5 Must Know Upper Body Ergo Workouts

5 Must Know Upper Body Ergo Workouts

Get the most out of your upper body ergo workout with isolation exercises

If you’re unsure where to start with upper body ergo training, this blog will give you a strong foundation for isolating different muscle groups in your body and mastering upper body ergo workout technique. For the below workouts, your RPM should be maintained somewhere between 50-65. Anything below 50 may feel too heavy and cause unnecessary strain on joints, while an RPM over 65 may have you spinning out because your load is too light.


Workout #1: Arms Only

Before you begin, make sure you are standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your shoulders, hips and feet should be square to the machine. Hold the upper body ergo handles comfortably, there’s no need for a death grip! Make sure you’re standing close enough while rotating the cranks forward, so when either arm is at its furthest point from you, your arm is comfortably extended and your shoulders remain square. If you have to rotate your shoulders or torso to achieve that extension, you’re too far away.

Now, change direction while maintaining the squared body position and moving only your arms. Focus on engaging your core to hold this rigid body position. What you will notice is that you are actually performing two activities at once; your entire core is in a stabilizing lock down mode while your arms perform the activity. This neuromuscular multitasking takes concentration so take your time and be thoughtful!

Workout #2: Arms and Shoulders

The start position for this upper body ergo workout is almost the same as the one from workout #1.  Instead of keeping your shoulders square, allow them to follow the arms while keeping your hips square. Your frontal plane of the hips, legs and lower torso should remain still, while the frontal plane of the chest and shoulders rotate. This can be tricky and takes practice!

Workout #3: Full Body

When you incorporate your whole body into your workout, you use your entire body from the ground up to generate power. This is what tennis players, weight lifters, boxers, rowers, and martial artists are constantly reinforcing. To achieve a full body workout, you must rotate your hips in unison with your shoulders. To do this, your core must remain strong.

When working on your right-side, you can propel your hip forward by applying pressure from your right foot. If your core is strong and fully integrated, your right shoulder will drive forward in time with your right hip, sending power through the right arm to the crank handle.  Another way to visualize this is to put one hand on your pelvis and one hand on your chest.  Notice that your forearms are in the same plane.  If you rotate your body and your forearms stay in the same plane then you have maintained your core integrity.  If you rotate your body and your forearms from divergent planes then you have lost that core connection and weakened the kinetic chain; you will work harder to be LESS powerful!

Workout #4: Pushing and Pulling

The E620ST Upper Body Ergometer is a concentric phase exercise device. Similar to a biceps curl, the muscle is shortened when weight is applied, and lengthened in the resting positon. One benefit of this is that your muscles produce peak power with less resistance than their eccentric counterpart. They also incur less destructive muscle damage and soreness, and need less recovery time between exercise sessions.

It is also a tremendous brain workout. If you are instructed to push forward on the hand cranks, your brain and your muscles have a predetermined notion of what that looks like, and you push forward.  The same is true if you are instructed to crank backwards; you pull in the reverse direction.

Go back through workouts one-to-three and while you push with one side, try pulling with the other. Not only will your body be getting a well-deserved workout, but your brain will too!

Workout #5: Advanced

Workout #5 is not only physically challenging; just like workout #4, research has also shown it has tremendous benefit in neurological rehabilitation. It is particularly helpful for those recovering from a stroke, or living with Parkinson’s disease.

Once workout #4 becomes too easy, meaning your brain and your muscles have adapted to the notion of pushing and pulling at the same time, take it a step further. Go forward only by pulling, and go backwards only by pushing. Sounds easy, right? Not quite! Your brain and your muscles are engaging in a new kind of conversation. Just like learning a new language, it is going to take some practice!


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