The Dynamic RowErg feels different than our Model D or Model E Indoor Rowers, primarily because the athlete stays mostly stationary while the foot stretchers move during each stroke. The Dynamic can be a great training tool since it provides a closer simulation to on water rowing. This is felt considerably on the recovery: the Dynamic demands more work by the athlete as he or she returns up the slide to prepare proper body position and leg compression for the catch.
The Model D is still the predominant training tool in boathouses. On the Model D, the athlete is connected to the indoor rower through a handle that connects to the drive chain, which in turn attaches to a shock cord that provides a gentle return force. This is why the handle retracts for storage. The tension of the shock cord can be felt—ever so slightly—on the recovery.
On the Dynamic, there is even less return force, so the cord feels smooth and light. This is one of the biggest differences most people note: there is very little return force pulling the handle back to the catch. This leaves it up to the athlete to properly prepare the body and compress the legs enough to get into the catch position—which is of course just how it is in the boat. The athlete presses their hands away then follows with the forward swing of the back, both of which create motion toward the catch. The muscle engagement of the glutes and buttocks complete the motion forward.
The weight of the foot carriage on the Dynamic is often described as feeling more like rowing in a single, while the Model D gives the sense of a team boat. The single requires extra sensitivity, whereas the Model D reacts more like a bigger boat. The Dynamic gives the athlete a lot of control of the speed and sequence of the recovery. In a boat, a skilled recovery will increase boat speed: the boat moves when the blades are out of the water, maximizing the run.
The Dynamic challenges the athlete to create a smooth stroke sequence with strong muscle support. On the Model D, the athlete has a lot of momentum moving out of the release. The Dynamic, in comparison, requires the athlete to move without the assistance of the shock cord return force. As the machine moves around the athlete—similar to the boat gliding beneath the athlete—core muscles need to be engaged.
Without any assistance from the shock cord, many athletes find themselves in a different position at the catch on the Dynamic. There is usually less weight “thrown” into the catch because of the more deliberate feel of the recovery. Many athletes find their natural and comfortable catch position is less compressed on the Dynamic than on the Model D. We recommend that shins go only to vertical to initiate each powerful stroke. The Dynamic can help find this position. It forces, or allows, the user to find this position, similarly to how they would find it in a boat.
The Dynamic is my personal choice for indoor training; it can be a great fit for those looking to work on technical aspects of their on water training.