Takinging it slow with my Concept2 SkiErg
April 28, 2019
When I bought a Concept2 SkiErg, I thought I would spend so much time using it. But the SkiErg is extremely unique. There’s very little-to-no crossover like there is between cycling and the rowing machine and the rowing machine and the seated row.
While a newbie might easily sail along for an easy hour on a bike, an elliptical, or even the torturous erg, the SkiErg hits a lot of secondary muscles in addition to the gluteus maximus and rectus femoris muscles that get the most used during the squatting phase of the cycle.
And, before you tell me that the SkiErg is a lot like the Triceps Pushdown, apparently you’re doing it wrong.
Done properly, using the entire body and targeting the anterior chain and the core, the SkiErg hits the lats, triceps, abdominals, pecs, biceps, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and lower back.
In short, if you really turn up the gas, the double pole ski technique is the diametric opposite of the Concept2 indoor rower–the ubiquitous rowing ergometer, AKA the erg. It’s hitting all the muscles and muscle groups that I have been ignoring on the bike so I feel feeble and puny and ill-equipped to maximize my SkiErg workouts.
Over the last six months, I have been working really hard on my heart health, my fitness, my stamina, and all muscles that have always been in my wheelhouse–my quads, calves, and glutes–my lats, triceps, abdominals, pecs, biceps, and hamstrings, and lower back don’t get the daily workout they deserve.
So, I haven’t been as true blue as I would have liked. I have been tentative. I have the SkiErg set up right astride my treadmill desk so that I can take 10-20-minute breaks to jump onto the SkiErg and double-pole-ski as hard as I can for as long as possible. And then, when I am done, after logging my heart rate and everything else via the ErgData app, I put everything away until the next break.
I feel like the final ingredient is persistence and not being either frustrated or disheartened by it all. When I first got back into Spin at CYCLEBAR Columbia Pike, I was DFL, just as I am in 5k and 10k races.
While I am a back-of-the-pack kind of guy, I must admit that there’s a major difference between knowing your body and being so frustrated by a lack of progress and growth that you become discouraged and want to give up.
I had felt that was with both the 24kg kettlebell (I was reverting to 12kg and 16kg bells instead of progressing into the 24kg, 32kg, and 40kg territory.
I felt–and still feel–the same about the SkiErg. I pull and I pull and I ski and I ski and I just can’t seem to get my heart rate up to 140, 150, 160, 170!
I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I feel like maybe I am still just too week in the core, the abs, the arms, and the lats that just I can’t get the steam up to where I need to to really get my heart rate up, to get into zone 4 or zone 5.
Instead of walking away from this amazing piece of world-class equipment, I’m writing this blog post as sort of love letter to the Concept2 SkiErg.
Maybe the next love letter I write will be to my Kettlebells and to my Erg, but for now, I want to commit at least a couple hours every day to this really weird cross country skiing trainer.