HYROX SkiErg; 7 Essential Tips to Master Your Race

Image showing athletes competing at the Hyrox SkiErg Station

New to HYROX, or already a pro on the SkiErg and seeking a competitive edge?

This isn’t just arm-waving; it engages more than you’d think.

Ready to level up?

Grab a beverage and let’s get into the full deep dive of everything HYROX SkiErg.

1. What is the HYROX SkiErg

The HYROX Skierg is a full-body conditioning machine that simulates cross-country skiing. It works the arms, shoulders, back, core, and legs.

It is the first station in the HYROX Race and comes immediately after the initial 1km run.

You must ski 1000m to complete this station.

Once complete you have the following left to do to finish the race;

1km run,

50m Sled Push,

1km run,

50m Sled Pull,

1km run,

80m Burpee Broad Jump,

1km run,

1000m Row,

1km run,

200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry,

1km Run,

100m Sandbag Lunges,

1km Run and 

75-100 Wall Balls.

The Official SkiErg used in HYROX Races

Official Hyrox Concept2 Ski Erg

  • Dimensions: Width: 61 cm Depth 132 cm Height: 215.9 cm
  • Weight: SkiErg: 20.9kg Floor Stand: 16kg

2. How to use the HYROX SkiErg

To use the SkiErg, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the handles. Pull the handles down towards your chest, keeping your back straight and core engaged. Push the handles back up to the starting position, extending your arms fully. Repeat until 1000m is completed.

3. HYROX SkiErg Movement Standards

  • Before the workout begins, a referee must reset the monitor.
  • The participant is required to keep their feet on the platform for the entire exercise, although lifting the feet temporarily is permitted.
  • Upon reaching the designated distance, the participant should raise their arm to signal a referee for verification.
  • The participant is allowed to leave the platform and station only after receiving confirmation from the referee.
  • Distance: 1000 m

The damper setting on the ergometer will be preset to the following resistance:
WOMEN 5
WOMEN PRO / MEN 6
MEN PRO 7

These setting can be changed before you start but cannot be changed after this point.

For more info on any of the rules visit HYROX.com 

4. HYROX SkiErg Tips

Grip Mechanics: A secure grip on the handles is essential for generating maximal force during the downward pulling motion. A strong grip = better control and a more efficient force transfer from the upper body to the machine.

Core Engagement: Activating the core muscles contributes to overall stability and allows for a more powerful downward pull. A soft core leads to inefficient movements and potential strain on the lower back which reduces the effectiveness of the workout.

Breath Control: A regular breathing pattern can significantly influence output. Inhaling during the upward motion and exhaling during the forceful downward pull ensures adequate oxygen supply to the muscles, increasing stamina and efficiency.

Pacing Strategy: A carefully planned pacing strategy can greatly impact the outcome of your SkiErg workout. Maintaining a consistent pace throughout the exercise promotes rhythm and energy efficiency. Learn and train at your optimum pace.

Balanced Training: Jake Dearden (Hyrox Master Trainer) Reminds us that focus on HYROX training must be balanced across all the exercises without avoiding the less enjoyable ones. It is the total time that creates you finishing position so it is no good being world class in one element and poor in others.

4 more technique tips in the YouTube Video below;

5. Benefits of the HYROX SkiErg

Diagram of a human torso, illustrating the scientific benefits and targeted areas in a SkiErg workout.

Upper Body Workout with the SkiErg

When you use the SkiErg, it’s a great workout for your upper body. You’ll work out your arms and shoulders, especially your triceps, biceps, and shoulders. This pulling action helps make these muscles stronger and more enduring. It’s great for sports and even helps in daily activities like lifting or carrying heavy things.

Strong Back and Lats from SkiErg

Your back muscles, particularly the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids, get a good workout on the SkiErg. These muscles are important for keeping your back straight and strong. Strengthening these muscles can improve your performance in activities that involve swimming or pulling.

Core Workout on the SkiErg

The SkiErg also targets your core muscles, which includes the muscles around your belly and sides. Using the SkiErg helps keep you upright and strengthens these muscles, which is important for balance and stability. This kind of exercise is great for making your core muscles stronger, sometimes even more effective than other common exercises.

Improved Coordination and Balance

Using the SkiErg can improve how well you coordinate movements between the upper and lower parts of your body. This improves your balance and helps you become more aware of how your body moves. This is really helpful in activities where you need careful movements, like dancing or gymnastics.

Burning Calories with the SkiErg

Working out on the SkiErg is a full-body effort that helps you burn lots of calories. It’s an excellent way to use energy, helping in weight management and fat loss.

6. What Muscle Groups Does HYROX SkiErg Target?

An anatomical diagram of the human torso, clearly highlighting the specific muscle groups activated by HYROX SkiErg workouts, including triceps, biceps, lats, upper back, and core muscles.

Triceps and Biceps: The SkiErg requires both extension and pulling motions, which engage the triceps and biceps respectively. This makes it a comprehensive workout for the arms, promoting muscle growth and toning.

Latissimus Dorsi and Upper Back: When using the SkiErg, the latissimus dorsi and other upper-back muscles are efficiently activated. These muscles are vital for achieving the forceful pulling movements required, leading to a more productive and potent workout.

Core Muscles: Engagement of the core is crucial for stability during the exercise. The core muscles help in the transfer of energy between the upper and lower body, and their activation is essential for both balance and power.

Cardiovascular System: In addition to muscle engagement, the SkiErg offers cardiovascular benefits. The high-intensity nature of the exercise elevates the heart rate and engages the lungs, contributing to increased calorie burn, improved stamina, and enhanced endurance.

7. Common Mistakes in the HYROX SkiErg

Image of SkiErg with red cross over the top to signify Common Mistake in the Hyrox SkiErg

Overreaching: A common mistake is reaching too high with your hands. Aim for a position slightly above eye level, not up to the ceiling.

Excessive Arm Extension: Don’t let your arms fly too far back; the best place to stop the pulling motion is when your hands are next to your thighs.

Poor Posture: Avoid sticking your butt out too much, as this can place unnecessary strain on your back.

Lagging Arms: A frequent error is letting the arms trail behind your body. Keep a bent arm posture as you engage your core to push the handles down with proper form.

Poor Lower Body Engagement: Avoid bending only at the hips. Make sure you’re also bending at the ankles and knees.

Rope Issues: Be mindful not to ‘bottom out’ the ropes (Pull them to their complete maximum range), as this disrupts the flow and effectiveness of the workout.

Wrong Distance from Machine: Standing too far away from the SkiErg machine can lead to less energy efficient movement patterns.

Wrapping Up

Now you can consider yourself fully informed on the do’s and don’t to perform at your peak in the SkiErg section of your HYROX event.

Don’t forget to invest in the right gear and trainers for your race if you haven’t already.

All that’s left to do now is go out and practice, practice, practice and reread and rewatch the tips video as many times as you need until you perfect your skill.

If you’re new to HYROX try our 6 Week HYROX Training Plan for Beginners to get you started.

FAQ’s

What is the typical workout for HYROX?

A typical HYROX workout consists of eight workout stations, each preceded by a 1km run. The stations include functional exercises like sled push and pull, burpee broad jumps, rowing, farmer’s carry, sandbag lunges, SkiErg, and wall balls.

Will SkiErg build muscle?

Yes, the SkiErg can build muscle, particularly in the upper body, core, and legs. It’s an effective cardiovascular exercise that also engages various muscle groups for strength training.

Is HYROX good for weight loss?

Absolutely, HYROX is excellent for weight loss. It combines high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with strength and endurance exercises, making it highly effective for burning calories and improving fitness.

What is the hardest part of HYROX?

The hardest part of HYROX varies by individual, but many participants find the combination of the sled push and sled pull to be particularly challenging due to the required strength and endurance.

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