The Wingate Peak Power Test can be done on a rowing machine to determine what your current peak anaerobic power output is. Wingate anaerobic testing was big back in the 1970’s and was first done at the Wingate Institute in Israel (the test was typically performed on a Monark testing bike).
I remember back in 1988 when I had an opportunity to work with top researchers (Bill Evans, PhD and Roger Fielding, PhD) who were at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (I would eventually work here as an exercise physiologist). We traveled to Bryant College in R.I., which was the training camp back then for the New England Patriots, and we did Wingate testing on all the Patriot players on the bike to determine their anaerobic abilities (the test is also known as the Wingate Anerobic Test or WANT).
The other “erg” though – the rowing machine – can also be used to test for peak power output as I found out today! A rowing machine (erg) is a great way to determine, among other things, what your peak anaerobic power output is. The test can be done in about three to five minutes. Following a dynamic warm-up you can set the damping on the erg between 8 and 10. Next, set your timer for 2:30 and after you warm-up on the erg you can try an all-out 30 second row to determine your peak watts and total meters covered. For example, I hit 560 watts and tallied 175 meters. There are then formulas that you can plug-in your distance covered to see what your projected 500 and 2000 meter row times are. Other pieces of information that you can collect are Peak Watts (power output) and Strokes per Minute. The Nashville Rowing Club has a great website to see this and more, you can also check out Concept 2 Rowing.
There is a slight learning curve when you first do this test so you might want to do it 2-3 times to get a true peak power score. Continue with your weekly strength training and rowing and re-test yourself in 6-8 weeks. This quick test is a great tool to keep you motivated and see how well your routine is working for you. Now I just need to work smarter to reach my goals of 600 watts and 200 meters!