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Ski Trainer 101: The HIIT Machine You Never Knew You Needed

ski machine benefits

When safariing through the cardio kingdom, there are a few well-known and loved machines you can expect to see. The air bike—the king of the cardio world. The rower, lurking and waiting to pounce. The treadmill, timeless and enduring. But lucky adventurers may stumble upon an unexpected creature: The Ski Machine... what the heck is that?

In this article, we'll channel our inner David Attenborough and discover what a ski machine is, its benefits, and who should add a ski trainer to their home gym. Step into a world of beauty, of wonder, of... let's just get into it, ok?

A ski machine is a cardio machine designed to replicate the movement and workout of cross-country skiing—minus the cold and the trees. 🌲 Ski trainers consist of four main components:

  • Platform - where you stand during the workout.
  • Cables and handles - where you hold to do the workout, designed to mimic ski poles.
  • Resistance mechanism - this adds resistance to the workout to make it more challenging and authentic. On the Blitz Ski Trainer, it's an air-powered flywheel.
  • Console - this tracks data, like intervals, calories burned, speed, and distance.

This machine provides a full-body aerobic workout and is commonly used in circuit and HIIT sessions.I know what you're thinking: "The ski trainer is for skiers, duh!" You're not wrong. The original ski machine was invented in a garage in Minnesota during the 1970s. Ed Pauls used it to train for a cross-country skiing race, don't cha know? But this unique machine is also ideal for certain fitness fiends who want to think and train outside the Box if you catch my drift. 😉

It's also a great low-impact cardio option for people with lower-body limitations and athletes of all ages and experience levels. Oh, and if you were wondering if all those hours you clocked on Wii Sports back in the day translate, there's only one safe way to find out. 😝When we say the ski machine works your entire body, we mean it.

Here's how it breaks down: During the initial pull or start, your traps, triceps, lats, and calves are the primary movers. These are supported by the core, glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings. And that's just the start! As you move through and release, you'll fire up your deltoids and pectoral muscles, too. Meanwhile, your heart is pounding, your shins are sweating, and you're getting a killer full-body workout in minimal time, all with no extra impact on your knees. It's a thing of beauty.This unsung home gym hero has a ton of benefits, making it a worthy addition to your personal lifting paradise:

  • Low-impact and knee-friendly
  • Suitable for athletes of all ages
  • Engages the entire body
  • Boosts cardio conditioning and heart health
  • Time-efficient training
  • Killer calorie burn
  • Year-round use for off-season training
  • Adjustable intensity
  • Low maintenance and easy to use
Read more about ski machine benefits in this article. You don't need to be a Wii Sport champion experienced skier to use a Ski Trainer. Here's how to use a ski machine:
  1. Stand on the platform toward the back, leaving plenty of room for full arm extension.
  2. Reach overhead and grab both handles in a neutral position, palms facing each other.
  3. Keep your arms extended as you engage your lats and begin to pull down.
  4. Hinge your hips back, allowing your knees to bend slightly as you pull down with your arms extended. Your back should remain flat.
  5. When your hands reach the side of your thighs, reverse the motion back to standing with arms fully extended.
  6. Repeat.

Your body should be in a quarter squat position with your torso leaning forward and back straight at full extension. You can also come onto your toes at full extension between reps to get a little more momentum in your pull. Remember, this isn't a lat pullover or a tricep isolation exercise.

Your lats will initiate the pull, but the movement of your body brings the rep home. Ski machine workouts are comparable to air rower and air bike workouts; if you change things up, you'll never get bored. Here are a few ideas to inspire your ski trainer sessions:

  • Interval training - alternate intense bouts of skiing with rest intervals. As you get more experienced, lengthen the work periods and shorten the rest periods.
  • Endurance training - set a steady, manageable pace and ski at a consistent rate for a longer period of time. Consider setting goals based on your favorite trails.
  • Circuit training - use this as your cardio machine during your workout of the day, mixing it up with weights or bodyweight strength exercises.
  • Race - challenge a friend to a race. Determine the time and distance and see who comes out on top.
  • Warm-Up/Finisher - use this gentle beast to warm up before strength training or level up with an intense finisher.

Flywheel-driven ski machines are suitable for all fitness levels. The resistance is controlled by your efforts—the harder you work, the harder it feels. This means you can scale your workout accordingly. Beginners can start with short working intervals and long rest intervals or scale back the intensity as needed. The frequency of use ultimately depends on your goal. If this is your main form of cardio or you're conditioning for an event, you can use it every day for 20-30 minutes.

If the ski machine is supporting your strength training goals, you can either add a few shorter sessions each day or alternate with your strength days. Adjust your frequency and duration as needed to suit your goals. Most ski machines simulate cross-country skiing rather than downhill skiing. There are downhill skiing machines, but they're highly specialized and not right for most home gym owners. Weight loss and body recomposition depend on nutrition, sleep, stress management, and the unique chemistry that makes you, well, you. However, this calorie-torching workout is a great addition to a weight-loss routine.

The Ski Trainer is the perfect cardio machine for home gym heroes who want a low-impact, variable-intensity cardio workout they can use year-round. Ready to take your conditioning to the next level?