4 reasons you should be adding the SkiErg to your workout

From cardio-boosting benefits to an effective full-body workout, here’s why you should add this underrated machine to your training

Man using the SkiErg machine
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to cardio most people will immediately hop on the treadmill, exercise bike, or rowing machine, but have you ever considered the SkiErg? Despite its odd appearance (it pretty much looks like a rowing machine turned upside down), it’s one of the best pieces of kit to boost aerobic capacity, endurance and it’ll also put your muscles through their paces. 

It was designed as a training tool for cross-country skiers, but thanks to its many benefits it quickly became a popular piece of kit amongst the CrossFit community, and thanks to the likes of endurance races, such as Hyrox, the SkiErg is making a reappearance in people’s training. From cardio-boosting benefits to getting a total-body workout, here’s why you should add it to your workouts (if you haven’t already).

1. You get a full-body workout

Although it may seem like it’s just your arms, back and core doing all the work on the SkiErg (and these are the primary muscles used), this is still a compound movement that fires up multiple muscles all over your body. As well as working your triceps, trapezius, lats and abs, Concept2 says you also work your back extensors, glutes, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, quads and shins. So, if you’re looking to engage lots of different muscles and improve your strength endurance, the SkiErg is a good choice.

2. It's an excellent cardio workout

Want to up your cardiovascular fitness, but hate the treadmill? Say hello to the SkiErg. Just a few minutes on it will torch your lungs and leave your heart racing. A higher heart rate and working multiple muscles also means lots of calories burned! On average you can burn up to 12 calories per minute using the SkiErg, which is around 360 calories per 30 minutes, which actually isn't too far off the treadmill.

3. It's easy on the joints

Just like the rowing machine, the SkiErg is another piece of equipment that’s low-impact and is easy on the joints. Whether you’re suffering from a lower-body injury, or your knees and ankles are sensitive to high-impact exercises (like running), the SkiErg is a great alternative. You can even sit on a chair whilst using it or kneel, which also makes it suitable for all ages.

4. It helps you learn to 'hip hinge'

The key movement pattern of the SkiErg is a hip hinge. It's a movement pattern we use whenever we bend down and pick things up, and doing so correctly helps us avoid injury, particularly in the lower back. By learning how to hip hinge correctly with the SkiErg can therefore improve your quality of movement and reduce the likelihood of injury. There are lots of other exercises, like the deadlift, that also use this movement pattern too, so it's a great way to nail the basics and then transfer them to these other exercises.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.