Concept 2 SkiErg Review (Complete guide and best place to buy)

Concept 2 SkiErg Review header

What is the Concept 2 SkiErg?

The Concept 2 SkiErg is a cardio machine that replicates the motion of Nordic Skiing. If you've ever tried Nordic Skiing or watched it on TV, You'll know how demanding it is on the body and the cardiovascular system making the Skierg a great piece of kit to add to your home gym.

Concept 2 has been making some of the best quality rowing machines on the market for years now, and they've taken their knowledge and their expertise in engineering and put it all into the SkiErg.

If You've never seen a SkiErg before, it can seem a little confusing at first. It appears as though somebody has just taken a Concept 2 Model D Rower and stood it up against a wall. 

In the SkiErg, resistance provides the same feeling of natural rolling movements and rhythm as nordic country skiing. Its all-encompassing workout of cardio, conditioning and strength works out muscles from head to toe and provides a great cardiovascular workout.

The HIIT workout uses a ratcheted flywheel connected to two handles. This can be adjusted by the damper on the exerciser. The console will record how many calories you burned and how long it took for you to finish your workout along with stats like your stroke rate.

You can pull the handles on either side at the same time or together, depending on your preference. Machine resistance is in proportion to how hard you tug, so it’s easy to go from a moderate effort to a harder one. It’s also useful for your aerobic fitness, or for calorie-torching HIIT.

The Concept2 SkiErg is becoming more and more popular in gyms around the world after featuring in the 2016 CrossFit games. Everybody knows the brand, because of the popular rower, so they are confident that the SkiErg is a worthwhile investment.

Building the Concept 2 SkiErg

Concept 2 includes everything that you need to construct the SkiErg in the box so you do not have to spend an hour trying to remember where you put your adjustable spanner! 

This is probably the easiest machine that we have ever assembled. It all slotted together as it should, the instructions were all very clear and there were only a few bolts to screw in. 

Attaching the cords to the pulley was the trickiest part of the construction but it still only took a few minutes. 

We were surprised at how easy the machine was to build and the quality of the internal components. This machine is not overly expensive, but it is definitely built to last. And, should anything go wrong with it, it seems like it would be pretty easy to get replacement parts and repair. 

For such a big, sturdy unit, the SkiErg is relatively light to manoeuvre and fix to your floor stand or wall mount. 

It took two of us around 35 minutes to build the machine and attach it to the floor stand. One person could easily do it alone. It would just take a little longer. 

Using the SkiErg

The SkiErg doesn't require much effort to operate, allowing you to change the level of resistance on-the-fly. If you feel like you're doing less work than in your other workouts like jogging or stair climbing, the resistance allows you to increase at any point during your workout without having to stop and make changes.

How to use the SkiErg

You can adjust the feel of your workout with Concept2 machines by varying the amount of resistance the machine provides. And, like with Concept2's rowing machines, you should start off slow and work your way up.

In the lower levels, starting a flywheel with less air in it will make it easier to spin up. In the higher levels, there is more air allowed into the system which makes it harder to start spinning.

This is so that you can feel like you are skiing on a flat surface. As you reach the higher levels, you will feel like you are going uphill as much more effort is required every time you pull the handles. 

Unless you are already an accomplished cross-country skier, you will need to start on the lower levels as it is very hard and will have your body moving in ways that it is not used to. 

Our Opinion

The Popular movement is the double-handed pull as it mimics that of cross-country skiing. As you are pulling down on both handles at the same time, you are engaging your lats as you pull your arms down.  As you start to bend your body, your core is engaged and as you flex at the knee, you are activating your upper legs. 

Shoulders, calves, lower back and arm muscles are all engaged as secondary movers and stabilisers making this a great full-body functional workout. 

Concept 2

The cardiovascular side of the movement is insane! There is not much time to get your breath back between reps and the flexible resistance makes it great for low intensity, steady-state (LISS) cardio or high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

We tried a mixture of both HIIT and LISS but really struggled with the steady-state for more than 15 minutes at a time because of the full-body engagement (and the fact that there is no TV built in to help us shift focus)

Interval training seems to be much easier and has a much better effect on the cardiovascular system and muscle activation. 

Once we had finished testing the SkiErg modes, we all went into competition mode to see who could ramp up the best distance in two minutes, and we all nearly died! The machine has a great monitor which encourages competition with the feature of a high-score board. 

The unfamiliar motion makes this feel 10x harder than rowing or cycling but you can guarantee the results are probably much better too. 

In conclusion, the nature of the movement makes the exercise great for a full-body, intense workout. It will be particularly beneficial to people that may have knee injuries and find cycling or running too difficult as a form of cardio. 

We can see why this machine is so popular in the CrossFit world. As, like the assault bike, it allows you to quickly ramp up a 100 calorie expenditure so it is great for circuits. 

Another great feature is the BlueTooth and ANT+ connectivity which allows you to connect almost any make of heart rate monitor. 

If you are thinking about adding one of these to your home gym or if you own a commercial gym, you should definitely buy it. It will take your cardio training to a whole new level and take your body right out of your comfort zone.

SkiErg Machine

You can even add a floor stand to the machine (at an extra cost) that will allow you to place it up against a stud wall or have it freestanding in the middle of your gym. Consideration has been taken with the design to allow wheelchair users to use the machine when it is freestanding. 

The machine is fairly lightweight so it is easy to move around when you are not using it if it is not wall-mounted as it is on casters. You don't have to worry about stability as the anti-skid plate will stop it from moving around when you are pulling hard. 

Things That Could Be Improved

The SkiErg is not only a relatively new machine, it is a new concept so there are bound to be things that will be tweaked and improved over the next few years. 

Popular opinion seems to be that a range of different handles and straps would be advantageous.

If these were coupled with a low pulley flywheel, it would open the door to a whole range of new exercises and allow for a total full-body workout. 

As far as design and functionality go, there is not much else Concept 2 can do. The display unit is already first-class as it is derived from their popular rower as is the flywheel and pulley system. 

SkiErg Design

The Concept 2 SkiErg is compact and will not take up too much room in your gym as it is an upright machine. As long as you have a ceiling height of 190cm and a footprint space of 55cmx45cm, you should be fine. Just make sure that there is enough floor space behind you to be able to use the machine!

Concept 2 monitor

If you've used the latest Concept 2 rower, you will be familiar with the PM5 display console. It allows you to set targets, compete with other users, create games and create custom training sessions. There is also a range of pre-set training sessions and biathlon mode.

The display can be customised to show the real-time metrics that you want to see and can also be synced with the Concept 2 app or your heart rate monitor. 

Is the SkiErg better than the Concept 2 rower?

If you have the space, get both! If not - We would opt for the SkiErg. It seems to totally destroy the whole body and is a great cardio workout. Maybe it's because it's an unfamiliar movement but it just seems a lot harder than the rower!

It is going to be a matter of personal preference. There is no doubt that the rower is going to activate many of the same muscles as the SkiErg but if you are using it as part of a cardio circuit with a bike or box jumps, the SkiErg is a little easier on the legs. It is also a much better machine for HITT. 

If you like to spend 30-40 minutes doing steady-state cardio, then the rower may be a better choice. You can put it in front of a screen, turn on Netflix and the time will fly. You can't do this with the SkiErg as your whole upper body is constantly moving up and down. 

Price and competition

There are a few other SkiErg machines available but they seem to be very expensive in comparison to the Concept2 and a bit harder to come by unless you use a commercial gym supplier. 

We have only ever used one other alternative in a commercial gym before and it was not as smooth as the Concept 2 nor did it have as many features. 

If you are looking for a SkiErg machine, there is really no other competitive alternative to the Concept 2, and at only £699, it is considerably cheaper than a high-end rower or treadmill. 

Where can I buy a Concept 2 SkiErg machine?

You can buy the Concept 2 SkiErg from any good fitness equipment manufacturer. The cheapest that we could find was Amazon as they were not charging for delivery and could generally get it to you within a day or two. 

Click on the link below to check their latest availability and price. 

Amazon check price

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