The OG ski machine mimics Nordic skiing for a cardiovascular, upper body-focused workout.

A SkiErg is one of the best items of home gym equipment to add to your setup, offering a low-impact cardio workout for your whole body. Here’s how the Concept2 SkiErg performed on test.

Men’s Fitness verdict

If you’re short on space at home and looking to get some serious cardio in, it pays to go vertical with the SkiErg. It’s a great, low-impact, no-nonsense workout but mainly upper-body focused.
  • Low impact
  • Comfortable grip
  • Compact footprint
  • Cheaper than most cardio machines
  • Noisy
  • Small display
Man in red row and black bottoms using Concept2 SkiErg in gym
Ergonomic handles and a solid base (which is an additional expense) make for smooth performance

Walk into any gym worth its salt and you’re likely to see a tall machine up against a wall. That’s probably the SkiErg: a low-impact cardio machine that entered the scene back in 2009. There are a number of ski machines on the market these days, but the Concept2 SkiErg can lay claim to being the original.

Often associated with rowing machines – with the titular ‘Concept2’ rower representing the gold standard in that space – the company’s sideways move into ski machines didn’t require a reinvention of the (fly)wheel.

Concept2 SkiErg features

Much like the rower, the handles – neon green and ergonomically shaped for a comfortable grip – are connected to a flywheel. On the side of that flywheel is a ‘damper’, which can be placed at any marked number from 1 to 10. Put simply, a higher setting will let more air into the fan cage, which makes it harder to use. Because of all that air rushing in and out of the flywheel, the Concept 2 SkiErg is loud, so don’t expect a quiet workout. 

It’s fairly compact, with a maximum width of 52cm (20.5in) and a depth of 41cm (16.1in). It’s tall at 218.4cm (86in), so anyone with low ceilings should get the tape measure out to make sure it will fit. But compared to a treadmill or rower it takes up minimal floor space.  

Much like other cardio machines, the SkiErg has a PM5 screen (a small one), which is simple to use and pretty self-explanatory – although it’s worth getting clued up on how to use a SkiErg. There’s the option to change the units in which you measure your output (watts, strokes per minute, calories and distance, for example). Plus you can also change the layout of the display. You might want to work against an electronic ski pacemaker, do your own thing (‘Just Ski’) or follow one of the pre-set workouts. 

You can also connect your phone to the screen via Bluetooth to keep track of your workouts. You’ll just need to download the Concept2 app.

Should you buy the Concept2 SkiErg?

The SkiErg’s key point of difference, like all ski machines, is that it mainly targets your upper body. With correct form you should be recruiting your glutes and hamstrings, too, but it’s your core, shoulders, lats and triceps that’ll be doing most of the work.  

One downside is the fact that the floor stand isn’t included in the original price. That’s both inconvenient and expensive, as it’s going to set you back an extra £235. Not only is that a lot of money for a stand, but the only option without it is to wall-mount the SkiErg, so it’s going to be a necessary addition for most.

Overall, the Concept2 SkiErg is an impressive piece of kit that will help to condition not only your cardio system, but your upper body. It’s cheaper than most cardio machines (even with the stand) and doesn’t take up too much floor space. 

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