3 Ergs and 3 Approaches to Cross-training | Concept2

3 Ergs and 3 Approaches to Cross-training

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Aug 16, 2019

Over the years, the RowErg™ has been used successfully as a cross-training tool for a surprising variety of sports. Golf, motocross, running, biking, rugby, tennis—just to name a few. Now, with the addition of the Concept2 BikeErg® and SkiErg®, there are three ways to cross-train for other sports using Concept2 ergs.

Approaches to Cross-training

Design your erg workouts to closely match the range of duration and intensity you see in your primary sport.


  • If you’re a road cyclist preparing for a long, hilly ride, you can use the erg of your choice and alternate hard intervals (the uphill) with more moderate steady work for a total time that matches your ride.
  • For tennis or squash, do sets of short, intense intervals, with longer breaks in between. Try this one: 4 x 30 seconds hard/30 seconds easy. Rest a full minute, then repeat several more times for your set.
  • For motocross, choose an overall time to match the events at your track. Find a pace that is roughly 80 percent of max effort, and choose at least 5 or 6 times to “sprint” at max effort. This will help both with overall aerobic capacity as well as anaerobic sprint speed.

Additional Training Load:
Use your erg workouts to add training volume and give your muscles some variation while continuing to train your cardiovascular system.


  • Mixed Martial Arts: Instead of resting between bouts, get on an erg for 5 minutes of comfortable rowing, skiing or biking, then go right back to MMA. This will add to the endurance benefits of your training.
  • On-water rowing: If you’re training twice a day, take a break from your boat every so often and mix in a little time on the BikeErg or SkiErg to keep your training volume up, and use your muscles in slightly different ways that are still pertinent to rowing. Note that the motion of the SkiErg is highly complementary to that of rowing and could be a good addition to your training.

Variation & Recovery:
If you’ve been feeling tired, over-trained, or are recovering from an injury, some easy erg sessions could be just what you need—especially on an erg that isn’t too closely related to your sport.


  • Been running a lot lately? Maybe you’re training for a long race but the legs need a break? Try the SkiErg. The SkiErg will still use your legs, but the movement will be easier on your joints. And you’ll get a good core and upper body workout, too.
  • If you’re dealing with upper body aches or injuries, the BikeErg is a great option as you don't need to use your upper body, and it can reduce the risk of reinjury.

Cross-training is a valuable part of a training program, whether used for simulation, additional volume or recovery. Concept2 ergs can help you incorporate cross-training into your fitness regimen.

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