Why the SkiErg Could Be Key to a ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin Comeback

Muscle & Fitness

Why the SkiErg Could Be Key to a ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin Comeback

This week, pro wrestling fanatics were thrilled to see “Stone Cold” Steve Austin become “SkiErg” Steve Austin when the WWE legend posted an Instagram video of him working out on the exercise device.

Having made an epic return from retirement at last years WrestleMania, speculation has gone into overdrive that “The Rattlesnake” is getting back in shape for April’s show of shows, but whether or not Austin is hitting the gym to prepare himself for another welcome comeback, or just working on his conditioning during a well-earned hiatus from the ring, we wanted to find out why the SkiErg may be a top choice for the 58-year-young warrior.

What is the SkiErg machine?

Concept 2’s SkiErg was first conceived as a way to train cross-country skiers but thanks to its ability to work the whole body, it is increasingly popping up in gyms all over the world. The SkiErg is kind of like an upright rower. You stand in front of the device, pulling down a chord with either arm, in a similar fashion to handling a ski pole. “The Ski Erg was designed for conditioning and building explosive strength,” says Matthew Albert, who is a Level 3 Personal Trainer in Tunbridge Wells, England.

The SkiErg is great for building stamina

“The SkiErg is also great for building stamina, as it is a whole-body movement that gets the heart rate elevated very quickly,” Albert tells M&F. The harder you pull down on the chords, the more resistance is built up by its rear flywheel. The strength and conditioning coach also says that in order to complete a high quantity of reps on this machine, the heart and lungs are required to work in synergy in order to provide the working muscles with Oxygen. “As the SkiErg requires the user to use a large number of muscles, oxygenated blood needs to be pumped at a rapid rate to lots of muscles. This will put a big stress on the cardiac and respiratory organs, which if done regularly, and with progressive overload applied, will increase the stamina of the user. The Machine itself allows the user to adjust the resistance to match their fitness level and can go at whatever pace they feel comfortable at.” For “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, building up his stamina would be a requirement before heading into a potential WrestleMania match.

The SkiErg torches fat

Whether or not Austin is training for a return to the squared circle, he’s looking in phenomenal shape as his recent social media posts will attest. “The SkiErg requires the user to burn a lot of calories when performing the exercise,” says Albert. “This is because many muscles are recruited, in order for the movement to be completed. Of course, in order to lose bodyfat, the individual needs to be in a caloric deficit so by using a machine that burns a lot of calories very quickly, the SkiErg can be a good tool.”

The SkiErg is a smart choice for senior gym users or those with injuries

While “Stone Cold” is one of WWE’s biggest superstars of all-time, it was his physical ailments that forced an early retirement following that classic match with The Rock back at WrestleMania 19, in 2003. Austin was 38 at the time but had suffered with neck issues after he was hit with a bone-crunching piledriver by the late Owen Hart in 1998. The former multi-time WWE champ was also working with banged up knees and a catalogue of other health issues before calling time on his white-hot career. But, as we found out last year, the years away didn’t quell this legend’s desire to open up a can of “whoop ass” in the ring.

“As the SkiErg is a low impact exercise, the risk of injury is very low,” says Albert. “Especially for those with existing weaknesses such as in the neck or back. Performing exercises with heavy weights is much more likely to aggravate and potentially cause injury than a low impact exercise like the SkiErg. As we lose muscle mass and bone density with age, it is important to take into account exercise selection and be mindful of the stress we are putting on our muscles and bones. At 58, Steve will be more susceptible to injuries and therefore opting for a lower impact exercise like this would be a fantastic choice. In comparison to something like running, the SkiErg is much lower impact as it puts very little stress on the joints of the lower body, particularly our knees. Especially at Steve’s age, minimizing the impact on his knees would be advisable in order to avoid further injuries or weaknesses. For those with existing lower body injuries, the SkiErg would be a useful rehabbing tool as it can be used with very minimal input from the lower body.”

What if there is no SkiErg at your local gym yet?

Due to its bespoke design, the SkiErg is in a class of its own, so there is no perfect alternative if your gym is lacking its own machine, but Albert says a wise choice might be to work with resistance bands. “Alternatively, you could use the rowing machine in conjunction with battle ropes, or medicine ball slams, to get a similar sort of stimulus.”

And, while the SkiErg is a great addition to any workout regime, athletes such as “Stone Cold” also need to pay attention to their mobility. “With a history of neck and back problems, it would be advantageous for him to work on specific mobility exercises for those areas too, says Albert. “This in turn would allow him to perform the SkiErg exercise optimally with a full range of motion and not lead to further injuries.”

As regular followers of Austin’s Instagram account will know, the WWE Hall of Famer hasn’t just been working on the SkiErg. He’s also been training with circuits, building up his steps by using a treadmill between dumbbell sets. The star has also been hitting the bench and even undertook a weighted bag workout in a parking lot. Whether or not our man is set to have one more glass-shattering entrance at WrestleMania remains to be seen, but if you don’t get to see him on pay-per-view, you can always adopt his workout playlist, consisting of Megadeth, Metallica, Drowning Pool and The Cult. “Oh, Hell Yeah!”

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