Indoor Rower, SkiErg, or Both? | Concept2

Indoor Rower, SkiErg, or Both?

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Apr 12, 2017

Both the indoor rower and the SkiErg offer high quality exercise that is impact-free, user-controlled, and measurable. Both are based on exhilarating sports that involve legs, core, back and arms. Either one alone will provide a convenient, effective form of full body exercise.

What may be less obvious is that the two motions are highly complementary.

  • Skiing: starts with the body extended, then contracts the core, closes at the hips, bends the legs and finally extends the arms to finish in compressed position with arms extended.
  • Rowing: starts in a compressed position with arms extended, then straightens the legs, opens at the hips and finally pulls the arms in to finish in an extended position with arms bent.

They’re nearly exactly opposite, as shown in the table below.

  Rowing Skiing
Starting Position Body compressed, arms extended Body extended, arms bent
 ↓ Straighten legs Contract core, bend legs
 ↓ Open at hip Close at hip
 ↓ Pull in arms Extend arms
Finish Position Body extended, arms bent Body compressed, arms extended

So this is interesting, but why might it be a good thing?

The more you do of one motion, and the harder you do it, the more important it is to introduce opposing or complementary motions to avoid getting over-specialized and potentially out of balance. Consider a competitive rower in a northern climate: spending several hours a day all winter rowing hard on the indoor rower is great preparation for getting back on the water in the spring, but it can also lead to imbalance. Rotating in some complementary training on the SkiErg could help maintain a better muscular balance.

There are other less scientific reasons to include both rowing and skiing in one’s training diet:

  • Variety: Some people can be happy rowing nearly every day of the week all year long. Others just really like to have a little variety in their exercise diet. Being able to rotate between a day of rowing and a day of skiing—or even including both in one workout--can really spice up one’s fitness regime. If you’re working on a meter challenge, it can help a lot to be able to switch from one machine to the other, and you may end up with more total meters in the end.
  • Recovery: Switching between different exercise modes allows one set of muscles to recover, while another set does more of the work.
  • A Change of Position: The indoor rower offers seated exercise, while the SkiErg gives you a chance to stand. There may be different times and reasons that you will find one position preferable to the other.
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