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 June 10, 2010: Volume 11, Number 6
Specific Strength part 2
Strong like Bull - By Pete Vordenberg For SkiPost in 2001
The area where most racers can make grand strength gains is in specific strength. Specific strength is carried out on rollerskis and on skis. It is doing long distance efforts as well as shorter (interval like) repeats using the upper-body only.

Classical distance workouts of 30mins to 2+ hours where one double-poles only or double-poles with a kick only are very important to developing upper-body strength (Every Thursday Olympic contender Barb Jones does a 20 mile double-pole only workout - ten miles all up hill with some very steep sections and then 10 miles back down.) Skate distance workouts where one uses only the V2 technique accomplishes a similar thing.

It is best to take on challenging terrain so that a variety of tempos, and techniques (within double-poling, V2, etc) can be used, even if that means struggling over the tops of a few hills here and there. Shorter, repetitious sessions are also very important, and for most skiers who are comfortable at a medium intensity, doing harder repetitions will absolutely help increase speed as well as strength. There are a number of on ski/rollerski exercises to practice in a specific strength session. The first is double-pole sprints of 15seconds to 2minutes. Use both flat terrain and gradual to very steep up-hills.

The second is single-pole drills where one uses the arms much as one would while classical striding, only using the trunk a bit more actively and not using the legs at all. As with double-poling, efforts can range from an all out 15seconds to a more race like 2-3minutes.
The third is simple double-pole with a kick for sprints and longer intervals as well as distance sessions.

Other exercises are Nerds (standing stalk-up right, locking the elbows at the side and using the triceps only - so called because they look nerdy). Stomach only (double-pole, but lock your arms next to your body and crunch down with your stomach - only really good on a very steep up-hill - and even nerdier looking than nerds). Back only (stay up-right, lock your arms out fairly straight and push the arms through, in a stiff double-pole motion, without compressing with the upper-body at all).
Personally I only do double-pole, single-pole, double-pole with a kick, some classical sprints and perhaps a few nerds - the other exercises are not to my liking, but some people do them.

In Sweden (I trained in Sweden for a year after high school) all we did for specific strength was double-pole sprints and distance double-pole sessions - 15 x 15second all out double-pole sprints and then an hour hard, fast double pole home - and that seemed to do the trick.
An example specific strength workout: warm up for 20 minutes classical rollerskiing. Pick a long gradual hill; do 5x 15seconds double-pole only, then 5x 15second single-pole, then 5x 15 double-pole w/kick - all of them with the throttle wide open. Follow that with 5x 1-2min of each exercise. Recovery between repetitions should allow you to go full out on the 15second sprints and faster than race pace on 1 to 2 minute repetitions on all repetitions.

This is only an example and as is the case with all training start with a manageable, but challenging quantity and build from there.

At Northern Michigan University, a school that turns out fast ski racers year after year, they do a program like the example above. In the early fall they start with about 4km total work and built to 9km total work by snowfall, and continue with specific strength into the winter until a week or two before the big races rolled around.

Pete Vordenberg 2001
Garrott Kuzzy Clinic 
Learn from an Olympian!
The Rochester MN Nordic Ski Team, a part of the Rochester Active Sports Club (RASC), will be hosting a ski clinic with US Olympic skier and CXC Team Vertical Limit member Garrott Kuzzy on Sunday June 13th at Essex Park in Rochester. There will be a 2 hour clinic for masters and coaches starting at 1:00pm and a junior clinic starting at 3:30pm for 1 hour. Cost is a $20 donation to the RASC for the masters/ coaches clinic, which will also satisfy the Technique Clinic requirement for USSA Level 100 Coaches Certification. The junior clinic is free and coaches are welcome to attend as well.

For junior skiers, Garrott plans to hold a shorter clinic from 3:30 to 4:30 on the same day (Sunday June 13th). The cost for juniors is $0 - probably the best deal you will ever get for an hour's coaching from an Olympic skier.  No roller skis will be needed for the junior clinic.
If you would like to participate, please send a note to,   by Friday, May 28.
If you are interested in hosting a ski clinic for your club with 2010 Olympian Garrott Kuzzy, please email:
The National Cross Country Ski Education Foundation is a backbone
for the development of world-class skiers in the United States.

The not for profit organization NCCSEF is celebrating 12 years of supporting U.S. skiing and we have a lot to be proud of. We have
granted over $175,000 in NCCSEF Future Funds over that period.
In fact, we've funded every World Junior Championship team since 1997 and every J1 Scando Cup team since it was initiated in 1999. Now, as we gear up for Vancouver 2010 and beyond, there is even more work to be done!

NCCSEF provides the essential funding for the junior and under-23 competition and preparation projects making up several key steps in the development pipeline. The development pipeline is the pathway to success in the sport of cross-country skiing.
Find out how you can help at
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Assistant Coach needed at
Michigan Tech
Cross-Country Skiing, Running &
Track and Field

For more info:
Joe Haggenmiller
Head Coach CC Running, Skiing,and Track & Field
MTU Athletics
Phone 906-487-2986
Mobile 906-281-1214
CXC Camps and Academy

Jr. Birkie One-Day Camp - The One-Day Birkie Junior Camp will be a camp for age categories J5/J4/J3/J2/J1 (8 years old and up) of junior athletes.This camp will involve many different elements of dryland and sport specific training.  Athletes will do agility "games" and technique drills, balance and strength exercises, ski imitation that will improve their technique and training in cross-country skiing.

Jr. Birkie Camp - The Birkie Junior Technique Camp will be a 4 day camp for all ages of junior athletes to train together.  If you come to this camp, all of your friends will be jealous.  That's not even a joke (ok, maybe it's a joke, but the camp will be awesome!).  Athletes should plan to do running drills, strength exercises, ski imitation, and rollerskiing during this time together. Registration is open Jr Birkie Camp Registration
Birkie Masters Camp (7/30 to 8/1) - With the weather in the Midwest getting dangerously close to 3-digits winter is looking pretty sweet!  Well, this is the perfect way to remind you that the ski season isn't so far away.  Come out and meet other skiers, train hard, and enjoy!  
Register for this camp here: Masters Camp Registration  
Birkie Women's Camp - This is, as the name suggests, a camp for women.  The main selling point here is that it is a camp for awesome women run by awesome women.  Nina Gavrilyuk has three (3!!!!) Olympic gold medals and she's going to be the coach!  We aren't promising that you'll be in the running for an Olympic medal of your own after this camp, but we can promise you will leave inspired and more knowledgeable.  
Come join the fun by registering today:
Women's Camp Registration 

Hayward (WI) Masters Team Chapter - Group Sessions Schedule
Chapter Coach: Igor Badamshin
About Masters Team and Masters Team Chapters: Masters Team info

June 28th, 29th
July 28th, 29th
August 4th and 5th
September 20th, 21st
October 18th, 19th
November 15th, 16th
December 20th, 21
January TBD
February TBD
For exact times and locations  e-mail Igor Badamshin

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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