and the indoor rower
Beware. This article is about working out on the
rowing machine, but not only that, it’s about
working out and enjoying it on the rowing machine.
“So many people struggle to stay on the rowing
machine for more than five minutes,” says Xeno
Mueller, Olympic rower, father, husband, rowing
coach and organiser of indoor rowing workouts.
“There are people who sit on it for two minutes and
then say ‘what’s next?’ If I could get them to stay on
for 30 or 45 minutes we would change the world.”
friends. “The word rowing is so abundant in my daily
speech. You name it we’ve thought of it.” Mueller
has especially drawn on the latest technology
to enhance his indoor rowing business and the
internet has become one of his most valuable tools.
one rowing machine you have to look elsewhere
for someone to row with.”
The research on the advantage to working out in
a group is not lost on Mueller. Mueller simply says,
“It’s fun to row with a group.”
Xeno Mueller (c) won gold in the
men’s single sculls at the 1996
Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA).
Derek Porter (CAN) won silver,
and Thomas Lange (GER) bronze.
© Peter Spurrier/Intersport-Images
“Everybody who rows on the water hates being on
the rowing machine, because it’s used by coaches
to flog their crews,” says Mueller who wants to turn
this around and get rowers enjoying the ergometer.
Mueller does not think small. The Olympic gold
medallist talks big, has big ideas and at 192cm, and
weighing over 100kg in his competitive days, is big.
After retiring from elite rowing, Mueller, originally
from Switzerland, established an indoor rowing
centre in California (USA) and set about to make
it a profitable business.
Mueller has managed to combine two of his
interests. “I enjoy using the rowing machine and I
believe that I can make it a successful business and
I enjoy working on the computer,” says Mueller who
is continually looking at ways to make his indoor
rowing workouts completely international with
location becoming irrelevant through the use of
A few months ago Mueller began doing live
streaming of indoor rowing workouts through the
internet. He attracted ergometer users from around
the world who would tune in to watch Mueller
live stream through the internet his daily workout.
“I was using a mobile internet device and I quickly
used up the bandwidth,” says Mueller who had
to abandon the idea. But Mueller has kept video
workouts alive through his website and he sees
the potential to return to his idea when he finds
a way to run wired internet cheaply. He has also
made the most of You Tube, Twitter and Facebook
to promote his business and offer workout videos.
Mueller reckons any idea to do with indoor rowing
that exists has been thought of by him and his
“There are a lot of rowing machines in people’s
homes and a lot of homes have internet access,”
says Mueller. “For example one indoor rowing
athlete I know, Eric Kent, puts on earphones
when he’s on the rowing machine at home in
Scotland and he chats with someone in Florida
while they erg ‘together’. It’s fun to be able to row
with someone else and as most homes only have
Mueller notes that none of this was possible,
technologically, before about two years ago. >