What’s the difference between the damper setting and the drag factor on a rower?
Shane Farmer of CrossFit Invictus has the answer.
“As I use the term ‘damper setting,’ what I’m talking about is moving this wheel right here,” the rowing specialist explains. “When I’m talking drag factor, I’m calibrating what’s on the monitor using a function that we have on this computer here.”
Specifically, the damper setting lets more or less air into the flywheel.
“If I’m going to use a 5, I want to make sure that I’m calibrating to understand what drag factor I’m actually rowing at and what the feel is going to be,” Farmer says, “because a 5 on this machine and a 5 on another machine won’t feel the same. But the same drag factor on those machines will feel the same.”
In the end, it’s about the individual athlete’s preference.
“If you’re somebody that can let your heart rate run through the roof then you’re gonna want to live at a lower damper setting,” he says. “It’s not that a 10 is better than a 1; it just matters how your engine works.”
Video by Again Faster.
Additional reading: Indoor Rowing: Damper Settings & Intensity by Peter Dreissigacker, published April 1, 2007.