Incorporating Ski Erg into Day to Day Workouts

Q: My question is around Ski Ergs. How might I incorporate use of this device into the day to day work outs? Please advise any thoughts on how the Ski Erg may complement my normal training program.

A: Your Ski Erg can slot into your ski sessions, the active rest sessions, or the strength/specific strength sessions, depending upon what workouts you may be doing on the erg.

The ski erg is a useful machine that can serve many purposes depending upon how you want to use it. I have one in my basement that I use to warm up for strength and then to add some time to ski workouts when I am limited to skate skiing on artificial snow at the local alpine area and my body doesn’t like me doing more than an hour on the difficult terrain for an easy ski, I will come home and put in another 20-30 minutes on the erg. I have also recommended athletes with lower body injuries use the erg for some distance workouts to keep their volume up, but that can get boring.

  you are using the erg as a warm up for general strength training, count it as part of that.

– If you are using the erg to help promote recovery after a workout, count it as active rest.

– If you are using the erg to replace a distance ski workout that for some reason you are not able to do on the ski trails and you are pulling steady for >1hr, count it as a distance classic ski.

– If you are doing intensity on the erg mirroring the specific strength workouts we may be prescribing, count it as that. (This may be very useful if executing the specific strength on rollerskis is difficult because you cannot find a good place for it or you do not feel comfortable coming back down a hill repeatedly on roller skis.)

Good luck and enjoy your new toy!

Joe Haggenmiller | CXC Director of Sport Development



You have also sent your questions to the SkiPost; here is their response:

Great question, overall there has been an overwhelming emphasis in general strength, specific strength and double poling among all levels of skiers from beginners to professionals.

A double-pole machine is a valuable tool in maintaining strength and isolating your specific strength workouts, which can be very efficient. Any time you have classic intervals in your plan, such as ladder intervals or threshold workouts, you can certainly do them on the Erg.

Another handy way to utilize the Erg is for warm-up & cool-down prior to /post a general strength workout (your typical lifting, plyo and/or bodyweight exercises).

The Erg can be used as a method to transform easy level 1 runs into a workout that focuses on more power & is more sport-specific. This can be a great replacement if running induces pain or if running needs to be eliminated for whatever reason. To do this, simply be sure that you are performing with proper technique & you have the machine set at a resistance that allows you to stay in solid level 1.

Many people think that double-pole apparatuses focus primarily on your upper body. The fact is, we know through studies conducted, that the legs (specifically the quads and hip flexors) become activated to as much as 89% during proper double-pole techniques using these machines. You do want to be sure you are using your core, shoulders and hips and not fall victim of the cocktail of techniques non-skiers exude in gyms around the world as the SkiErg has become more popular. Knowing that getting high watts out the the machine is very different than getting high watts with proper nordic-kinesiology.

We can certainly give you specific workouts as they align with your current training program, just send over some of the workouts you have in your plan and we can help you adjust them for the SkiErg. Let us know!


-Karmen M.S. Exercise Physiology, LMT

SkiErg Intervals with Sadie Bjornsen

by FasterSkier

If you have a lower-body injury, be it acute or chronic, training for cross-country skiing can be frustrating: there are so many activities which must be cut back if you are trying to protect a knee, ankle, or foot.

Luckily, there are good training options available, especially if you have access to a double-pole machine like an Ercolina or a Concept2 SkiErg.


Sadie Bjornsen, of APU and the U.S. Ski Team, during a SkiErg interval workout at her home in Anchorage, Alaska. (Courtesy photo)


“I use the SkiErg a lot because I fight with feet injuries, and it is a safe escape from ski boots or shoes,” U.S. Ski Team and APU skier Sadie Bjornsen wrote in an email.

Last season, Bjornsen won World Championships bronze in the team sprint with Jessie Diggins. This season, she is back to battling heel spurs. That’s why she has been putting in time on the SkiErg she has at her house, but she sees other benefits to these types of workouts as well.

“The SkiErg can also be really helpful on rainy days, super cold days in the winter, or just days that you want to rock out to some tunes indoors and avoid traffic on the roads,” Bjornsen explained. “It is an easy workout to get the most ‘bang for your buck’ if you have a short amount of time, which I also really like. There is no wasted time tucking on downhills, or coasting across the flats. Instead, you are on power mode from the start to the finish.”

And as numerous research studies have recently shown, double-poling ability and upper-body strength are more and more becoming great predictors of overall ski performance, even in freestyle races.

“I like to do a little intensity in my SkiErg workouts because it helps keep it fun and fresh, and I also think it really helps to build my upper body strength,” Bjornsen wrote. “Our sport has become really upper-body driven, so I feel like I can never get too much upper-body workouts!”

With that in mind, she shared a recent interval workout she did on the SkiErg — it’s bread and butter for Bjornsen. “I like to try to do this workout at least once a week all through the summer, and sometimes more if I am going through a period of struggle with my heel spurs,” she wrote.

It aims for an hour of total workout time.


THE START: “I start my workout with a fifteen-minute warm up. During this time, I often shut my eyes, and visualize skiing. This helps bring in true ski form, and feel my movements, rather than just fall into a ‘SkiErg-specific technique.’”


GETTING SPEEDY: “During this time, I will do some little ten-second increases in power to warm up my back and arms, and get ready to go hard.”


THE WORKOUT: “After fifteen minutes, I begin the workout known as 30-30’s. This means 30 seconds of intervals followed by 30 seconds of recovery, then repeat for 30 minutes. What may feel easy at first, quickly catches up after 10 minutes, so I always start this workout more conservative than feels appropriate.”


KEEPING IT GOING: “After about five minutes of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, I start to see a common number of watts I am exerting during the 30 seconds. This is where I set a goal. Maybe it’s 190 watts I am hitting, I want to continue to reach that level or more for the next 25 minutes of this workout. This becomes increasingly hard around 20 minutes, and requires a certain amount of mental power. The 30 seconds of rest begins to pass too quickly, and I find myself becoming really focused in my own little world… forgetting where I am (maybe a garage, maybe a gym).”


FINISHING UP: “By the end of 30 minutes of 30-30’s, I am pretty worked, and feel like I have just done a race out on the snow. This is when I bring myself back to my surroundings, and finish with a fifteen minute easy warm down to help flush my arms out.”


FINAL THOUGHTS: “Not only does this one hour pass really fast, but it is a really focused workout that feels like it truly helps build specific power. I always make sure I finish this workout with a little five minute walk. This helps flush all my muscles, but also helps make sure my back goes back to moving naturally after a pretty intense workout.”

SkiErg Ski Technique Form

Q: I’m a big fan of the SkiErg. When I workout I do a full crunch, bend at the waist and keep my legs straight, is this wrong? I notice from the videos that the demonstrators bend their knees and only half-crunch, so more arm involvement.



A: When using the SkiErg, following the description you outlined from the demonstration videos is the correct way to go. You want to have a slight bent in the knees – never locked legs. The legs and ankles should be soft and supple and the feet placed at hip-distance width. You want to initiate the crunch from the upper abdominals, so eliminate the bend at the waist.

It is important to use the core and arms in unison. Most of the power is going to come from the initial “pole” down when your hands are high, then follow through using the core (including the back muscles), lats and triceps. This is a more efficient way to double pole and will save you from back injury that can occur when you bend at the waist/hips. As you transition to this new technique, you may feel more involvlement from the arm, but over time you will become stronger and more efficient in the upper body.