The SkiErg is a great piece of equipment found in most gyms that is specifically useful for training the aerobic system. The SkiErg also appears in numerous functional fitness workout routines. But, clients commonly experience difficulties in using the SkiErg.
In the video below OPEX Fitness Founder, James FitzGerald, explains how proper form will improve your SkiErg workouts.
The skierg is primarily a full-body flexion activity. So the effect will be quite similar to other functional fitness exercises such as:
Full body flexion often carries over into powerful movements – think ball slams.
What will all those concentric reps do for you? They will help you build up a lot of muscle endurance in the concentric portion of your hip flexion. Because of the lack of eccentric load, a heck of a lot of people can do the skierg. Somebody could start slow and easy with the skierg, and then they could progress and build up volume effectively. Learn progressions like these here.
A huge key for anybody who is using the skierg workouts to train the aerobic system (even OPEX’s MAP 10) is to ensure that all of the angles of your body close together. Proper form on the SkiErg includes:
You can use sound cueing to help yourself or your clients on the skierg. The sound should be consistent from rep to rep (once you get “up to speed”), and it should also be similar from right to left or else you may be pulling harder on one side or the other.
You can say that you want everything “collapsing” at the same time, like a ball throw. This is often a helpful cue because the connection to releasing the ball often helps people to move their body together and then finish the handles all the way through the end of the hip flexion. You can investigate collapsing on the skierg by asking:
Think about this example; if you have somebody who can’t do a front leaning rest (FLR) well, who can’t do toes to bar or knees to elbows, and has a weak side bridge, but you give them a lot of skierg, what would you expect from them? You’d expect them to break down in the movement rather quickly because they do not have the prerequisite strength and muscle endurance to maintain the synergy of the hip flexion and arm pull together. If you had them do 30 strokes per minute for 10 minutes, that’s 300 “broken” reps that may create low back pain or overuse in one lat vs the other.
You must understand the response that you are trying to elicit from skierg workouts. It’s not designed for strength training or lactic endurance training. It’s meant for aerobic work and skill development.
The skierg is all concentric activity that is a closed chain movement with all flexion. You need great core control and consistency of connection through the hips, lats, and arms.
Writing a repeatable aerobic exercise program can be difficult. Imagine learning the essentials to writing repeatable programs. Get an introduction to those essentials in this free coaching course.
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