Ski erg cardio fat loss finisher hiit workout gym training fitness power endurance

Torch fat fast with the ski erg machine

Want a fast, fun and effective way to burn stubborn body fat to transform your physique, as well as skyrocket your fitness levels to improve athletic performance? Look no further than the ski erg. An exceptional bit of gym kit often overlooked by most gym-goers, the ski erg delivers a complete full-body workout to help you sculpt the lean, strong and resilient body you want, says New Body Plan’s Joe Warner

Desiring a game-changing workout tool that will completely redefine your physique? Meet the ski erg. By targeting numerous muscle groups, enhancing cardiovascular health, and amplifying endurance, the ski erg outmatches several other gym exercises in one fell swoop, marking it as a highly effective workout for achieving the fat-loss effect and muscle-building result you want. Read on to discover how you can use the ski erg, and reap its remarkable benefits, to take your training to the next level and unlock your physique and performance potential!

TL;DR The ski erg is a powerful yet unappreciated gym machine that simulates the demanding and rewarding training technique of cross-country skiing but in the comfort of your gym. Use it to warm-up for your main weights workout, or as a fat-loss finisher at the end of your session to torch calories, build cardio power and endurance and hit most of your major muscle groups.

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What is the ski erg?

The ski erg, crafted by fitness pioneers Concept2, is a remarkable fitness machine designed to simulate the gruelling physical demands of cross-country skiing in your gym. It offers an intense, low-impact workout suitable for a wide range of fitness levels and goals. The exercise utilises both the upper and lower body in a rhythmic fashion, mimicking the skiing motion to offer a high-intensity cardiovascular and strength workout. Its uniqueness lies in providing the intensity of a winter sport without stepping into the snow.

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What muscles does the ski erg work?

At first glance, the ski erg may seem like an upper-body-focused machine, but it’s actually a comprehensive full-body workout. It targets your abdominal core (abs), back, and arms with each pole-driven motion, building robust strength and endurance in these areas. At the same time, the machine’s design encourages the engagement of lower body muscles, specifically your glutes, quads, and calves. The collective result? A balanced workout that promotes overall muscular development and strength. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research confirmed the efficacy of the ski erg for a full-body workout, concluding that it led to significant improvements in overall muscular engagement.

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Why is the ski erg so good?

In terms of health benefits, the ski erg is a goldmine. For starters, it provides a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) experience, known for its fat-torching and metabolism-boosting effects. It allows for a full-body workout in a relatively short time, making it perfect for individuals with busy schedules. It also enhances cardiovascular endurance, functional strength, and muscular balance, providing comprehensive fitness development. “Continuous high metabolic output leads to increased calorie burn and fat loss,” says The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.

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How do I perform the ski erg?

Start by positioning yourself facing the machine. Grab the handles, which represent ski poles. Stand tall with a slight forward lean from the hips, ensuring your core is engaged. Drive the handles down in a powerful, controlled motion, mimicking the action of planting ski poles in the snow and pulling yourself forward. Engage your core and glutes as you perform this motion. Extend your arms fully, and then bring them back to the starting position. This entire sequence constitutes one rep. Maintain control over your movements throughout, prioritising form over speed to avoid potential injuries.

See below for more form guide info, as well as some ski erg sample workouts you can try to burn fat, build muscle and improve fitness!

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When should I use the ski erg?

The beauty of the ski erg lies in its versatility. It can be used at various points during your workout session depending on your fitness goals. If you’re looking to warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up, you can use it at the beginning of your workout. If you’re seeking a high-intensity component to your workout, you can incorporate it in the middle of your routine, or at the end as a fat-loss finisher. Alternatively, use it as a cool-down exercise.

What other moves are similar to the ski erg?

The rowing machine and battle ropes offer a comparable full-body workouts. These exercises also incorporate simultaneous upper and lower body engagement, along with cardiovascular endurance. Battle ropes, in particular, are similar in the sense that they involve rhythmic, intense movements of the arms and core.

Is the ski erg suitable for beginners?

Absolutely. It is adjustable to accommodate a wide range of fitness levels, including beginners. Its low-impact nature ensures it’s safe for those new to fitness or returning from injury. However, it’s crucial to start slow and focus on form before increasing intensity or speed.

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What else do I need to know about the ski erg?

The key to success is maintaining proper form. Focus on using a powerful, controlled motion during each “pull” and ensure your core is engaged. Avoid hunching your back or using a jerky motion. It’s better to perform fewer reps with correct form than more with poor technique. As with any exercise, regular practice will lead to improvement in both form and endurance.

How to do the ski erg

  • Stand tall facing the machine and grasp the handles.
  • Lean forward slightly from your hips.
  • Drive the handles down using a powerful, controlled motion.
  • Engage your core and glutes as you perform this movement.
  • Extend your arms fully and finish with a strong pull.
  • Reset and repeat.

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Ski erg sample sessions

Here are three different goal-orientated ski erg sessions you can try to get the physique and performance results you want!

1. Ski erg endurance workout

This workout will enhance your cardiovascular endurance and simulate a long-distance skiing effort

  • Warm-up: 5-minute easy ski
  • Main Set: 3 x 10-minute steady ski with 2-minute rest in between. Maintain a consistent pace that feels challenging yet sustainable.
  • Cool Down: 5-minute easy ski.

2. Ski erg HIIT session

This high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session is excellent for improving speed and stamina while also torching calories

  • Warm-up: 5-minute easy ski
  • Main Set: 10 rounds of 30-second all-out effort followed by 30 seconds rest.
  • Cool Down: 5-minute easy ski

3. Ski erg strength and endurance workout

This workout combines cardiovascular training with strength training, making it a comprehensive full-body workout

  • Warm-up: 5-minute easy ski
  • Main Set:
    • 5-minute moderate intensity ski
    • 2 minutes of bodyweight exercises (like squats, lunges, push-ups)
    • Repeat for 5 rounds
  • Cool Down: 5-minute easy ski

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