Uganda Rowing Federation (URF) and the Ugandan Rowers in particular will have that extra reason to smile as they have landed an indoor rowing concept machine, also called the ergo-meter.

The device, used by rowers to simulate the action of watercraft rowing for the purpose of exercise or training was donated by a rowing friend based in Holland, Thomas Friedhoff.

Friedhoff and a group of colleagues back in the Netherlands, lobbied for the machine and it was delivered to Uganda Rowing Federation and Uganda Olympic Committee officials at Kisubi beach on Sunday during the close of the East and Central Africa Rowing Championships.

“It is the athletes and not me who need the praise, hopefully more local sponsors come up to support this unique wonder sport of rowing in Uganda and help the national rowers qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics”, Friedhoff remarked at the handover of the device.

Hamza Kahwa, the President Uganda Rowing Federation appreciated the offer and pledged to keep safe custody of the machine.

“We shall get a safe place to keep and maintain this wonderful machine where all our rowers will have easy access to it for enhanced performance”, the youthful Federation President said.

The President, Uganda Olympic Committee, Wiliam Blick was present at the machine handover and he got that once in a lifetime experience to test it out.

Several local rowers too had a feel of the ergometer.

How the Ergometer works:

All rowing-machines designs consist of an energy damper or braking mechanism connected to a chain and/or handle. A foot stretcher (where rowers places their feet) is attached to the same mounting as the energy damper. Most include a rail which either the seat or the mechanism slide upon. Different machines have a variety of layouts and damping mechanisms, each of which have certain advantages and disadvantages.

Machines with a digital display calculate the user’s power by measuring the speed of the flywheel during the stroke and then recording the rate at which it decelerates during the recovery.

Using this and the known moment of inertia of the flywheel, the computer is able to calculate speed, power, distance and energy usage.

Some ergometers can be connected to a personal computer using software, and data on individual exercise sessions can be collected and analysed. In addition, some software packages allows users to connect multiple ergometers either directly or over the internet for virtual races and workouts.

Benefits of Rowing Machine:

The Ergometer and Indoor rowing primarily works the cardiovascular systems with typical workouts consisting of steady pieces of 20–40 minutes, although the standard trial distance for record attempts is 2000 m, which can take from five and a half minutes (best elite male rowers) to nine minutes or more.

Like other forms of cardio focused exercise, interval training is also commonly used in indoor rowing. While cardio-focused, rowing also stresses many muscle groups throughout the body anaerobically, thus rowing is often referred to as a strength-endurance sport.

Unlike high impact exercises, which can damage knees and the connective tissues of the lower body, rowing’s most common injury site is the lower back. Proper technique is a necessity for staying injury free, with a focus on both mechanics and breathing, as correct rhythm, exhaling on the drive and inhaling on the recovery, is a stabilizing force for the upper body. Non-rowers commonly overemphasize the muscles of the upper body, while correct technique uses the large muscle of the thighs to drive much of the stroke. Also, good technique requires that the angle of the upper body is never too far forward, nor too far back, both of which jeopardize the lower back and compression injuries on the knees and hip flexor muscles.

In addition to the high levels of fitness attained, rowing is an intense calorie-burning exercise. Although rowers with less ability and training will burn fewer calories, the ergometer is an excellent tool for use in a weight-loss program.

The standard measurement of speed on an ergometer is generally known as the “split”, or the amount of time in minutes and seconds required to travel 500 metres (1,600 ft) at the current pace — a split of 2:00 represents a speed of two minutes per 500 metres, or about 4.17 m/s (15.0 km/h). The split does not necessarily correspond to how many strokes the rower takes (the “rating”) since strokes can vary in power.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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