SkiErg: Using the Legs, or Not

Aug 16, 2017

One of the nice things about the SkiErg is that you can involve your legs as much or as little as you want. If you’re looking for a full body workout, be sure to engage your legs. The degree to which you engage them is up to you.

In Nordic skiing, a skier bends and extends her legs on every stride. Check out this video of on snow double pole technique from XC Ski Nation. These next two videos show double pole training by a biathlete at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont:

Double Pole Training Full Speed
Double Pole Training Slow Motion

Some skiers use a little less knee bend, as shown in our Technique Video. Or, if you have the flexibility and strength, you may find it more challenging to take a deeper knee bend than might be seen on the snow. If it’s comfortable for you, and you feel it gives you a better workout, it’s fine to do.

Note: If your goal is a fast time for SkiErg World Sprints (November 10–12, 2017) or a PR for any other event, be sure to test your technique ahead of time. Do time trials using the techniques you are considering and see which works best for you.

Here are a few drills that will get you thinking about your leg involvement:

  • Alternating legs and no legs: Spend a minute or two alternating between 10 pulls using your legs and 10 pulls with your legs locked. Feel the difference, and compare the power you can produce in each mode.
  • One-legged skiing: Alternate between 5 or 10 pulls standing only on your left leg, followed by the same on your right leg. The leg not being used can be slightly lifted up behind you. This is also a good drill for your balance!

Dealing with a lower leg injury? Or did you have a really long hard run yesterday and your legs need some recovery time? You can get a solid workout on the SkiErg with minimal leg involvement or even none at all. The SkiErg can be used from a stool or chair, or simply with straight legs, putting the focus of the workout on your arms and core.

The great thing about the SkiErg is that it allows you to choose the degree of leg involvement that works best for you at any given point in your training.

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