Someone asked this question, and I thought it was a great point.
The setting on the side of the rowing machine is called a damper setting. Sometimes people put it all the way to the top, sometimes to the bottom, but what the heck do the numbers mean and where should I put it?
The damper setting can actually get pretty complicated. So to keep it easy, think of it like gears on a bike. When you go uphill, you go to a lower gear. The gear isn't actually changing the difficulty or the resistance or anything about the hill, just how it feels to go up the hill. Well the damper setting is similar. Here is an article by Concept 2 explaining it a little bit.
Check out the video to learn more and my thoughts on where to put it as a beginner.
Amanda Painter is the Rowing Doc. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and is here to help people stay active and rowing without aches and pains so they can keep doing what they love!