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SkiErg: the full body cardio machine to start using in your gym sessions

6th November 2019

People tend to hit up either the treadmill or bike for their cardio workouts at the gym, though a wave of boutique rowing studio openings in London, like The Engine Room and Gareth Bale’s Rowbots, have encouraged some to rediscover the rowing machine.

Looking to mix up your workout? The next piece of equipment to incorporate into your gym session is the SkiErg, a cardio machine which allows you to mimic the action of Nordic skiing – it’ll prepare you nicely for your next trip to the slopes, too.

But it’s not just for keen skiers, the piece of kit has become a star component of many circuits-based classes. And for good reason – it’ll work your arms, legs and core all at once, giving you an effective HIIT blast in minimal time.

Lawrence Hannah, founder of Camden-based functional group training studio Metabolic, uses it in most of his circuits classes. “It’s a great piece of kit because, done properly, it’s literally a total body workout, using the lats all the way through the abs down the quads and glutes to the calves. It’s a cardiovascular exercise, so you’re getting your capacity burn and it’s versatile so you can use it for endurance or HIIT if you increase the intensity.”

The SkiErg has also become a staple at DW Fitness First‘s functional areas in London and is currently being rolled out to gyms countrywide. Tim Andrews, head of gym floor experience, says: “Most people would imagine because you’re using your arms that it’s upper body only, in the same way some people think that about rowing, but once your technique’s correct you’re engaging pretty much everything, and there’s big demand on your glutes and hamstrings.

“It improves power, strength and endurance, you can make plenty of adaptations too, like normal ski, Nordic style ski, seated, standing and it also mimics everyday actions, so you could definitely argue it’s functional.” Functional fitness is a term used to describe exercises which train the muscles in the body for everyday activities.

Though, he says, while useful for functional training, the machine is predominantly geared towards HIIT training. “Just like an assault bike, the SkiErg is perfect for fast paced interval training. Using the damper settings effectively means a SkiErg will match your effort the harder you push – ​great for minimum time, maximal capacity efforts.”

Or alternate between the two, recommends Luke Barnsley, master trainer at Third Space London, who uses the SkiErg in his classes at The Yard in Canary Wharf. “Longer efforts like 5km or 10km will develop aerobic capacity. You’ll burn more overall calories as your time on the machine will be longer overall.

“Meanwhile shorter efforts like 2km or 500m repeating sprints will develop anaerobic capacity (ability to work without oxygen), total calorie burn will be less, as you will be exercising for less time. However, you will burn more calories during the effort. A combination of both on different days might be a good idea.”

Keen to give it a go? Here’s how to use it:

1. Begin with your hands and feet shoulder-distance apart

2. Grip the handles with your arms slightly bent

3. Pull the handles down while engaging your core and ab muscles and bending your knees simultaneously

4. Keep your arms in tight as you drive down, extending them past your thighs 

5. Extend your arms upwards as you return to your starting position raising up onto tip toes

Check out our Concept SkiErg HERE

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