We all know that a healthy lifestyle involves including exercise in some form daily (at best) or at least every other day. While athletes and enthusiasts look forward to exercise, some find fitting workouts in a grind, and lack the motivation to keep a consistent routine going. One thing that athletes and enthusiasts have that those who struggle may not, is that they enjoy what they are doing. At Concept2, we believe that everyone can enjoy exercise, whether it seems to come naturally or not, and finding the right workout method for you is also about finding the workout option that you enjoy the most.
The winter period is a particularly challenging time to enjoy exercise, especially if this typically isn’t your strong point. The daylight hours reduce (not always enticing to exercise outside in the dark!), the temperatures drop and the wet weather rolls in, all of which somewhat diminish the charms of exercising outdoors. With that in mind, we run through three indoor workout options offered by our Concept2 machines, and what can make them uniquely enjoyable to suit your personal preference.
The Indoor Rower
There is a reason why the Concept2 Indoor Rower is a fixture in gyms and sports clubs around the country! Not only does this machine provide a comprehensive strength and cardio workout for the whole body, but it is also a challenging, enjoyable machine to exercise on for many reasons, including the following…
Technique: Some like to tune out when the exercise, while others like to have something to focus on to make the time fly by. The Indoor Rower is great for those who enjoy mental stimulation along with your workout, as coordinating the technique involved in rowing proficiently requires a certain level of focus. As you advance technically, experiment with changes in stroke rate to continue to develop your rowing technique and test your skills under pressure. There is no shortage of challenges available on the Indoor Rower, and getting the technique down is a great first step on the journey to mastering the machine. For more information on rowing technique click here.
An enjoyable and mentally stimulating workout, the indoor rower is also easy to pack away when you are done.
Rhythm: Exercise on the Indoor Rower offers a rhythmical experience that is quite unique amongst other forms of exercise. Because the drive and recovery are two distinct phases of the stroke, the body has time to prepare for each new stroke, while also timing the start and finish of the stroke consistently and repetitively. This not only gives you a moment to relax and prepare on the recovery, but also generates a rhythmical sensation that can give the feeling of active meditation. This sensation is compromised in high intensity workouts, but if rhythm is important to your enjoyment of exercise, steady training on the Indoor Rower is a great option.
Take a Seat: We all have days where we just don’t feel like getting up. One of the most obvious perks of the Indoor Rower is that it provides an amazing workout without even having to stand! As a result, there is no impact involved meaning you don’t have to worry about post-exercise aches and pains or be concerned about sensitive joints or impact injuries. The Indoor Rower offers an incredible workout, without putting your body through the added discomfort of supporting itself under load, a persuasive bonus if discomfort due to impact is ruining your enjoyment of exercise.
The Concept2 SkiErg offers a versatile, functional workout that has transcended the sport it was designed for (Cross-country skiing) to feature in training rooms of various sports all around the country! Much like the Indoor Rower, the SkiErg works the whole body, developing strength and working the cardio system all at the same time. There also some key aspects that set the SkiErg apart from other forms of exercise, that might make it the perfect machine for you!
High Turnover: Perhaps you prefer to keep your workouts short and sharp? The SkiErg is a great option for you! The SkiErg stoke is compact and dynamic, allowing you to rev up the stroke rate and get your heart rate up and running quickly. Due to the nature of the SkiErg stroke, you also get a rest phase between each stroke as you prepare for the next, giving you a sense of rhythm and timing that can make churning out 1000m seem achievable, yet satisfyingly demanding.
The SkiErg offers an adaptable and variable workout to help keep your workout interesting
Technique Variety: While there is a standard technique (double pole) used for SkiErg workouts, there are also many other variations which can make for a mentally-stimulating workout. The single pole exercise, where the arms alternate stroke for stroke (check out this video for a demo) is a great option for variety that challenges coordination while acting to break up the workout and keep things interesting.
Stand Without Impact: As a standing workout, the SkiErg is the complete opposite to the Indoor Rower, but it still offers the benefits of impact-free exercise that can help keep joints and muscles feeling good in between workouts. If you work in an office, or another role that requires you to sit all day long, the SkiErg as an upright machine offers the chance to stretch your legs- a welcome relief to those who don’t enjoy being cooped up all day. However, if for some reason you would rather sit that’s no problem either- the SkiErg can still be an effective workout seated when paired with a stool, an especially helpful adaptation if you have sustained an injury or just want to give your legs a rest.
The newest edition to the Concept2 family, there is a lot to love about the BikeErg! From the smooth, realistic feel of the flywheel underfoot, to the comfort or a fully customizable machine, the BikeErg offers a great workout experience for both cyclists and recreational trainers alike. We list some of the lesser known features of the BikeErg, which might make it the machine of choice for you.
Watch While You Ride: Not everyone likes to push their limits in every workout (although you can certainly do that too on the BikeErg), sometimes you just want to get what you need to do done while catching up on Netflix or squeezing in some reading time. On days like these, the option of setting your phone up with a video on the smartphone cradle, or positioning the BikeErg in front of the TV, is exactly what you need to push on and get the workout done. Unlike the Indoor Rower and SkiErg, technique on the BikeErg is free of the complications of coordinating your whole body and relatively easy to grasp, so you can enjoy some entertainment while you pedal.
The BikeErg offers to perfect workout to push your limits, or to pair with entertainment. Try the compatible Zwift app for a virtual reality cycling experience.
Hand-Free Comfort: Although the Indoor Rower and SkiErg are impressive in their inclusion of every major muscle groups in one workout movement, sometimes it can be useful to have your hands free. Whether you are expecting a call and need to be by the phone, like to keep a sweat towel and drink bottle handy when you push your limits, or simply prefer to have the option to adjust your position and stay comfortable, the BikeErg as a ‘hands-free’ option might be just what you need to enjoy exercise a little more. Speaking of comfort- while other spin bikes might lump you with a hard, uncomfortable seat, the BikeErg seat-post is designed to accommodate any seat on the market, meaning you can find the perfect fit just for you.
Join Zwift: Whether you are a cycling fanatic, or just enjoy the spin bike when you can, you are going to want to try Zwift. Designed as an active virtual reality game for cyclists on stationary bikes, Zwift takes you on rides across various terrains and courses, all over the world from the comfort of your own home. Not only that, Zwift is compatible with the Concept2 PM5 Monitor, dictating your speed in the game allowing you to compare yourself to other cyclists you come across on your travels- all real people training just like you! Not only does Zwift help distract you from the monotony of training inside, but it also welcomes you to a whole community of virtual cyclists to ride with, race, or compare- you choose! With the Concept2 BikeErg and PM5 monitor you are equipped with all the data you need to make the most of the virtual cycling experience, and bring some extra enjoyment to your workout!