How To Set The Damper To Improve Your Stroke

Yes I know! As soon as you read the title you immediately thought:

“So I put it to the maximum”

If you have, know that maybe it’s not the best thing for your training. Let’s take a step back and try to understand what the damper is.



The damper is the lever on the side of the fan cage, on which we find numbers from 1 to 10, which regulates the amount of air that enters it with each stroke.
The damper affects the feel of the row, but does not directly affect the resistance .

With a low damper setting, the rower looks like a light boat; with higher numbers it looks like a cruise ship.
Regardless of the setting, you will need to increase effort to increase intensity.



To make it very simple, putting the damper at 10 allows a lot of air to enter the fan and consequently more work will be necessary to make it rotate and vice versa, putting the damper at 1 will allow less air to enter the fan cage, facilitating its rotation.

In comparison, rowing with the damper at maximum is like riding a bicycle and pedaling in the hardest gear and vice versa. I challenge anyone to face a climb with “hard” roads. Most likely after 1km you would get off and continue on foot.

The same thing goes for rowing, during training you have to set the damper according to the distance and strokes per minute that we have set.



If I am using a rowing machine for bottom work , I set the damper between 5 and 7, because I will row with low strokes trying to control the technique , and with each stroke I will look for the air resistance.

If, on the other hand, I use the rower inside a WOD, I will set the damper between 3 and 5, because I will row at higher strokes , between 28 and 32 strokes per minute, straining in this way as little as possible the arms that are already asking. pity after the first push-ups or ring muscle ups.

These damper values apply to men for women . Instead for those who are beginners, I recommend working with the dampers between 1-3 during the WOD; and between 2 and 4 during training dedicated to the rower.



If you’ve come this far, it’s time to talk about the drag factor , but rest assured it’s not a bad word!

The drag factor measures the deceleration of the fan between one stroke and the next according to the amount of air that slows it down and therefore according to the damper you have set.

Setting the drag factor before starting the workout will allow you to always row at the same air resistance.

This is because setting the damper to 3 on one rower can feel like a 6 on the other, this difference particularly from the amount of dust that collects in the fan housing.

When using different machines, you may want to adjust the damper lever to get the drag factor and feel you prefer; by simply clicking from the initial menu:

  • More Options
  • Display drag factor (Display Drag Factor)
  • Start rowing until you find the resistance you feel most yours, by raising or lowering the side lever of the fan … which you now know perfectly well what it’s called!

Personally I train by setting the drag factor between 120 and 140, a middle ground that is good for any workout, for women I recommend oscillating between 100 and 130.

Now you have some basic knowledge to tell your rowing neighbor: “Come on, lower that lever!” , but if she is a damsel you have a great topic of conversation!

Let’s try?


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