The Concept 2 Slide ($225 for the slide, $765 for the erg; 800-245-5676; www.concept2.com)was designed to better simulate the silky feel of rowing on watermuch to the delight of oarsmen everywhere who found themselves confined to the indoors. But the Slide can benefit endurance athletes of all types, even those who've never once dipped an oar. Released in 1999, this elegant, effective set of rails and rollers makes stationary rowing feel easier than on a standard machine. But research shows that the Slide actually forces you to crank harder to maintain the same pace, giving you more cardiovascular bang for your workout buck. The machine's unforgiving real-time performance display lets you know right away when your effort slackens, and the Slide is intolerant of poor form. To avoid any jive in your glide, you must concentrate on a quick and fluid motion for the length of your workout. Get rambunctious or sloppy and you'll slam back and forth between the stops like a demonic bumper car. Easy to set up, the front and rear bases of the erg fit into each rail's prefab mounts. You can also employ multiple slides, linked one behind the other, to re-create the experience of team boat rowing. Adjust the bungees so they're taut, and you're good to row. Brad Wieners
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