Skip to main content

aROW and aSKI

The aROW and aSKI are adaptations that allow people with spinal cord injuries and other mobility impairments to exercise using commercially available exercise equipment. Both of these adapted machines provide cardiovascular exercise and can help build strength for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and other mobility impairments requiring use of a wheelchair.


The aROW is an adapted rowing machine, consisting of a support arm that connects to the front end of a standard Concept2 rowing ergometer. The arm provides adjustable chest and lap supports to stabilize users while exercising from a wheelchair .


The aSKI is an adapted ski machine that connects to the Concept2 ski ergometer. The lap pad can be adjusted to stabilizes a wheelchair user, allowing them to optimize their workout.

The aROW and aSKI can also be used for seated exercise by seniors and those with physical limitations that prevent them from using a standard rowing machine.

Currently there are 14 sets of aROW and aSKI machines in community gyms across Canada (see list below) as part of our ongoing research on accessible exercise.

The BCIT Rehabilitation Engineering Design Lab (REDLab) specializes in applied research that aims to find solutions and provide commercially viable products in a timely way. Creating an inexpensive and accessible device were key requirements for the aROW.

BCIT researcher Dr. Jaimie Borisoff is the former Canada Research Chair in Rehabilitation Engineering Design, an ICORD Principal Investigator, and someone who lives with an SCI. The project involved a collaboration with SFU researcher, ICORD Principal Investigator and project lead Dr. Carolyn Sparrey, to develop a rowing ergometer for people with disabilities. Co-investigators were:

  • Dr. Bonita Sawatzky, UBC researcher and ICORD Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Ben Mortenson, Associate Professor, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, UBC
  • Dr. James Laskin, Research Associate, Occupational Therapy, UBC and Professor, School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Montana
  • Dr. Andrea Bundun, Assistant Professor and Faculty Director for PARC School of Kinesiology, UBC

The project was funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.