The erg ab roller

The Erg “Ab Roller” in action

If you ever thought an ergometer was just for rowing, think again! One rowing club (and probably countless other innovative individuals) have adapted the standard Concept 2 Erg to another “core” purpose.

The Saratoga Rowing Club director, Eric Catalano, claims his athletes have been using the ergometers to train their cores since the mid-nineties. The inspiration, he recalls, was simple: “I was looking to put a little more danger in core training.” Plus, he laughs, there is something impressive about the “look of slide grease running down the center of the athletes shirt, or face.”

The exercise must do the trick, if the “nervousness and laughter” Catalano hears each time he announces that it is time to roll is any indication. He says a typical Erg Roll workout for his group would be 3×20 “rollouts.” He usually pulls this trick out just on core work days, but he’s not above throwing in a few ab rolls during rest intervals on the days they use the ergs as actual rowing machines. (And why not, if your athletes are just sitting there on what turns out to be a perfectly good ab roller?)

It’s an incredibly simple exercise to perform, according to Catalano, who notes the only trick to performing the exercise correctly, is getting all the way into the fully extended “superman” position. Speed and control requires a bit of practice, too, but doing so improves core strength anyway.

Athletes can face either way, but Catalano added that facing the foot stretchers can help shorter athletes, who can rest their hands there if the rail is too elevated to let them touch the floor.

Catalano likes the Erg Ab Roller trick so much that he has considered suggesting it to Concept 2, so they could incorporate a hand grip at the top end of the slide, near the handle rest. So, if you see that on a future model, you’ll know who was responsible!

So there you go: the Erg Ab Roller- a great way to make use of rest periods in your erg training that will keep your heartrate up as well as improving your strength and abdominal fitness, without even having to leave your seat!

Have a cool erg trick that you use at your place? Let us know in the comments below.