward, has created 12 aerobic EXR workouts for you to improve your oxygen uptake and boost your endurance.
ALAKTOSIS If you breathe in too much during your exercise, your body goes into alkalosis, which means that there’s an excess of bases in your body fluids. As a result, you feel dizzy and your performance weakens. Slow down and consciously take deep breaths to recover.


Master a good breathing technique for rowing to boost your performance.
ANAEROBIC WORKOUT During anaerobic exercise, your body produces energy by breaking down glucose and without using oxygen. In rowing, this is the case when sprinting for less than 2 minutes as a high-intensity exercise.


Train with coach Hendrik's 10 Anaerobic Workouts to increase your muscle strength and power.
AVATAR Your avatar mirrors your movements on the rowing machine. By training with EXR, you unlock new gear to dress up and equip your avatar in the app.
BADGE Earn unique badges by beating monthly indoor rowing challenges. Your badges are visible in your EXR web profile and in the app.
BOW The part of the boat that points forward in the direction that the boat is moving.


In EXR, you can place the camera at the bow of your boat by changing your camera position.
BREATH The right breathing technique helps you reach your full potential. When training on your erg, breathe out during the drive and breathe in during the recovery. Train this at a lower stroke rate and you’ll automatically breathe correctly during a rowing competition or a 2k test.
BRIC BRIC stands for Britsh Rowing Indoor Championships. Participate in individual and team challenges to live up to your fitness ambitions! The BRIC 2023 is held in Birmingham, England on 9 December.
BRITISH ROWING British Rowing is a membership organization and a partner of EXR. British Rowing is responsible for the training and selection of rowers and crews representing Great Britain and for the development and participation of rowing and indoor rowing in England.
CADENCE The cadence indicates your tempo and is expressed in rowing strokes per minute (SPM).
CALORIES EXR uses its own weight-based formula to calculate how much energy you've produced, expressed in calories burned, with each workout. Set your own calorie target to reach your fitness goal.
CATCH It's the 1st of 4 phases of rowing. Straighten your arms and lean forward with your shoulders in front of your hips. Your shins are at an 80-90° angle with the floor.


Read coach Hendrik's instructions to learn all about a good rowing technique.
CHALLENGE When facing challenges in sports, you push yourself beyond your limits and open your mind to new levels of performance. Because this feels liberating and empowering, EXR helps you become a better athlete with its 3 monthly challenges.


Besides making you stick to your indoor rowing routine, monthly challenges reward you with X-Coins and badges.
COMPATIBLE ROWER Bluetooth rowing machines connect to EXR. They can be sorted into two groups: supported rowers and compatible rowers. All FTMS Bluetooth rowers are compatible which means that they are discoverable when you are searching for them via EXR’s connection screen.
DRIVE It's the 2nd of 4 phases of rowing. In the drive, you turn on the rowing machine's flywheel by pushing your body back with your legs. Keep your arms straight until your legs are stretched to move on to the next phase, the finish.


Read coach Hendrik's tips for further advice on your rowing movements.
ERG Erg is short for ergometer which is a training machine that measures your power output. Different kinds of exercise require different ergs. In rowing, you use a rowing ergometer — a rowing machine — to train.
ERICH At the European Rowing Indoor Championships (ERICH), rowers with experience levels from newbies to elite may participate and compete against each other.


The 2024 ERICH is held in Prague, Czechia.
EXR SPLIT EXR Split is EXR's own speed calculation setting that uses your rowing machine's power output (watt) and factors like your body weight to calculate your split time and other statistics. That's why it's important for you to keep your weight up-to-date in your profile. Generally, EXR Split generates


more accurate performance statistics and improves your gameplay.
FEET-OUT DRILL Get on your rowing machine but don't use your foot straps. Rowing with loose feet forces you to go slow and pay attention to your rowing technique since you might fall off the rower if you don't engage your core enough.


Coach Hendrik recommends this feet-out drill to regularly check on your torso tension.
FINISH The finish is the 3rd of 4 phases of rowing. Lean back while engaging your core and pull the handle to your chest. World indoor rowing champion Ward Lemmelijn uses a special technique as he pulls the handle to his neck, generating more power with only a bit of extra effort.


Find out how to improve your indoor rowing technique by reading


5+1 tips from Ward's coach Hendrik.
FLUIDESIGN Fluidesign is a Canadian rowing boat manufacturer and partner of EXR. Fluidesign is renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship in creating high-performance racing shells.
FOLDING MODEL Many rowing machines are bulky which makes them a bit awkward to put away for freeing up space. That’s why some models are foldable. Folding your rower only takes a few seconds. Thanks to transport wheels, moving it around is easy.


Examples of foldable models are the Skillrow, VirtuFit Ultimate Pro 2i and Xebex Air Rowers.
FOLLOWER Log into your web profile and follow your friends to join them on the virtual waters. By following them, you can also check on their stats and badges.
FREE TRIAL Test EXR with your 14-day free trial. You instantly get access to all features including rowing races with your friends and sharing your training data with apps like Strava.
FTP FTP is the abbreviation for Functional Threshold Power. This value is usually used in cycling to indicate your fitness level. In EXR, all workouts use your FTP as a baseline.


Take the ramp test or the 20-minute test to find out your FTP and repeat it regularly to track your progress.
GLYCONIC RATE This rate describes your glycolysis activity which refers to your energy metabolism. In short, the higher your glycolytic rate, the faster your body can produce energy.
GRIP By having a relaxed grip on your rowing machine's handle, you save lots of energy. Hold it rather loosely with your fingers and make sure that your wrists are flat.


Learn how to preserve energy for a power boost in coach Hendrik's Blog article.
HIIT HIIT is the abbreviation of High Intense Interval Training. In HIIT, you repeat an intense exercise with only short breaks to push your body to its limits.


Train with EXR's "Time to Burn" HIIT workouts and feel your muscles burn!
HOCR HOCR stands for Head of the Charles Regatta. It's Boston's biggest regatta and takes place once a year on its Charles River. Exhibitors like EXR welcome athletes and connect with the rowing community as crews from all over the world compete against each other.


Explore the Charles virtually by choosing it as a location in EXR.
HRM HRM is the abbreviation of heart rate monitor. Set your maximum heart rate in EXR and enjoy a highly personalized workout.


To show your heart rate in EXR, connect your HRM via the connection screen.
HUD HUD stands for Heads-Up Display. It's your interface and shows you performance information like your speed and heart rate zone.


Enlarge the HUD in the interface options to make it easier to read.
JUST ROW One of the most popular modes in rowing applications is called Just Row. In this mode, you row at your own pace which makes it easy to get into the zone.


In EXR, sprint segments invite you to compete against your personal record and leaderboards make you push your limits.
LEADERBOARD Measuring your performance against your friends’ makes working out more fun! Compare your performance by applying filters to leaderboards and become #1!
LOG FILE Whenever you have a problem, send a report to the EXR team to solve it. Error reports include log files that help our developers investigate the issue in detail.


Learn how to send your log file to the EXR customer service team.
JUST ROW One of the most popular modes in rowing applications is called Just Row. In this mode, you row at your own pace which makes it easy to get into the zone.


In EXR, sprint segments invite you to compete against your personal record and leaderboards make you push your limits.
OAR Rowing boats are propelled by oars that move through the water. The piece that is in the water is called the blade.


In EXR, you can unlock a broad range of oars with different blade designs by leveling up.
PB/PR PB stands for Personal Best and PR stands for Personal Record. These terms refer to your personal record time for a specific distance.


In EXR, your PB is listed on leaderboards and visualized by white Record Replays when rowing through a sprint segment.
PM PM is the abbreviation for Concept2's Performance Monitors. The PM5, PM4 and PM3 are small coumputers and placed on top of your rowing machine. They connect to EXR in a few clicks.


Learn how to connect your PM to EXR.
POV POV stands for point of view. In a rowing boat, you face the stern.


To experience a truly immersive virtual rowing session, change the camera option to POV to face the stern in EXR as well.
PYRAMID TRAINING A pyramid training is an interval workout. You start with low intensity and peak at your maximum intensity just to decrease it again later.


Train with EXR’s premade (reverse) pyramid workouts to push past your performance plateau.
RECORD REPLAY A white Record Replay boat appears when doing a sprint. Record Replays are steadily paced at your best time for this segment and motivate you to break your records.
RECOVERY The recovery is the last of the 4 rowing phases. Keep your legs straight while extending your arms, leaning your upper body forwards. Only when the handle is past your knees, you bend your legs.


Find an overview of all movements in coach Hendrik's blog article.
REGATTA Rowers compete against each other in regattas. These events usually take several days and feature different races based on boat type, the rowers’ age and weight.
RESISTANCE TYPES For rowing machines, there are 4 different ways to create resistance. For example, water resistance is used in Waterrowers and air resistance is used in Bodycraft rowers.


The other types are magnetic and hydraulic resistance.
ROBO ROWERSRobo Rowers are computer-driven boats that join you on EXR’s virtual waters. They are blue and row at random paces to keep you company.
SPLIT Your split time indicates your power output translated into how much time it would take for you to row 500m at your current speed. A low split time indicates a high speed.


EXR workouts can be based on split, stroke rate or both.
SPM Your strokes per minute are often abbreviated by SPM or s/m. A high stroke rate doesn’t necessarily translate into a better performance since your technique might deteriorate and you get tired quickly when rowing faster.


Read the Concept2 Blog to learn more about stroke rates.
SPRINT SEGMENT In Just Row, you row through arches that indicate sprint segments. After rowing through such a segment, your time is added to the segment’s leaderboard where you compete against rowers worldwide.
SOCIAL ROWING Row online with your friends anytime with EXR. You don't need to select special settings or follow rowers to train with other EXR rowers online. Simply select Just Row and Training or join an event to row with people from all over the world.
STERN The stern is the part of the boat that points backward, not in the direction that the boat is moving. As a rower, you face the stern.


In EXR, change the camera position to POV via your gameplay options to enjoy this immersive first-person view.
STROKE A stroke is the forward and backward movement you do on your rowing machine. It can be split up into 4 parts: catch, drive, finish and recovery.


Learn how to erg and perfect your strokes with tips from coach Hendrik.
SUPPORTED ROWER EXR supports rowing machines of the most popular brands like Concept2, RP3 and Technogym. These brands cooperate with EXR to ensure smooth gameplay and a top-notch training experience.
UNISUIT Unisuits are the one-piece garments that rowers wear during regattas. The tight-fitting suit is made from elastic fibers and is usually designed in a crew's colors.


In EXR, you can unlock unisuits and other items to customize your avatar by leveling.
VERIFIED WORKOUTS Train with EXR’s verified workouts and send them to your Concept2 logbook to rank your piece.
VO2MAX VO2max is short for V= Volume, O2= oxygen and max = maximum. It's the maximum amount of oxygen your body uses during exercise. It's also called maximal oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity. In a nutshell, the higher your VO2max, the more oxygen you can use to produce energy.


To improve your VO2max, train with EXR's "Time to burn", "Race Preparation" and "Aerobic Workout" and read on VO2max in coach Hendrik’s blog article.
WATT In indoor rowing, your power output can be expressed in watts. An alternative is your split time.


Open EXR’s gameplay options to adjust how your power output is indicated or choose to display both split and watts.
WRICH The World Rowing Indoor Championships are abbreviated with WRICH. They are held every year in another location.


EXR ambassador Ward Lemmelijn is a regular at the WRICH and the double world indoor rowing champion (men's 2000m).
X-COINS Earn X-Coins by beating challenges to unlock new gear for your avatar.
XP For each meter you row in EXR, you earn XP (experience points). Once you have enough XP, you level up and unlock new items to equip your avatar.

Are you still searching for the definition of an indoor rowing term? Let us know via the contact form and we’ll update this glossary!

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