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 June 3, 2010: Volume 11, Number 5
Should I strength train?
Strong like Bull-Specific Strength Training
Elite, recreational and novice skiers alike can increase their enjoyment and performance this winter by working on ski specific upper-body strength and strength endurance.

Whether you are racing, touring or backcountry skiing, arm, back and stomach (core) strength are essential to making the most of your outing, avoiding bogging down on steep sections or with slick wax, and gaining considerable time on your opponents (who aren't as well prepared as you). At the same time, while there is a place for beach muscles, that place is not at km 40 of the Birkie. Here are a few methods to gain strength that is specific to cross-country skiing.

Novice and Recreational skiers: folks just getting into cross-country skiing and those who ski recreationally - even those blessed with bulging biceps, can struggle on skis simply because they haven't built up the proper muscle groups in the proper way. The key is doing many repetitions using ski specific muscle groups. This doesn't require a trip to the weight room, or any equipment, or for that mater much an investment in time. Some favorite skier exercises are dips, crunches and sit-ups, pushups and, (gulp) pull-ups. Dips can be performed with a chair or, if you're strong, two chairs. Simply sit on the chair normally and grip the chair's seat on either side of your rear with your hands (so the heels of your hands sit flush on the chair). Stretch your legs out before you or prop them up in front of you on another chair (makes dips harder). Slide your butt off the chair so that your arms support the bulk of your weight. Bend your arms at the elbows as if you were lowering yourself timidly into a hot tub. Rapidly straighten your arms, as if the tub is too hot - and repeat. To make dips easier pull your legs in so that they support more of your weight.

With pushups, keep your hands and elbows narrow to focus on the back and triceps rather than the chest. With both exercises, go from a near straight arm to a 90degree bend. To make pushups easier support your weight on your knees rather than your toes, or do pushups against a wall instead of the floor. Pull-ups can be done in any playground, on a laundry pole, a stout tree limb, etc... to make pull-ups easier, put your feet on a chair to support some of your weight. In general you want to be quick on the up motion and slower on the lowering motion. Do one to three sets of 20 to 40 repetitions of each exercise. Stomach work is quite important and doing a variety of crunches and sit-ups in a virtually non-stop and varied routine of 5 to 10 minutes will yield big results in only a few weeks (Barb Jones, 4th on the current Olympic selection list, does an 8 minute routine of 8 exercises of a minute each, almost every morning. The routine includes a variety of stomach crunches and leg lifts). The whole workout can take as little as 10 to 20 minutes - and, done 2 to 5 times a week will really make skiing easier and more enjoyable.
Recreational skiers (as well as racers) will also benefit by using ski poles for hiking and running in the weeks before skiing. Kayaking and other upper-body intensive work is also recommended, but don't forget to try to combine upper and lower-body work in a ski specific fashion for maximum crossover effect.

Racers: Racers can incorporate all of the above into a circuit routine and will benefit by visiting a weight room 2 to 3 times a week and working on a more balanced selection of muscle groups as well as including a few power and maximum strength exercises into the routine - in addition to doing ski specific, endurance oriented lifts and exercises.

 Chasing Pheidippides

Ski Post readers are all familiar with "Ski Marathons" and vaguely where the term comes from, but what is the idea behind this? We find the word "marathon" attached to anything long, enduring and often grueling, and in running it simply means 42,195 meters. That distance, or the magic number of 26 miles 385 yards, was what it took to satisfy the viewing pleasures of the British Royals and few practical considerations for the road running event in the 1908 London Olympic Games. The Marathon run of approximately 40 km was introduced with the Modern Olympics in Athens in 1896; this was the ultimate endurance event celebrating the Greek warrior Pheidippides' heroic run from Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. to report the victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. "We have won" were the words from an exhausted Pheidippides as he expired. So goes the legend, or at least one version of the story, and we like it.

The 2,500th anniversary of the fabled run from Marathon to Athens takes place this fall. We are joining the event for hands-on research of the original marathon from a cross-country ski marathoner's perspective.
Why are we doing this? - The answer is simple;
This is pure, adventurous curiosity, It's about the journey, rather than the destination, and The wife signed us up.
We aim to outdo Pheidippides on one point - survival. We plan to do so by ski training for the upcoming winter and share a few points along the way. Ski Marathoners stay tuned.
Jon Engen
Master Skier, 3-time Winter Olympian & Enthusiastic Athlete

Nordic Dave's
  Patrol Loppet Series 
Greetings Nordic skiers and Nordic ski enthusiasts too!
Response: Ahhh Nordic! Where ya been Nordic, we've missed you?
Never mind mein kinder just sit back and enjoy a Nordic Dave Adventure Series tale from an old school guy participating in the fabled "Patrol Loppet Series". The Patrol Loppet Series is in full swing
this spring and not for the feint of heart or those looking for fun and frolic.
Response: No fun and frolic Nordic Dave?
Nein, it's serious business here... the Masters World Cup is only 9 months away.
Each weekend at the Patrol Loppet Series has consisted of a pursuit style race format with your Sunday's start position determined from your previous day's finish time. It's best this way no posers or wheel sucks to mess up your race ;)
Speaking of which, The Patrol Loppet Series is by invitation only and the start location is held in secret until race day morning at o'dawn thirty. This way it keeps out the undesirable element and of course we know who they are! 

patrol loppet image snow in shoe
Those invited were:
The Jacked Old Man, who unfortunately had to beg off at the last moment and is proudly serving his country on a secret mission.
The craggy old Norwegian from SV, who chose to bike race in SE Idaho and subjecting himself to all kinds of Poser lifestyles.
The Yodel Boy von Deutschland, alas he was too busy making Volkswagens, eating cake and dreaming of whirled peas...
Response: Did anybody else race with you Nordic Dave?
No but that is entirely irrelevant to anyone with an over active mind and imagination. You simply carve your finish time into an aspen tree at race HQ and see if anyone can come along and post a faster time by carving their time into a neighboring tree.
It's best that way time trials are for those with strong hearts and minds!
So there you are at the start, you strap on your skis and go! Today's featured event was a 35k skate race and Old Nordic was fully coffee'd up to let'er go!
The first few k are a climb, it's better that way, it sorts the pretenders out pretty quickly and old Nordic enjoyed getting after it.
After a while Nordic was getting split times from a voice just out of sight. He'd look around a bit but nobody was there. No matter Nordic thought, it's just old Nordic's head working off a hang over from last night's post race awards ceremony. 
 top view
Cresting the top of a 5k climb and driving into an open meadow, there it was again...that voice. Racer number 13? Nordic thought? Nope not his voice... Tucking through the woods driving through the turns on a long swooping downhill, it's time
to climb again up to the halfway point at Lake Creek Pass. Now the hurt fest is on! Dang who is this guy yelling at me?
Minutes go by the heart is revving high, the pain numbing, the climb to the pass a battle of wills who will give up first?
The pass is in sight the voices becoming ever present to cheer Old Nordic up and over. Who is this guy getting in my head and face?
A solid lead has been established and the chasers are off the back, reaching the turn around, Nordic's lungs are heaving and a bit of a drool is wiped away as he turns around to head back.
After the descent some troublesome fans (probably French) have chased a moose out onto the course to slow down Nordic Dave but to no avail as Old Nordic means business.
Just then Nordic see's his voice for the first time.... INCREDULOUS.... Nordic borrows a line from Kevin Costner and says "What are you grinning at you old ghost?" Yeeup it's McCabe he's been here the whole time cheering me on. Of course it's Memorial Day
Weekend and kindred spirits are not to be forgotten. It all is starting to make sense the extra energy, the hard push...Nordic smiles and gets it and pushes on.
The finish is less than 30 minutes away and it's time to throw down on the last climb lest he get caught by a vulture train of posers working together to bring Nordic back.
Nothing doing, Sean's smiling grin is helping push the pace into frenzy.
The valley below appears, the finish down below.... the finish line and race HQ central appears. The band and the beers have been waiting...
Stay tuned for more fascinating and exciting stories as told in the Nordic Dave Adventure Series.
Pretty in Pink
Rudy Glasses, Helmets & RX Direct 
If you watched the Giro d'Italia, you  wtinessed great racing and the top three athletes, Ivan Basso, David Arroyo and Vincenzo Nibali all wearing Rudy Project Glasses.
Ivan Basso pretty in Pink Rudy's.
Basso in Pink Rudy
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Rudy Barbazza
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CXC Camps and Academy
CXC Camps 
Central Regional Elite Grop (REG) Camp (July 3rd - July 9th)
 Birkie Junior Technique Camp (July 26th - July 29th)
Birkie One-Day Junior Technique Camp - NEW! (July 26th)
Birkie Masters Open Camp (July 30th - August 1st)
CXC Woman's Camp (August 13th - August 15th)
CXC Academy
This season Matt Liebsch (the winner of the 2009 American Birkebeiner and Top 30 World Cup finisher) will provide a duplicate of his training log, comments, and notes that corresponds with one week of each training period.  This, along with running tips, bike workouts, and narratives by other top-level Elite athletes makes the third installment of CXC Academy better than ever!

As you might imagine, there are many different applications for this type of open-ended coaching tool.  Some people who used CXC Academy include: 32 coaches from all different levels, 31 High School skiers, 44 Citizen Racers, 5 members of the US Adaptive Ski Team, 5 Elite Skate Wave Birkie Skiers, 15 Wave 1 Skate Birkie Skiers, 43 Wave 2 Skiers, 24 Wave 3 Skiers, 25 Wave 4 Skiers, 15 Wave 5 Skiers, 12 Wave 6 Skiers, 3 Wave 7 Skiers, 1 Wave 8 Skier, and 3 Wave 9 Skiers.  As the numbers indicate, there is something for everyone in CXC Academy, and we will be posting new information throughout the entire 2010/2011 season to help you get the most out of year-round ski training. CXC Academy Info

About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing see or email us at

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

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