Recently, I spent some time testing the EXR Rowing Application. I like to call it a “Zwift For Rowers.” EXR can connect with many rowers to create an online platform that offers a wide range of workouts, gamification and virtual locations. The app is available now on Apple TV as well as Mac, iOS and Android.
The EXR Rowing App allows you to connect to many rowers, including:
- Concept 2
- WaterRower S4 (with Bluetooth ComModule).
- First Degree Fitness (FluidRower).
EXR rowing – hands-on video
There are many features on the EXR rowing app that I love, but the one that excites me the most is the “EXR Split.”
Two major challenges must be overcome in order to make rowing competitive. First, you need to consider which rower is being used. Each measure has a different split time. My split times are a little faster when I use a WaterRower than when I’m using my Concept 2.
The second is the ability to adjust for weight. An indoor rower who is heavier will almost always have an unfair advantage. This is a false advantage, as extra weight can slow down a rowboat. This holds true for cycling too, so Zwift and other competitive platforms adjust for each rider’s weight.
The EXR Split addresses this problem by adjusting split times to account for both the rowing machine type and the user’s weight. A competitive mode is still being developed (more details later), but this will allow a Concept 2 user of 250 lb to compete against a WaterRower user of 150 lb.
Although it can be difficult to adjust to the EXR Split (I’m 196lbs so my times are slightly slower), I’m excited to know that my EXR rankings will reflect my rowing abilities.
Power Zone Training
Power Zone Training is my favorite way of training for endurance. The FTP score is the 60-minute time it takes to row. Power Zones are determined by your personal FTP score. This score is not required to be tested. You can either choose between a FTP Test that takes 20 minutes or a simpler “ramp up” version.
I’ve tried six connected fitness rowing programs and this is the first time I’ve used Power Zone Training. It’s a joy to see it on EXR.
There are a lot of pre-made workouts available after you have chosen a place to row. EXR is an app for experienced indoor rowers. For beginners, you won’t find many workouts or guidance.
You can also choose “Just Row”, with options to set a goal time or meters or calories burned, or create and save your own workouts using the EXR Trainer Editor.
It is possible to export the post-workout data to third-party apps such as TrainingPeaks, Strava and Concept2 Logbook.
EXR Mini-Games and Rewards: Challenges and Rewards
EXR also excels at gamification. There are a few mini-games, such as “Buoy Blast”, and “Shark Attack”, but there is a lot more to choose from, including a variety of rewards, achievements, and challenges.
You can increase your avatar’s level by completing workouts. You can customize your avatar using the coins earned through achievements or monthly challenges. It’s well-done and gives me a sense that there is progress.
EXR plans to expand on this concept, as they create the framework for an entire MMO experience (Massive Multiplayer Online), in addition to a upcoming “Competition Mode.”
This is where EXR falls short. These two features are still not available. The EXR Split was recently introduced and I’d love to set up competitions with my friends. I will wait to rank on the 5k and 2k races.
For those who are interested, the EXR Rowing App offers an unlimited 5-day trial. The best thing about the trial is that you only have to row on days you actually row. Other days do not count against you.
After your free trial ends, you can choose to sign up for a one-year or monthly subscription. Monthly subscriptions cost $9.99 The $9.99 per month year plan is 20% less expensive and costs $96 (or $7.99 per month).
The EXR Rowing App offers many great features for indoor rowing enthusiasts. Although it’s not designed for beginners it’s easy to use by experienced indoor rowers. It offers a wide range of power zone training and gamification. There is also a competitive mode that uses the “EXR Split” which will be available soon.