I ran an experiment, to prove something I’ve heard but never confirmed to what degree:

erging is primarily a leg exercise, followed by back, then arms

So it stands to reason that “erging with your arms” is a good way to tire yourself out and pull your worst numbers.


1. sit on erg, knees bent but low, back straight-up-ish

2. pull that handle like a broken slot machine

3. after a good minute, settle down to a realistic rate, like R26

4. feel the burn of lactic acid in your arms and upper back

I could pull R50 at 3:00/- for about a minute, then I could pull R26 at 3:40/- for another minute, then it really started to burn. No way could I pull like that for a 10K let alone a 1K.

Pulling quite hard with just my arms, I was only able to reach maybe 35% of my morning workout wattage. For 2 minutes ending in lactic burn, versus easy 6 minute intervals.

I want to do “legs only” next; I expect it’ll be much closer to my normal split.

Common sense prevails (this time!).