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 June 24, 2010: Volume 11, Number 8
Spenst Training
What is Spenst training? Spenst training is a well-worn mode of training that is practiced in some form or another by world-class skiers the world over.  Spenst is a Norwegian word that means either explosiveness or literally "Boing!"
Spenst training involves ski specific plyometric exercises that develop power, explosiveness, balance and strength. If you are looking to gain that extra snap in your technique, learn to accelerate over the tops of hills, around corners, sprint to the finish, improve balance and strength, or just impress your friends at parties, then spenst training is for you.

Ski technique has always demanded a quick, dynamic kick, for both skating and classic, and spenst training is a great way to develop it. Often it is the skiers who seem to be skiing with the least effort that have the most dynamic kick. Their secret is a dynamic push and then relaxation of the pushing muscles. Spenst is a great addition to training and it yields noticeable results with a fairly small time investment of 10 to 15 minutes a week.

Goal: develop power and balance.
Means: several short repetitions of the following exercises with full rest. Gaining maximum distance with each jump - going as far as possible in the shortest number of jumps. Generally one takes between 10 and 20 jumps in a row (10-20 seconds of work) followed by a good recovery (about 2 minutes should suffice).

Type of spenst exercises:
One-legged hop: This is a spenst training staple. As the name suggests you will be hopping on one leg - up a hill. Start with a tame grade and build toward a steeper hill. Take 10-15 jumps on one leg moving continuously up the hill (don't stop between jumps, but keep your momentum going); walk slowly back down the hill and take the same number of jumps on the other leg. Repeat 2 to 3 (or more as you build up to it) times.

Stationary Skate hop: Simply jump sideways back and fourth as if skating from leg to leg aiming for max distance with each leap. Make sure you have your balance on each leg before you leap again. You can use your arms as if you were skating. You shouldn't move forward, but should leap directly sideways off the whole foot, side to side, in the same place.
Take 10-15 leaps per leg, rest, repeat.
Bunny hop: Return to the hill where you did the one legged hops. This time hop with both legs at once. Unlike the one-legged jumps, hesitate slightly between jumps so that energy must be regenerated with each jump. This is a killer, and can cause soreness as well as loud guffaws, snarks, snorts and general hilarity among spectators.
Organization of workout: Warm up very, very well. Stretch thoroughly and begin slowly to make sure you are warm enough. The goal is not to work out your aerobic system, so take your time and recover well between each set of jumps so that you can make maximal efforts with each jump and each set of jumps.

Placement of workout in the week: It is best to place spenst training after a bit of rest because for it to have maximal effect you should be fresh enough to perform the work maximally.

Example: Midway through an easy distance run or after warming up (the Jr. team I trained with in Sweden for a year did spenst as part of an interval workout) stop at a nice grassy hill. Stretch out some; perform a few easy one-legged jumps, side jumps and bunny hops (bunny hops can make your whole body sore if you're not careful). When you are ready, take 15 one-legged jumps up the hill. Walk slowly down the hill and then take 15 jumps on the other leg. If it is your first outing take not more than 2 times up the hill per leg. The idea is to try to get further up the hill with the same number of jumps each time. Do the skate jumps, and bunny hops and be creative with jumps of your own creation. Just remember it isn't spenst if it isn't explosive - more isn't better. If you are too tired to jump far, or if you feel any twinge of pain or pull, stop (start slowly to avoid injury!) Warm down well. The whole spenst routine can take as little as 10 minutes and so on a day when time is limited spenst is a great workout option.

If running and jumping is not in your repertoire, power can also be built on a bike with 15 to 20 second sprints up a very steep hill. Do some sprints seated and some standing, some in a tough gear and some spinning in an easy gear to work all the muscles. Explosiveness of this kind is more difficult to build on rollerskis, but like on the bike, sprints of 15-20 seconds on a steep hill are effective.
Pete V (reprint from 2001 SkiPost)
Sunglass Lenses-2  
Visible light transmission, polarization, how lens color affects real color and other basics.
Last week we provided great detail on Rudy Project Lenses. 
One of our readers asked "Why don't you address visible light transmission, polarization, how lens color affects real color and other basics"  KC
To Review Rudy's Technology Rudy Lens Technology
Different Types of Light

Visible Light
Visible light is that portion of the light spectrum which the eye perceives as color. Excessive amounts of visible light are irritating to unprotected eyes and can reduce your visual perception by as much as 50%. It can also hinder your eyes' ability to adjust to darkness (night blindness) and cause difficulty in depth perception.

Blue Light
Blue light is dispersed through the air by dust particles, which is why the sky appears blue. It also causes glare and is the most demanding type of light for the retina. However, if blue light is eliminated, we lose the ability to recognize colors; traffic lights for example. So, one of the primary tasks of quality sunglasses is to block the correct amount of blue light and to sharpen contrast without distorting color perception. Neutral gray lenses provide the least color distortion of all lens colors.

Ultraviolet Light
UV light is the most dangerous kind of light. It can cause "sunburn" on eyelids, damaging the cornea and membranes in the eyelids. Most ultraviolet rays are absorbed by the atmosphere before they reach the earth. Some do get through however. And at higher altitudes even greater amounts reach ground level.

There are three kinds of ultraviolet light.
UVC is below the visible spectrum and is effectively absorbed by the ozone layer.
UVA at the low end of the visible spectrum, passes through the outer structure of the eye and is absorbed by our eye's lens. Extended exposure to UVA can lead to the formation of catatracts.
UVB causes sunburned skin. These rays are absorbed in the outer surface of the eye. Extended exposure can cause "snow blindness," a burning of the eye's outer tissues and can also lead to cataracts.

Infrared Rays
Infrared Rays are heat rays. If you are exposed to intense sunlight for a lengthy period of time (a day at the beach, for example) without infrared protection, you may experience a burning or stinging sensation in your eyes and a sense of fatigue.

Infrared rays can be especially discomforting if you wear contact lenses. If your sunglasses fail to stop infrared light, it can be absorbed by your contacts causing them to "warm up."

Selecting the Right Lenses
The Right Lenses
To provide full, day-long, comfort, sunglasses should eliminate all problems of glare and reduce the amount of visible light to a comfortable, visibly efficient level. The lenses should also reduce infrared rays and nearly eliminate UV light.

Light Transmission
Light Transmission is the percentage of light that passes through the lens and reaches the eye. Most optical experts agree that the best light transmission range for sunglasses is from 10% to 30%. For example, a lens with a visible light transmission of 20% allows 20% of the light to pass through the lens, blocking the other 80%.

When selecting sunglasses, consider how they will be used. Most people do not need lenses rated less than 10%. While driving, for example, lenses that are too dark can cause visibility problems when driving from very bright conditions into shady-dark areas; driving into a tunnel could cause complete loss of vision. Some people can become "addicted" to dark lenses and find they cannot tolerate even moderate glare without dark glasses.

UV Transmission
For outside activities in direct sunlight, sunglasses should block at least 95% of UV light. For driving, higher UV transmission levels are acceptable, since the windshields on most cars will block some of this harmful light.

Optical Quality
Simply stated, Optical Quality means the lens is free from distortion. Lines reflected in the lens will follow in straight lines the even contours of the lens, versus wavy, eye-straining distortions found in non-optical lenses.

Lens Types
Optical Glass
Optical Glass Lenses are ground and polished to the exact thickness of the lens to assure a distortion-free lens. Glass is the most scratch-resistant lens material.

Polycarbonate plastic lenses are made of the toughest, most shatter-resistant material commonly used for sunglass lenses. This is the same material used for aircraft windshields. It is scratch resistant (though not scratch proof), lighter than glass and 50 times more impact resistant.

Polarized Lenses
Light striking flat surfaces, such as water, snow, glass or pavement, is reflected perpendicular to that surface. This reflected glare or polarized light is much more intense than normal sunlight, irritating your eyes and inhibiting vision. Polarized lenses, through the horizontal alignment of polarizing micro crystals, block all vertical light. Polarized lenses are particularly suitable for water sports, cycling and driving.

Photochromic or Photochromatic Lenses
Photochrornic or Photochromatic Lenses are light sensitive lenses that grow lighter or darker as lighting conditions change. Some photochromic lenses react to temperature as well as lighting changes.

Lens Colors
Lens colors have a lot to do with the performance of your sunglasses. Colors are chosen based on the way your eye reacts to them. Different colors cause different visual sensations. Following is a description of the basic characteristics of the more popular lens colors.

The most popular color for general purpose use. Colors remain true, with no distortion. Reds remain red, blues blue and greens green. Light is flattened to maintain normal depth perception. Grey lenses absorb UV and IR well.

Like grey lenses, colors remain true and UV and IR is absorbed well.

Especially effective for filtering scattered blue light commonly found in hazy, foggy or low light conditions. Improves depth perception and contrast in variable light conditions. Popular for skiing, boating, driving and general use.

Enhances depth perception, although colors are somewhat distorted. Provides 100% UV protection. However, yellow lenses require special coatings to absorb IR. Yellow lenses are a popular fashion color.

Like brown, effectively filters scattered blue light and improves contrast (much like a "haze" filter on a camera). Many people consider rose most soothing and comfortable over a longer period of time. 


Featured Article 
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
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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