Guides Rowers Training Equipment

SkiErg vs Rower: Which Machine Is Better?

With the increasing popularity of rowing machines, more and more fitness clubs equip their gyms with these tools that can fit people of any fitness level. Due to its versatility and simplicity in applicability, some gym attendees already have this tool at home. Although, considering the diversity of rowing machines on the market, we wanted you to focus on SkiErg vs Rower models from a reputable manufacturer of rowing equipment.

So, today we’re going to review and compare two types of rowing machines produced by a well-known Concept2 company: Concept2 SkiErg and Concept2 RowErg. No matter whether you’re a professional athlete, a beginner in sports, or a fit athlete who isn’t interested in racing, to keep your condition, these rowing machines will meet your preferences and help you to achieve your goals.

Both Concept2 rowing machines will keep you healthy and fit due to low-impact moderately intense activity that will promote your health, physical state, and general well-being. Also, to finalize, we’ll make a SkiErg and RowErg comparison for you to decide what machine is a better fit for your intentions.

What’s the Difference Between These Rowing Machines? The key contrast is that SkiErg incorporates the upper body dominantly with vertical pulling and legs stable base, while the RowErg is a seated-position tool that targets most of your lower body with less arm involvement.

SkiErg vs Rower Machines

Skierg vs Rower: What Machine Is More Effective to Reap the Benefits of the Fully-Body Workout?

Want to work out the entire body, pump up your heart rate and fill your lungs with oxygen while the muscles stay involved in dynamic motions? Improve your endurance, strength, and cardio capabilities with the multipurpose rowing machines from Concept2. But, first decide which one, a SkiErg or a RowErg machine is a better variant for your everyday fitness and recovery program. With a detailed and well-considered SkiErg vs Rower review, you’ll succeed in choosing the equipment which better coincides with your expectations. Nevertheless, both tools aim for full-body low-impact training by enhancing an athlete’s strength and aerobic capabilities.

What Is a Skierg?

To start with, a SkiErg is a standing rowing machine that has two handles connected by a rope, so you can move your arms together or separately. Such movements imitate real-life Nordic skiing. Today, this rowing machine has become one of the most popular rowing models among pro athletes and gym-goers due to its ability to work out simultaneously arms and core greatly, and also legs (but with less efficiency) through a continuous range of motion.

SkiErg is a low-impact, high-calorie-burning rowing machine that helps you build strength and endurance by activating the entire body. The feature of complete control of the resistance makes this tool suitable for people of all sports levels and ages: the harder you pull, the faster the flywheel spins, so the more resistance you’ll get.

Speaking about its dimensions and portability, SkiErg can be mounted on a wall or used with a floor stand. These options enable the machine to be quite compact and easily storable at home without taking up much space. Wall mounting is made for a compact option, while the floor stand makes the SkiErg tool mobile. So, SkiErg weight is 46 lb, and a floor stand is 35 lb.

When wall-mounted, SkiErg dimensions are 19” width at the bottom, 20.5” width at the top, 16” depth, and 85” height. When attached to the optional floor stand, its dimensions are 23.5” W x 50” L x 85” H.

Display Functionality

Let’s see its interactivity and display functions. SkiErg comes with a PM5 monitor that shows an athlete’s performance data during the rowing and also saves these metrics to track the progress and compare the outputs with each workout. It’s also compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+, enabling you to connect to HR belts, fitness devices, and sports apps. It’s also possible to sync with a free Concept2 ErgData app and the Concept2 Online Logbook to keep you motivated.

SkiErg functionality

1. Working Mechanism

Concerning the working mechanism, it relies on high-strength cords in its drive system. The SkiErg responds to your pulling strength, so you can control your exertion and resistance. The spiral damper allows adjusting the airflow to the flywheel, so it’s possible to change the feel of the pull.

2. Range of Movements

A great feature SkiErg has is double pulling – two-armed and alternating motions, which enables you to practice different Nordic ski techniques by involving more large muscle groups. As a result, you can increase your aerobic threshold, burn more calories, and perform higher-quality training. Besides the upper body muscles, your legs will also be involved in motions while training on this rowing machine. Each pull engages the legs in a downward “crunch,” using body weight to help accelerate the handles.

To sum up the Concept2 SkiErg review, this is a decent rowing tool that fits a wide range of sportsmen and sports fans. Moreover, it can be easily adapted for people with lower body limitations or injuries. Still, they get full-fledged cardiovascular training, by working out their core and upper body from a seated position.

What Is a Rower?

The Concept2 RowErg is another option for the indoor rowing machine, which also can be applied by people of all ages and athletic abilities to get a full-body, low-impact workout. This sports gear operates like rowing on an actual boat by using a single handle and chain.

1. Monitor and Connectivity

This rowing machine is also equipped with a PM5 display that can be connected via Bluetooth to various apps, including the ErgData app. With this application, an athlete can set up their workouts, take part in the Concept2 Workout of the Day, monitor, and analyze their progress, and even more.

Monitor and Connectivity Rower

2. Mechanism of Work

What’s about the mechanism of its work: all RowErgs use air resistance that responds to the athlete’s effort on every stroke, enabling them to control their exertion and resistance. Like with SkiErg, there’s a spiral damper that allows adjusting the airflow to the flywheel.

3. Model Specifications

Generally, you can notice that there are two same models of Concept2 RowErg – Model D and Model E. The D model is designed for standard leg length with a 14” seat height, while the E model comes with a 20” seat height. Both machines are fitting for inseams up to 38”.

This rower is easy to transport and change its place throughout the gym or room, and it can be separated into two pieces easily with no tools for compact storage. It’s equipped with adjustable footrests that fit a wide range of shoe sizes.


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SkiErg vs Rower

1. Design and Construction

SkiErg has a vertical construction, while the RowErg is a horizontally placed rowing machine.

2. Muscle Involvement

Compared to the Concept2 Ski machine, the RowErg activates more lower-body muscles by offering a full-body workout. Meanwhile, Skierg primarily aims at the upper body with less involvement of the leg muscles. That means that the latter is a better option for a rowing machine for people with lower body limitations and injuries, and is suitable for those who are in the rehab period.

Design and Construction Rower

3. Type of Movement Incorporated

SkiErg engages extend-behind arm movements, whereas the Rower involves pulling movements.

4. Calorie Workout

When performing consistent and efficient strokes, you’ll be able to burn a considerable amount of calories. On average, with Skierg, you can burn up to 12 calories per minute which means for a one-hour workout you’ll burn around 500-550 calories. While with RowErg, you’ll be able to burn 622 calories in one hour of moderate rowing. The reason is that you incorporate more body muscles and do more movements with a rower. But, it works only if you perform strokes with a proper rowing form.

Concept2 offers users an adjusted calorie calculator on the website for you to calculate accurately the number of calories burned since it considers your body weight in the equation. It’ll show you more precise data compared to the PM stats because it doesn’t consider height or weight. Anyone heavier than 75kg is going to have a higher calorie burn than the monitor provides.

5. Popularity

Rowers are more popular than SkiErg machines because the rowing itself has a larger community, there are more chances to find great apps and training programs, unlike with skiing workouts. Although, today, “skiing” training is just growing in popularity.

Popularity Rowers

Skierg vs Rower: Summary

Pros/Cons of a SkiErg


  • SkiErg offers a more low-impact workout that won’t hurt your knees and ankles.
  • It can be used by people with lower body injuries and limitations. Even wheelchaired athletes can train on this equipment and boost their upper body and general endurance despite leg trauma or disabilities.
  • You can change your position and add variations to the basic technique: you can stand one foot forward and one foot back, then switch feet position. Also, it’s possible to work out in sitting and kneeling positions. This feature guarantees less involvement of leg muscles, yet it doesn’t affect the intensity and effectiveness of the rowing itself and the training as well.
  • Its dimensions: this cross-training equipment doesn’t take up floor space, especially thanks to the wall-mounting option.
  • Standing cardio rowing workout is much better than in a seating position.

Could be better:

  • Specificity of the machine: Concept2 SkiErg machine can’t offer an option for the specific movements that are common for a wide range of sports disciplines, i.e., rotation, swinging, catching, or kicking.
  • It’s not totally a full-body workout: as we already mentioned, this rowing machine activates most upper-body muscles such as triceps, trapezius, lats, back extensors, and abdominal muscles, which dominate in each stage of the rowing movement performance.
  • Can be troublesome to move around: it’s less portable, and it’s better to tuck it into the corner.

Pros/Cons of a Rower


  • Allows you to work both the upper and lower body simultaneously and equally for a maximum full workout.
  • Is great training for competitive rowing on water.
  • Is a great choice for professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts who search for a decent substitution for HIIT sessions, but with less stress on knees and joints.
  • It can be easily transported, by standing upright, moving around, and even can be broken into two parts.

Could be better:

  • Due to the large serving size, each tub only contains 20 servings.
  • Is technically a more “impactful” workout since it involves more action in the knees and hip flexion and extension.

Skierg vs Rower: When to Use Each

Both rowing machines provide excellent cardio and strength workouts that will suit everyone who wants to improve their physical conditioning, lose weight, boost strength, and excel in rowing techniques. So, these tools are designed for training for a world championship, general workout, recovery from injury, rehabilitation, and keeping fit for their particular sport direction. Manufacturers claim that no matter what your sports background is, you can perform rowing at your own pace by controlling the resistance level.

SkiErg provides you with a high-precision engineered cross-country-like skiing machine that still is getting popularity among rowing athletes and gym-goers who can upgrade their upper body muscles predominantly due to its upright position. No matter what machine package option you elect, a wall-mounted or with a floor stand, you will lose nothing by adapting it to your size and performance level.

Rogue Concept 2 SkiErg

RowErg also offers a great workout substitution for elite rowing athletes: like SkiErg imitates Nordic skiing, this machine imitates real rowing. This is a worthy option to train your legs by involving arms to finalize the stroke.



Is Skierg Better Than Rower?

These machines provide the same rowing experience, but in various positions: vertically and horizontally. It’s difficult to pick just one rowing machine because both of them can pump up your cardiovascular system and develop overall stamina and power greatly.

However, with SkiErg, you can try other rowing options besides the standard ones: the butterfly motion that is like a swimming butterfly stroke, one-legged rowing, and the kneeling version. Moreover, it’s possible to practice double-pole and classic alternating-arm techniques that simulate real cross-country skiing. While working out on RowErg, you can’t change your position or pulling motion, the mechanism won’t work then.

At the same time, RowErg aims to train the whole body’s muscles almost equally. Thus, it’s believed to be one of the best full-body conditioning workout machines.

Is a Rower a Good Workout?

Considering the muscles that are used while rowing, this makes it a perfect option for a cardio-strengthening workout and a huge calorie burner. With this tool, you’ll gain a high aerobic fitness level, boost core strength, and tone your upper and lower body through the wide range of motion rowing requires. Rowing is a coordinated muscle action that activates every large muscle group in the body:

  • at the catch stage your triceps, back muscles, and abdominals are working consequently
  • at the drive phase leg muscles, shoulders, biceps, back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings work intensively
  • at the finish stage abdominals, glutes, quads, and biceps with back muscles are contracting
  • the recovery stage engages the triceps, abs, hamstrings, and calves to return to the initial point of the catch.

Does Working Out on Skierg Reduce Belly Fat?

Yes, SkiErg will help you to make your belly tight because the abdominal muscles are involved during the start, pull, and finish stages of the rowing motions. Abs aim to stabilize your body while exercising and transfer your pulling power evenly. Generally, such a workout is great cardio training that is effective in calorie burn.


If you are searching for gym equipment both for cardio and strength workouts, Concept2 SkiErg and RowErg rowing machines will definitely satisfy your needs and even surpass your expectations. Both of them offer impact-free workouts with intensive cardio to enhance your stamina and performance. Besides helping your muscles become stronger and lean, these machines are excellent for you to burn calories effectively.

Considering the SkiErg vs Rower comparison, the most distinctive feature of SkiErg is its diversity, including working out big and small muscle groups in one session. While RowErg is an irreplaceable rowing machine for full-body development.

The ideal variant is training both of them, adding variety to your workout routine, and gaining consistency in tempo and strength output. After looking through tens of Concept2 SkiErg reviews and RowErg feedback, can’t decide what rowing machine is a top pick for you? Write to us your preferences, needs, and sports goals, and we’ll do our best to advise you on the best option among these products.

Also read:


  1. Strength testing and training of rowers: a review // Pubmed:
  2. Relationship between rowing ergometer performance and physiological responses to upper and lower body exercises in rowers // Pubmed:
  3. Rowing for Weight Loss: Calories Burned, Workout Plans, and More // Healthline:
  4. Effects of Strength Training on Cross-Country Skiing Performance: A Systematic Review // Pubmed:

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Tanya Shaiko

Author: Tanya Shaiko
News Editor, Olympic Lifting Enthusiast

Oly Lifting Experience: 6 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 61 kg,
C&J – 78 kg

I’m Tanya, and I just can’t do without fitness. About six years ago, I got into Olympic weightlifting and instantly fell in love with it. Weightlifting is like no other sport – it’s just you versus the bar. Driven by my unwavering passion for an active lifestyle, I’ve been eager to share my personal journey and sports enthusiasm with others. As a journalist and photographer, my interests come full circle, adding an extra dimension to the news column that I curate. This way, I keep my readers updated with the latest happenings in the sports world.

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