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The Concept 2 Ski Erg is one of only a few products Concept 2 makes. However, as with Concept 2's other products that we've done in-depth reviews on like the Concept 2 Model D Rower and the ever-popular BikeErg, the Ski Erg is an amazing piece of conditioning equipment, and the be honest, the product from Concept 2 I use most in my home gym. Concept 2 has taken their practically indestructible flywheel, combined it with the well-loved PM5 Performance Monitor and made one of the most effective pieces of conditioning equipment ever designed.
The Concept 2 SkiErg showed up on my doorstep in record time thanks to Rogue Fitness' quick shipping.
I love a nicely branded box. It's not necessary, but it adds to the whole experience.
It's pretty obvious that Concept 2 used their engineers to create their boxes because everything fit in extremely well. Concept 2 is really doing incredible things in all areas of their business.
Although all of the pieces went unscathed, the monitor didn't fair so well.
Thankfully after a couple emails, Concept 2 sent me the new monitor within a couple of weeks (honestly a bit slower than I think it should have taken.)
All in all, the setup and unboxing was seamless and only took about 30 minutes which included mounting it to the wall.
The Concept 2 SkiErg is a relatively new piece of equipment in the fitness community and is not a very common piece of equipment you will find in many gyms. This may be in part due to the price of the rig, but I believe there is also an aspect of some people just don't know about the Concept 2 SkiErg.
Just about everyone recognizes the Concept 2 Rower that has been utilized in fitness community for years, but when it comes to a SkiErg, the knowledge is not as deep.
The Concept 2 SkiErg made it into the limelight in the CrossFit community on the final day of the 2016 CrossFit Games workouts. The workout included movements that included the accumulating repetitions on the Assault Bike, Concept 2 Rower, Concept 2 SkiErg, and double-unders.
In fact, Concept 2 rolled out the new SkiErg at the 2015 CrossFit Games in the Concept 2 booth for anyone to try it, but it wasn't until 2016 that it reached the competition floor.
Overall, the Concept 2 SkiErg is a rower flipped up to a standing position.
Concept 2 SkiErg is not just designed for anyone to improve their fitness. When looking through their website you can tell their target audience is skiers in the off-season looking to not lose their form.
For those looking at the Concept 2 SkiErg from a skiing perspective, the Concept 2 SkiErg makes the sport of Nordic skiing available for everyone. For those not familiar, Nordic Skiing is one of the most grueling workouts a person can go through.
Nordic skiing develops both strength and endurance. The exercise focuses on lower body as well as the arms and core. While pulling the SkiErg, a person can focus on a double, or alternating pull method.
But for those looking to just increase their fitness or to train for CrossFit competitions, the Concept 2 SkiErg should not go overlooked.
The Concept 2 SkiErg has come a long way from its first generation release in 2009. The original design became discontinued in 2014. The machine offered both options of being free-standing and wall mounted, one upgrade are the handles that are now used on the present-day SkiErg.
Concept 2 has made the present day SkiErg with strapless handles that provide for a comfortable, secure grip. The great thing about these grips is the texture won’t absorb sweat, what this reverts to is a constantly dry handle while you are pulling, when you yourself are not dry.
They have made these handles form-fitting to every hand and do not have a strap to wrap around your wrist like the original. This saves time and makes the machine very accessible.
Concept 2 has rounded out the present day SkiErg handles by making them Lime Green so they are easy to spot, grab, and pull.
One of the great things about Concept 2 is their flywheel and electric monitor system that the company uses across the board on almost all of their machines. The monitor system, PM5, is a very durable and well-built monitor.Each SkiErg is attached with the PM5. the SkiErg is ahead of the game too, with an advanced monitor that provides immediate, accurate performance data.
This Performance Monitor is what sets the Concept 2 SkiErg apart from other pieces of equipment and training devices like an Assault Bike. The PM5 does not let a person cheat by properly keeping track of effort, it keeps track of your progress, and it even allows you to compare your scores with others.
A great feature of the PM5 monitor is that it has both Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity. This allows you to connect to a number of different heart rate belts, fitness devices and apps. Concept 2 has also created a free app that keeps track of your workouts and even goes the next step of synching with the Concept 2 Online Logbook.
While working out, the PM5 provides distance, speed, pace, Calories, and watts for each time you pull. The PM5 also allows a person to choose between five display options: all data, force curve, bar chart, large print or having a paceboat/pacer.
The monitor itself is backlit which allows easy readability. The screen turns on automatically when a person starts pulling or when you press any of the button, and it does not turn off until quite some time after your last pull.
A great feature with the PM5 monitor is once you start getting the machine rowing, the monitor draws power from your output to increase the life of the batteries.
The PM5 also provides two means of storing your performance data. There is an internal memory in the monitor itself that you can store data or it also allows a USB flash drive hook up.
The SkiErg can be either mounted on a wall or it can attach to a floor stand. Wall mounting provides the feel of not having to deal with moving the machine, once it's set, it's set. The floor stand offers a person the ability to move the machine around the gym and is attached with caster wheels that make it even easier.
The floor stand is a anti-skid deck that will not move when a person is giving max effort.
If attached, it has a floor base of 24 in x 52 in which will raise the height of the SkiErg to 85in. If the floor base is not attached, the SkiErg reaches out to 83.5 inches. Concept 2 has made it to accommodate most wheelchairs and can still access the SkiErg with the floor stand still attached.
The Concept 2 SkiErg was very easy to assemble, and Concept 2 provides all the tools that were needed to do the job. All-in-all there were 12 screws that needed to used to put the machine together, it was not a huge headache like other machines have been.
It should be noted that the star-driver that came with the box was Concept 2 branded, something small, but goes to show the lengths Concept 2 takes on attention to detail.
The SkiErg is composed of high-strength cords in its drive system. This is different from the nickel-chain from the Concept 2 Rower, but these high strength cords are made to last. The cords are also extremely lightweight as well, which makes it very easy to get the machine to start.
These high-strength cords are attached to a rotating pulley system. The rotating pulley system allows a person to experience a multiple range of motion. This has allowed athletes such as the CrossFit athletes to pull in a familiar butterfly pattern rather than an up and down pull. The rotating pulley system forms to whatever your range of motion is.
With the combination of the PM5 monitor and the high-strength cords, the SkiErg responds to every output of effort to each pull. This allows a trainee to go as fast or as slow as they want. The spiral damper allows a person to quickly adjust the airflow to the flywheel, this allows you to change the feel of the pull to fit your preference.
This damper is the same damper you will find on both of the Model D and Model E rowers. The damper consists of a lever on the side of the flywheel housing, or fan cage, that controls how much air flows into the cage. The fan cages on the SkiErgs are numbered so you can set the damper lever to a particular number from 1–10, indicating how much air is drawn into the cage on each pull.
With a higher damper setting, it will allow more air into the fan cage. The more air, the more work it takes to spin the flywheel against the air. With more air, it slows the flywheel down faster on the recovery, which will make a person have to pull harder for the next pull.
Lower damper settings allow less air into the flywheel housing, making it easier to spin the flywheel. The only place the SkiErg has any plastic is housing the flywheel.
The damper setting can be compared to gears on a bike, the lower gear on a bike can be compared to a lower damper rating on the SkiErg.
Many people confuse damper setting with intensity level or resistance. When in reality it is actually the intensity that you output in how much you use your legs, core, and arms to get the handles moving.
This is true regardless of where the damper lever is set, the harder you pull, the more resistance you will feel. Because the SkiErgs use wind resistance, the faster you get the wheel spinning, the more resistance there will be.
Once assembled you will find that the SkiErg is relatively light, weighing in at 46 pounds with 35 of those pounds coming from the floor stand if attached. So if needed to move to a different spot in your gym, you won't need an army to carry it.
The width at the bottom is 19 inches compared to the width at the top of 20.5 inches, and sits 83.5 inches off of the ground.
The frame is aluminum with a powder coat finish. Compared to the Concept 2 Model E which is completely constructed with welded steel, while the Concept 2 Model D is aluminum front legs with steel rear legs.
Tough and built to last, the Concept 2 SkiErg can withstand rigorous use in Nordic ski centers, living rooms, garage gyms and military bases around the world. The machine is easy to care for so you can focus on using the investment, and not maintaining it.
The Concept 2 SkiErg is one of the most well-built pieces of equipment available on the market. The attention to detail that Concept 2 has put into this machine is second to none.
We do not have any improvements that we would like to see, however, there are some things Concept 2 could add that would take the SkiErg to another level.
The first thing would be to add the same pulley system that is on top, and apply it to the bottom of the machine. This would add an element of versatility and another range of motion to work on.
Another idea would be to have different handle options. The handles are already form-fitting and super comfortable, but having different handle options can add another element to the workout.
The last idea would be to make the Concept 2 SkiErg have different color ways. This idea is shooting for the stars, but the more options a person can have, the better.
If you find yourself in a position to fill out your gym space with a piece of conditioning equipment, it's likely the Concept 2 Model D Rower will come to mind, but Concept 2's relatively new piece of equipment the SkiErg should not go overlooked.
It's important to remember that both of these machines are fantastic pieces of gym equipment and I would recommend having at least one of them in your routine. But, if it comes down to one or the other, here are some things I would think about.
Overall it is going to come down to personal preference, having said that, my personal preference would be the Concept 2 SkiErg.
One of the great things about the Concept 2 SkiErg is that it's always ready. It's standing straight up or attached to a wall ready to be jumped on and start skiing. Compared to the rower that will cause a training session to lose time by having to not only adjust, but also strap your feet in to the machine.
Another aspect I like about the Concept 2 SkiErg is that the machine is great for shorter interval/sprint training. Granted, the Concept 2 Rower can be used for this as well, but again it comes down to accessibility and the SkiErg is always upright and ready to go.
The Concept 2 SkiErg also offers a trainer to choose the variation of how a person rows. With the SkiErg you can pull both arms simultaneously or together, depending on what you are training for. Compared to the Rower, a single chain/single pull machine.
The Concept 2 Rower has really been the rower of choice since its original debut in 1981, and has used the same skeleton model ever since. A very solid piece of equipment that will almost last as long as you do.
The Concept 2 Rower is used for sprint intervals as well, and when people work towards a 10k row, the choice is to strap themselves in and sit down on the rower.
Without a doubt, using a Concept 2 Rower results in a great upper and lower body workout. Rowing machines will work the rhomboids in your shoulders, trapezius in the upper back, lats, biceps, and pecs as well. It also involves the quads in the upper front of the thighs, as well as the calves and glutes.
This full-body accomplishment happens without having to put a lot of focus on the motion of your rowing. With the Concept 2 SkiErg, the machine offers a full-body workout as well with emphasis on the upper-body, while the rower has a little more emphasis on the lower-body.
Again, it comes down to personal preference. The Concept 2 Rower is definitely the more popular machine and has been used in a more variety of ways in the fitness community than the SkiErg.
With that in mind, I would still choose the Concept 2 SkiErg over the Concept 2 Rower.
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