In the third and final part of his series, Concept 2 co-founder Peter Dreissigacker focuses on damper settings. He tells Jon Gilson of Again Faster that athletes who think they’re getting the best possible workout by always using the maximum damper setting of 10 are very likely mistaken.
Some fine athletes who can row 2,000 meters on the water in six minutes prefer to use a low damper settings. Some older, deconditioned folks find a setting of 10 is right for them, but so do some accomplished weightlifters who are used to slow and forceful movement. The force-speed relationship is tied to damper setting, but power output is not. Peter demonstrates by taking Jon through a workout that achieves the same power output at a variety of damper settings.
It all leads to the ultimate question: how should you set the damper? The answer depends on how you train, and for what purpose. Many top rowers use a damper setting of 4 or 5. Individual preference can play a large role in determining the correct damper setting, but in keeping with the CrossFit philosophy of “doing the stuff you hate,” Jon suggests getting out of your comfort zone.
Additional reading: The Power of the C2 Monitor by Judy Geer, published Sept. 19, 2008.