It was in the mid-eighties that Cas Rekers’ daughter Marjolein started to suffer from lower back pain, because of using the static indoor rowing machine, which was getting quite popular in that time.
After Cas heard about 65% of the athletes in the rowing community also had this injury problem, he started to investigate the movement on the static machine.
Cas was a good rower himself and knew the problem of lower back pain wasn’t common rowing in a boat.
He found that the right way to train indoors is to mimic the same movement as in a boat, whereas you push away the weight and stay in a stable position, in stead of on a static indoor rower you push away yourself from a fixed structure.
After he had found what needed to be different, in 1988 he engineered the first dynamic indoor rower and called it: RowPerfect!
The first athlete that used this machine in his training was the dutchman Frans Göbel. During his study as medical doctor he worked in a hospital, he couldn’t train on the water to prepare for the World Championships in 1989. Frans trained only on the RP2 at home until 3 weeks for the races and became World Champion in the lightweight single sculls.
The next year, in 1990, Frans travelled to Australia for the next World Championships and took his RP2 to use on the hotel balconny. He prolongated his title as World Champion, again after only being about 2 weeks on the water in preparation to this winning race. Even during the last few days before the final he choose to do his workout on RP2 in stead of in the boat, because he was convinced it would help him better. And it worked!
In 1991 Cas teamed up with Jan Lammers, whose company Metalindustry Knobbe started up the serial production of the model RP2.
Till 2004 the production and distribution were performed in the Netherlands and during the following years till 2009 the product was licensed for 5 years to Australia.
By the end of 2009, the production and engineering was brought back to the old team and the production of the new RP3 model S was started.
After the introduction of the first RP3 machines Cas died in September 2010 during a rowing event at his old club Proteus Eretes in Delft.
Jan Lammers and his wife Annet bought the company and worked on keeping the legacy of Cas alive, and also started to introduce RP3 at all Elite rowing teams in the world.
When in 2010 Concept2 stated that the best way of rowing is ‘dynamic’, with the introduction of there own version, they paved the way for RP3 as the orginal Dynamic Indoor rowing machine.
In 2013 the redesigned RP3 was introduced, which is still in production with some modifications. In 2019, the new RP3 model T was introduced. This model is the re-invention of dynamic indoor rowing.
For the current digital age, the RP3 proposition is being transformed into the best tool available to row better and adapted or further developed for capabilities such as; self-coaching, online training and racing, crew functions, workout analysis and valuable support functions for indoor training and on-water rowing.
So from the 1980s it became quite common and logical that indoor rowing should be a regular part of a rowers training program. Ergometer training made you stronger and fitter, and as a rower it simply made you row faster.
Yet it was also clear that indoor rowing on a static machine, where you yourself drive back and forth on the rail, is indeed a rowing movement, but very different from rowing in a boat.
Cas Rekers from Delft, a former rower himself, and well acquainted with the physical dynamics of the rowing movement, designed a rowing machine that approached 'real rowing' much more closely. Initially to help his daughter with rehabilitation from a persistent lower back injury.
Very soon, demand came from the market and the RowPerfect became a commercial product. However, it remained a niche product for a niche of the rowing market for almost 20 years.
About the same time as the market introduction of the Concept2 Dynamic in 2009, with the promise to provide a indoor rower which was simulating real rowing better, the production of the RP3 model started, with Jan Lammers (the current CEO of RP3 Rowing) responsible for production for Cas Rekers as a contractor.
After the death of Cas Rekers (fall 2010), Jan and Annet Lammers decided to take over RP3 Rowing from the Rekers family and from 2011 they ensured the start of the new phase of the company. The famous "Original" Model S was launched in 2013.
From approx. 2019 the company has entered the next phase, since the majority of the Rowing Federations of the biggest & best rowing countries in the world have chosen RP3 as their standard indoor rower! The new RP3 Model T was launched and many Club rowers, juniors and specially masters rowers from all over the world are discovering the benefits and fun of Dynamic Indoor Rowing on RP3 and improving themselves again after being educated in the former 'static era of erging', which they often hated much.....
Currently RP3 Rowing is transforming towards a more digital company with extending its proposition to provide rowers & non-rowing athletes a True Rowing Experience !
Frequently asked questions
On a Dynamic Indoor Rowing machine the flywheel is also moving as the seat does. So ‘everything’ is loose. The athlete even moves relatively much less than the flywheel, which corresponds to the situation and the feeling in the boat. That is the reason we are using “True Rowing Experience” as our motto.
> Static -> Body Mass turning, instead of just flywheel on Dynamic, very similar as in the boat
> Less stressful lower back, injury prevention and often even used for back injury recovery
> Dynamic rowing is much more like rowing on water and better useful as part of rowing event preparation or during the season
> Difference in scores: less hard in extensive (longer: 30min +) workouts, harder on fast (high pace) parts, but above all: dynamic is more like what you do in the boat during a race
We get this question very often. The short answer is: it cannot be compared. Static and dynamic ergometers are just completely different. When reversing the movement of the rower’s body weight in static rowing, more energy is lost. And the body takes a hit with every stroke. Often and especially it causes (lower) lower back complaints and even injuries, and joints can also play up.
On RP3, the acceleration of the flywheel is measured for the score and the real time feedback and numbers in the monitor. Static machines usually measure the movement of the chain. Therefore, with a rowing style in which a firm final stroke is made with the arms, the score can be higher on a static machine.
However, this is not a natural and logical movement in the rowing boat. On the RP3 it has no (minimal) effect on the score. Better rowing does though!
Although the scores are not really comparable, it can be said from experience:
> more power rowing: higher scores on static ergometer
> more technique: better score on RP3
The technically better rowers score relatively better on RP3. The difference between RP3 and the common static ergometers on a 2,000m score is approx. 1-3s per 500m in favour of the more technical rower.
One of the big advantages, often mentioned by the users who do have much experience on both: on RP3 you can practise higher stroke rates more easy, so really can train at (boat) race pace and have very similar experience or feeling.
First of all, rowing on water is, of course, rowing on water. An RP3 stands on the mainland, on the ground, and that of course gives more stability. It is possible to use a ‘wobble seat’, which also simulates the lateral imbalance of a rowing boat. With a ‘wobble seat’ you can train to sit more upright and prevent imbalance.
In the boat, the catch; where the blades of the oar go into the water, is more difficult than on an ergometer. After the catch, the feeling of rowing is very comparable to the rowing stroke in the boat. Hang, build up pressure, finish with back and arms. The final part of the stroke is good to practise with RP3, where most – even experienced rowers – often lose pressure too quickly. The recovery is also comparable to a recovery in the boot.
Technique is a factor for better scores, whereas on a static ergometer just more force is also an option for better results. On RP3 Dynamic indoor rowing machines you are implicitly ‘forced’ to improve and be as technical as possible.
With RP3 you get direct feedback via the monitor (App on smartphone or tablet) about the shape of the power curve and the figures such as joules, watts and stroke length. There are many other fields (30) to select, besides the standard ‘stroke rate’, ‘split’ (time / 500m) and ‘average split. Rowing on RP3 therefore gives much more real time feedback over the rowing stroke. This makes RP3 a very suitable training machine for better rowing and improving your rowing technique.
With RP3 it is also possible to physically link 2 or more machines. This allows the synchrony of the pressure curve of the team of rowers to be trained. The software offers the possibility to analyse your own curve after the workout, but also the curves of the team (overlay) and expose the differences. This is input for improvement.
RP3 is also busy adding rowing data from boat training sessions to the log, so that this data can also be compared with rowing data from an ergometer training and vice versa.
We often get all kind of questions about RP3. From people who first did not know us and also from the most experience and best rowers in the World. And all people in between.
Even those who are already using RP3 as their best trainings device to go for a great Rowing Experience or going Gold on the next Championship and Olympic Games do have great questions for us.