Thursday, February 21, 2013

Product Review: Concept 2 SkiErg

I was all set to call this post SkiErg II Electric Boogaloo, but then I realized there was never an initial review.  This is a major oversight on my part as I have owned this machine for almost 2 years.  Put plainly, I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love it because it is well made, it always works, and it uses the familiar Concept 2 PM Monitor (Mine has a PM4).  What do I hate about it?  Nothing really...aside from the fact that it is an absolute ass-kicker to the extent that an alternative working title for this post was "Hail Satan".   After further consideration, I concluded such a title would be a google-fu dog whistle for  Satan worshipers, goth teenagers, and the like.  They wouldn't like it here.

Let the record state I am not a cross country skier.  I purchased this machine because I felt that it would be a great conditioning tool that would undo a lot of the bad stuff that endless rowing might do.  In fact I still believe this to be correct.  Rowing involves a lot of legs and posterior chain, this also hits the legs to a significant extent but majorly hits the anterior chain and also involves the upper body.  This is the yin to rowing's yang or something like that.  The SkiErg can even be used sitting in a chair for example to isolate more upper body or to work around a lower extremity injury.  It is important to realize that it only simulates the double poling action in cross country skiing and a lot of people may take issue with that.  Fair enough but at the end of the day it involves all the muscles used in skiing and it delivers on the conditioning side.  The worst I have ever felt in my life was after a 1k all-out effort.  Keep in mind that I have gone to great lengths to torture myself.  Concept 2 is very good about creating online opportunities to generate H+ ions and fun in the form of online competitions both with the rower and the SkiErg.  This month the "Tour de SkiErg" is going on.  Each week is a different race which you can do any time over those 7 days.  This week is 2k, last week was 500m and the week before was 5k.  Next week is 10k.  I can't wait till next week.

For less intense aerobic efforts the SkiErg works well too.  Longer intervals are enjoyable, the machine is not loud at all so listening to music is always possible.  As far as putting the machine together, it is no big deal and the instructions are clear.  You can buy a stand for it which will allow you to move the unit around.  This costs a bit more.  I opted for the wall mounted version because I am cheap frugal.  Using the machine is pretty straightforward and I do not find it to be as technically nuanced as rowing.  Hence this a great device for intense circuit training.  Why there aren't more of these things in commercial gyms or especially Crossfit gyms I'll never know.  This seems like just what the doctor ordered for those adult daycare centers gyms.

Do I like this machine?  Put it this way, if someone told me I could only keep 2 items from my gym I'd be hanging on to my Rowperfect Indoor Sculler and my C2 SkiErg.

If the floor doesn't look like this when you are done, you didn't try hard enough.


  1. Curious as to what those things are hanging beneath the window?

    1. Those are Ironmind "Captains of Crush" grippers.