Today we’ve got our SkiErg Review where we’re looking at Concept 2’s Nordic ski machine, and what it can do for your fitness. This lesser-known machine needs a lot more love as it’s on par with the best forms of fitness and conditioning. What’s it do? Is it any good? What doesn’t it do well?
What exactly is a SkiErg?
Not just for Skiers
Based on the sport of Nordic Skiing – a form of skiing that doesn’t rely on long downhill stretches of ski slope. Instead, you zip along flat plains of snow, or cross country. Obviously your arms are the main driving force here.
Like the real thing, using a SkiErg gets your heart pumping without the stress and strain of downhill skiing. You stand in front of the machine, reach up and grab the two ski pole style handles and then pull them downwards.
Here’s a video that shows the kind of movement and workout you’ll be doing:
A tough, challenging workout
One of the best things about the SkiErg is that it’s just so different from every other bit of gym equipment you can get out there. It works every muscle group and is ideal for cardio fitness and muscle conditioning.
You can use it as a standalone machine, or in conjunction with your other favourite torture devices.
A seriously good way to get fit
You can get a serious sweat on in a matter of minutes using this machine. It’s great for building up endurance and burning off calories. The SkiErg is found in many modern gyms and often used in crossfit competitions.
SkiErg Features at a glance
- Develop all muscle groups
- Increase core strength
- Cardio workout
- Use double arm or alternate
- Can be wall-mounted, or bought with the stand
- Wireless connectivity
- PM5 console
- Smartphone cradle
- 5 year warranty
The PM5 monitor
If you’ve used the concept 2 before, you might just recognize the performance monitor on the SkiErg. While it’s not flashy or exciting to look at, the all-business console is extremely accurate.
- Backlit display
- Bluetooth connectivity
- USB port
The PM5 monitor tracks the basics well
The PM5 tracks the following stats:
And you can cycle through several forms of this data, crunched into charts, bars and force curves. There’s also a handy large print if you don’t want to wear your classes.
If I’m honest, I don’t use anything fancy on the PM5 outside of basic metrics like calories and time. You can really get into it if you want, and upload your stats online. There are also several word records such as the fastest time to to 100m!
Monitoring your heart rate
Bluetooth lets you connect your smartphone to the PM5 and that lets you use any compatible 3rd party apps with your SkiErg. You can also connect a wireless heart rate monitor and track your performance.
Who is this machine aimed at?
Skiers DO use this machine off season, in the same way Olympic rowers use their Concept 2 rowers. But this machine has uses for anyone of all levels.
Don’t fear the SkiErg!
It’s a real shame that this machine doesn’t get more exposure than it does. In any gym, you might find one, or two at most, of the SkiErg machines. While there’ll be a huge row of Concept 2 rowers. I’g guess a lot of people don’t know what they are, or assume they’re for Skiers.
SkiErg’s aren’t for Skiers any more than rowing machines are for sailors
The SkiErg is definitely not some specialist but of gym gear that’s aimed at professional Skiers. Of course, Skiers DO use this machine off season, in the same way Olympic rowers use their Concept 2 rowers.
But this machine has uses for anyone of all levels.
This might be a good choice of training equipment for you if:
- You’ve already got a rowing machine
- Just want a good all-over body workout
- Don’t have much time to dedicate to training
- Need to lose weight
- Have a few feet square to spare in your home
Getting in shape with the SkiErg: Just how many calories will can you burn?
The SkiErg does a respectable good job at burning calories. While it depends on how you use it, and how much you go for it! Here’s an average calories-to-time for a 150lb (10 stone) person.
- Every minute: 8 cal
- 5 Minutes: 40 cal
- 30 minutes: 238 cal
- 1 hour: 476 cal
One thing I like about this machine is that you don’t have to spend ages on it to get a good workout. As I have less time these days to workout , I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient. 20 mins on the SkiErg and you’ll know you’ve done some work!
Who makes the SkiErg?
The SkiErg is built by Concept 2 (yep, the people behind that rowing machine). As such, it has a lot of things in common. For starters, the build quality is the same as their rower.
Similar resistance to the Concept 2 rower
The resistance on the SkiErg is very similar to that of the concept 2. Why change something that works? You’ll be driving a large famn wheel around and the resistance is prrvided by air. There are also ski machines out there that use water.
Keeping track of your workout
If you’re like me, you love watching those calories tick up on the Concept 2 rower, or running machine. Knowing you’re majking progress, as painful as it is sometimes, is a gret way to stay focused.
The SkiErg has the exact same system where you can track how far you’ve skied, how many calories burnt off and much more. You can monitor your progress and compare your progress with other SkiErg’ers.
The PM5 monitor connects to your phone or tablet with Bluetooth and from there you can do way more interesting things as well as compete online.
What are the benefits to the SkiErg?
- It’s a full body workout (even your abs)
- Low impact
- Builds up your muscle strength
- Improves cardiovascular endurance
- Burns a lot of calories
- You’re not sitting down (great if you have a sit down job all day!)
- Build up core strength, hips and legs
- It’s easy to learn
Great machine if you can’t fully bend your knees
One of the interesting things with this machine is you’re going to get a serious leg workout but you don’t actually end up flexing your knees all the way down (as you would rowing or say doing squats). The legs don’t bend fully when you use the SkiErg, so it’s ideal for anyone with knee problems.
There’s nothing to adjust
Another cool benefit with the Ski Erg is that different users don’t have to adjust it. There’s no toe straps to alter, you’re not pulling pins out and sliding things back and forth. You literally just step up the machine and you’re ready to go.
Anyone can use it
There’s not many machines that cater for literally every user. But the Ski Erg is easy to use and suitable for the young and older alike. As for fitness levels, if you’re getting back into shape, or recovering from injury., this machine is a really good choice.
But there’s a real challenge here for the seriously fit also. It’s used in CrossFit, by personal trainers, athletes and in many competitions.
Different kinds of SkiErg Workouts
If the idea sounds simple, it is. But there’s a lot of different kinds of workouts you can do with a SkiErg. Part of this is down to the way that the you can move the arms independently. In skiing terms that’s double pole or alternating arm technique.
How portable is the SkiErg?
While it can’t be folded up like the Concept 2 rower, the SkiErg does have transport wheels at the back of the base. (If you go for the floor-standing version). Tilting the machine back lets you move it to a different place in the room.
Compact when wall mounted but not with the stand
It has to be said the SkiErg looks fantastic when it’s wall mounted and takes up hardly any space in that form. Adding in the base (an optional extra) adds a great deal of size to it’s foot print.
While it’s fairly easy to scoot around a floor using the transport wheels, the frame extends forwards around 3 feet so you’re not saving much space, and will have to step over the supports if you pass through it.
If they could make it so the base flipped up and it could be stored securely against a wall, that would be much better.
Skierg Video – see it in action
Negatives to the SkiErg
Now lets get to some of the bad points with this fitness equipment!
No tablet holder
The touted smart phone cradle that comes on the SkiErg’s monitor is a handy inclusion but there’s no easy way to attache your medium or large tablet. iPad users will have to work around the problem using a nearby chair.
The stand is expensive
By default, the SkiErg comes without the floor stand. If you don’t want to all mount or need a floor standing one, you can expect to pay around the £200 mark.
Verdict: is the SkiErg worth a buy?
The SkiErg offers a similar proposition as the Concept 2 rower. You’re getting a high quality bit of training equipment for under £1000 that will get and keep you in shape.
There’s very little maintenance involved (or assembly for that matter), the workouts are fun (and sweaty!) And it’s something that both beginners and serious athletes are using.
On the downside, if you’re not planning on wall-mounting, the base is expensive and adds to the machine’s foot print.
The PM5 console is a superb bit of training hardware and it’s connectivity options, and third party app support are fantastic.
The SkiErg is a great machine for anyone looking to get in shape and work on their overall fitness and strength. If it’s within your budget and you like the sound of it, you’ll have a new training partner for life.
How do you use the Concept 2 SkiErg?
Using a SkiErg is easy and fun. Like the rowing machine, it’s well worth working on your form and avoiding bad habits from the start. You’ll get way more from the exercise learning how to do it properly.
- Take hold of the hand grips
- Step back – so your heels are at the back of the base, if you have it floor mounted
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart
- Pull the handles down while pivoting at the hips
- To finish, drive your arms back into a straight position (you should feel it working your triceps)
Common mistakes to avoid
- Only using your arms
- Bending in the middle but not using legs
- Bending your back – it should be kept straight but not stiff
How to mount the SkiErg on a wall
Finally, here’s some questions we see asked a lot about Concept’s ski trainer. If there’s something you can’t find an answer to – please shoot us an email below.
Is this a good machine to lose weight?
Yes. The SkiErg is an effective way to burn off calories. You can burn just under 500 calories per hour on this machine, although sessions will normally be shorter!
Will the SkiErg tone legs and bum?
Yes. Although it looks like an arms only machine, if used properly you use all leg muscles and glutes will be toned up. This is an all over body movement that is great for those areas.
What is this machine like to assemble
Easy! And it’s not often we can say that. The SkiErg comes pretty much assembled. In fact there’s only 12 screws you have to worry about.
Awesome apps you can use with your SkiErg
SkiErg Review: Resources and further reading
- Find out more about the sport of Nordic Skiiing on this blog post.
- Check out Concept 2’s official SkiErg page here
- Find out more about how many calories you can burn with the SkiErg on CalorieLab
- Concept 2’s Youtube channel has guides and videos on the SkiErg
- Learn more about What is CrossFit and is it right for you? On NBC