What is an Ergometer?

What is an Ergometer?

When it comes to ergometer, it’s easy to get confused. There are different types of ergo-meters available. And often some exercise machines are called by the same name. No wonder people get puzzled.

An ergometer is mainly a device to measure work done. Trainers usually use this device for competition purposes. Different ergometers are used under different fixed conditions to observe the performance of the user. It can be used on treadmill, elliptical trainer, exercise bike, recumbent bike etc.

Among the ergometers, the bicycle and rower are most popular. You can get an idea of their work from their names. The bicycle ergometer replicates the motion of a cycle and rower replicates the motion of rowing in the water.

This device is mostly used by the athletes for competitions. However, it is also helpful for low-impact workouts and exercises with injuries.

Ergometer Photo


An ergometer is an exercise measure tool. You can measure the rate and amount of physical work done by a person under fixed conditions. It observes the effort used by a certain group of muscles. It also tracks the number of calories burned.

You can find several types of ergometer in the market. They all have their specific advantages and disadvantages. Each of them is designed and used by different people for specific reasons. Athletes normally chose them according to their level of expertise.

For example, rowing ergometer copies the act of rowing or pulling on oars. These are made for measuring workout outputs for oarsmen under fixed conditions. And, the arm ergometer- made of a flywheel operated by the pedaling act of the arms. Also, there are others, like cycle ergometer, treadmill, swimming flume, and many more.

Now you have a clear idea about ergometers. So let’s talk about some types of ergometers, which are popular among the athletes.

Bicycle Ergometer

A bicycle ergometer is usually used as a part of fitness tests. It’s a one-wheeled bicycle equipped with an ergometer. Like any other ergometer, it measures the work output of a person under fixed conditions. It calculates the amount of work when the individual pedals the bike. Like, simulating the motion of a bike.

The upper body of the rider remains immobile so that the blood pressure can be measured. Also, necessary tests can be done at the same time. It’s a good device for calculating physiological responses to an average rate of work output in persons whose body weights have altered.

Its purpose is mainly to observe the cardiac performance including oxygen uptake and max heart rate. And because it’s a bicycle ergometer, it provides a low-impact workout test. You will do pedaling action on it, so the joints will be under less stress. It will also increase joint flexibility. 

Rower Ergometer

Another type of popular ergometer is the rower ergometer. It replicates the act of watercraft rowing for exercise or rowing training. Athletes widely use this machine for competition reasons of oarsmanship.

Nowadays indoor rowers are often addressed as erg or ergo, which is not entirely the case. As mentioned before, the ergometer is a tool to calculate the amount of work done. The indoor rower is designed to calculate the amount of power the user is using while operating the machine. Most of the ergo rowing machines (flywheel-type) use an elastic cord or spring to operate.

The seat of the rowing machine is quite comfortable. It gives support to the lower back area of the rider. The seat slides forward and backward during the rowing motion. Sliding motion confirms the extension of the knees.

The upper body is also involved in the movement- including arms and shoulders. The rowing produces enough resistance to build muscles and burn calories. Burning calories will be no big deal when you are rowing in motion.

Why use an ergometer?

You can have some ideas about ergometer from above. But you may have some questions or something maybe on your mind. Why you need an ergometer? What is the benefit of using it?

Don’t worry. We will help you with that. As you know, this machine measures the amount of work done by the user. So, you have a clear idea of what you are doing and how much calories you are burning.

Highly effective, but easy to use. Athletes love this machine and use it to warm up at a lower to heavier resistance training. It’s also widely used in rehabilitation (centers). Users with injuries are generally recommended to use these machines.

Here you will see the uses of an ergometer on YMCA Cycle Ergometer Test by Measurement & Evaluation Techniques youtube channel. 


Ergometer, a device to measure physically done work. These devices are designed to simulate the actual action of a sport under controlled conditions. Manufacturers made these devices according to the needs of the sports. Some are made for cycling, rowing, or others.

As you can see from its name, bicycle ergometer replicates the action of cycling. In this machine, your upper body remains immobile. So, exercising on this machine is recommended if you have any injuries or joint problems. And also, the rowing ergometer commonly called an erg or ergo. These simulate the action of rowing in the water. Workouts on these indoor rowers are helpful for multiple body parts.

The ergometer is widely used by athletes. It shows them the exact work done under controlled circumstances. It is also helpful for low-impact workouts, especially when you are injured.

That’s it. Know how much you are working, work hard, be healthy!

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