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What is it, why you need one + the best to buy in 2022

What is it, why you need one + the best to buy in 2022
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SkiErg machines are one of the lesser-known cardio machinery than, say, treadmills gold rowing machines, but that’s not to say they’re any less reputable. The reason you may not have heard of a SkiErg is probably because the first one only launched in 2009. For context, the first treadmill was invented in 1952, giving it a 57-year head start. What’s more, SkiErgs were initially only intended for Nordic cross-country skiiers to train when they didn’t have access to a mountain/snow (SkiErg machines mimic the exact same movement used in Nordic skiing, which we’ll explain in a mo) .

Endurance and functional fitness athletes were next to join the SkiErg train, shortly followed by your average gym-goers (including us – big fans over here). So, what exactly is a SkiErg machine, how do you use one, and is it actually worth taking your off-piste routine and giving it a go?

What is a SkiErg machine?

As mentioned, the SkiErg machine hails from Nordic cross-country skiing. That’s where the ‘ski’ part of the name comes from. Andy Vincent, a strength and conditioning coach who often uses the machine adds: ‘Erg stands for ergometer, which is a device that measures the work you put in. Back in the day, this is the device that pro skiiers would use to measure their data and get better for their next competition.

‘Concept2 is the brand that founded the SkiErg machine. You may know them for their RowErg machine, the rower. The SkiErg uses the same concept as the rowing machines of the brand do, but you use it in a standing position, pulling down on two handles that mimic the technique used in Nordic skiing.’

What are the benefits of using a SkiErg?

Cardio endurance is the obvious one, but SkiErg machines also help you build muscular strength at the same time, as Vincent explains: ‘The SkiErg is an upper-body focused conditioning tool.’ Here are some more reasons you might want to try incorporating a SkiErg into your weekly routine:

  • It’s low impact
  • It can be adapted to suit different training types, from SMOOTH to HIIT
  • It gives your lower-body a rest
  • Improves upper-body strength
  • It doesn’t require much technical

    What muscles does a SkiErg work?

    Vincent cites the following muscles:

    • lats
    • upper back
    • Hips
    • Hamstrings
    • gluten
    • Heart (and respiratory system)

      The SkiErg also works your core since the downward pulling motion can act as a crunch.

      Is a SkiErg better than a rower?

      We totally get where you’re coming from if you’re wondering what the difference in the benefits of using a SkiErg and rowing machine is – they use practically the same movement (except you’re standing with a SkiErg), after all. As for whether a SkiErg is ‘better’, it comes down to what you’re hoping to get from your workout.

      Vincent gives the following examples: ‘If you want a low impact workout but have a history of lower back breadthe SkiErg machine might be better than rowing since it doesn’t put as much pressure on your lower back.

      ‘On the other hand, if you want a cardio workout, have no injuries, but your upper-body endurance is lacking, a rowing machine might be better since it still requires a lot of leg strength, so you won’t need as much from your upper-body.’

      How to use a SkiErg

      1. Stand with your hands and feet shoulder-width apart and hands slightly above your head, holding onto the two handles of the SkiErg. Your arms should be blessed.
      2. Pull the handles downward by engaging your core muscles, bending your knees and pushing your hips back at the same time as pulling. Maintain a bend in your arms to keep the handles fairly close to your face.
      3. Finish the drive with your knees slightly bent, arms extended down alongside your thighs, in an almost squat-like position, knees parallel.
      4. Extend your arms upward and return your body to standing to repeat.
        1. Check out this video for more tips.

          Best SkiErg machines

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