SkiErg Training for Runners
The SkiErg is a great training tool for runners, where you can increase one's propulsion force without increasing stroke rate or cadence. The Recovery Phase of the motion activates the posterior chain of the legs similarly to hill runs or track sprints. My athletes can simulate the stresses of hill sprint intervals or distance, without having to find hills of optimal grade and distance. The PM3 or PM4 is fantastic, allowing output to be measurable and repeatable.
A common cause of injuries in runners stems from compensating for strength imbalances. The SkiErg was intended as a bilateral exercise but can be modified by having the athlete stand one leg on a 4" box. Using this single leg technique you can overcome asymmetrical strength differentials in the legs, decreasing the risk of injury, while increasing performance.
The SkiErg is a great tool for maintaining your fitness level through injury rehab. In some injury cases, the athlete may not be able to run due to the impact forces; the SkiErg allows you to train without generating high impact forces. In the extreme cases where loading the legs isn't possible due to injury, the SkiErg can be performed on a stool or ploy box (Arms only, or Arms and Waist), allowing you to complete your endurance training.
Editor's Note: Jason Zagami is the USA Track and Field Distance Coach