SkiPost: Pelvic Muscles
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SkiPost Arichive Here          Volume 17 Issue 8, June 18, 2015

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Pelvic Muscles?


I have been training on my roller skis lately and struggling a bit with balance since roller skis have significantly less surface area on the ground. I am sore in places I cannot talk about in public. I have been reading that athletes of both genders sometimes have problems with pelvic floor muscles. I don't have any problems I can just feel them working. I am curious how pelvic floor muscles contribute to balance specifically in cross country skiing. Are they considered part of your "core" that we should be training for balance? Are there any warning signs athletes should be aware of that we are training too hard or too little? Are there any specific training exercises we should be doing to keep pelvic floor muscles healthy and improve balance?


MN roller skier 


Dear MN Rollerskier,


You are addressing something many of us have experienced in the early ski- or rollerski season, especially if we encounter conditions we are less accustomed to, such as balancing skis on ice or rolling on narrow wheels.  It is best to look at muscles in the core and pelvis as part of the "system" we use in any weight-bearing posture or motion, such as standing, walking or any movement on the legs in good body alignment, rather than something mutually exclusive to skiing.  As an active, fit person, you should have a good starting platform for training on rollerskis, and the general advice is to accept you are treading into new or seasonally unfamiliar territory.  Practice, recover and progress in your skills; you are most likely describing a common reaction rather a serious problem.  Here are some practical advice:


  •        Maintain proper, erect, posture that will let you stay flexible and balanced in all three planes.  Rely on skeletal support and let the small muscles in the body regulate the balance.  The large muscles are only working intermittently for propulsion and should be mostly relaxed.
  •        Assume the basic, or fundamental, athletic position; remember all ski motions are operating in, or passing through, this body position.  High hips, bent ankles and knees, neutral shoulders, etc., both buttocks and abdominals in, and so forth.
  •        Maintain good, stable, weight distribution on the soles of the feet and both legs when standing neutral.  Employ full weigh shift when riding one ski, and weighing the ball of the foot when leaning forward and executing the kick-exchange or push. 
  •        Although we lean forward in skiing, maintain good upper body posture rather that sinking in, avoid sitting in the rear or arching the back.
  •        Wear appropriate boots and bindings for the technique, skis and surface you are venturing out on, and make sure your wheels are wearing evenly.  You need to be stable.
  •        Start a comprehensive, full body strength program; you have already identified areas that could use additional work.  Keep in mind that strength is a significant factor in ski training; good skiers train comprehensive base strength, max-, explosive-, and ski-specific strength through the yearly training cycles. 
  •        Practice on the equipment, including the items above, will increase familiarity with the new or untrained elements.  Confidence will be gained and the "fear-factor" will diminish.  Remember asphalt is a tough partner and we are all apprehensive of too close contact. 
  •        Find speed and techniques allowing you to ski in control and relaxed confidence.  That may be slow speed, short time and short circuit skiing, but your abilities will rapidly improve.  Parking lots are great.  Remember even the best skiers and athletes of all sports periodically go back and recondition basic skills.  
  •        Ski in an area you feel safe; this will allow you to ease up and focus on your skill training.  Along these lines, wear proper and adequate protective equipment. 


Keep training, recover and gradually develop or recondition your skills on rollerskis.  We have many months for development before next ski season.  It is often good to use the rollerskis as supplemental, or one of multiple training modes, rather than as exclusive training tools.  That will allow the body to adapt different motions that complement each other in development and recovery.  Do not forget to hit the gym regularly and with a purpose, and invest a few daily minutes in stretching and other fitness maintenance.


The best of luck,  - j


Jon R. Engen

Max HR?

Hi Andy,

I really didn't pay much attention to this MHR formula article before, but noticing it now I have to question it. I'm 68, which would figure to a max of about 153 bpm. On a warm day, I'm apt to hit that just trail jogging on mildly uphill terrain. I have a high VO2 max for my age and thus have to wonder if without an adjustment for oxygen carrying capacity, the researcher's formula is going to be low for a lot of people (might cross-country ski racing disproportionately select for those with a higher VO2 max?). Btw, it's a well known story that the long-used formula was arrived at on a flight to Europe by several researchers needing something to give as part of a cardiology conference presentation. 




Dear G,


The formula used below is a new generic replacement for an old generic formula. Yes will not work for every case. If you have been training your whole life you will likely have a higher Max.  If you are following a serious training program you should have your max HR and Lactate Threshhold tested. 


Training Zones

Optimal performance is reached by subjecting the body to specific types of stress in order to elicit specific types of adaptations. Using the Lactate Threshold lactate level or heart-rate, as we have done here, is the most precise way to determine training zones.  


Intensity: Level 1. Easy, 2-3mmol/L below LT; 30-50 bpm below LT. 
Duration: 30 mins. - 1.5 hours. 
Objective: This zone is used for warm-up and cool-down periods. Training at this intensity will promote recovery following glycogen-depleting workouts or high intensity intervals and maintain cardiovascular and muscular adaptations. The primary goal of recovery is to deliver O2 and CHO (carbohydrates) back to the muscles.


Intensity: Level 2. Moderate, 1-2 mmol/L below LT; 10-30 bpm below LT. Level 1. Easy, 2-3 mmol/L below LT; 25-50 bpm below LT. 
Duration: 30 mins. - 3 hours. 
Objective: A moderate intensity is the optimum zone for improving endurance adaptations. An easy intensity delivers the same benefits, but more slowly. Unlike many athletes in bipedal and less-weight bearing sports, most skiers do most of their endurance training at the easier of these two intensities (around 35 bpm below LT). Training in both of the endurance zones improves the ability to deliver more oxygen to the muscle cell and process more energy from aerobic sources. Specific training adaptations include an increase in the size and number of mitochondria, an increase in myoglobin, increased capillarization, and an increased number of aerobic enzymes. Skiers tend to lower the intensity the longer the session. Over two hours = level 1. Under an hour = level 2.


Lactate Threshold 

Intensity: Level 3. Moderately high, below LT by 5 bpm, or above LT by 5 bpm. 
* Tempo: 15 to 60 minute continuous effort at 5 bpm below LT. 
* Interval: 5 to 15 minutes at LT and up to 5 bpm over LT. 
Objective: Training at this intensity will raise LT as a percentage of Vo2 max as well as increase Vo2 max.


VO2 Max 

Intensity: Level 4. High, 1-2 mmol/L above LT or at a heart rate associated with 95% of Vo2 max. 
Duration: 3-5 minute intervals with half-time to equal recovery. 
Objective: This is the optimum zone for improving Vo2 max. Training adaptations include an increase in stroke volume, an increase in maximal aerobic capacity and improved lactate buffering capacity - go fast, hurt less = go faster.


Intensive Repetitions

Intensity: Level 5. Very high, 2-6 mmol/L above LT. 
Duration: Short: 30-60 seconds with complete recovery. 
Long: 1-2 minutes with complete recovery. 
Objective: Training at this zone generally only occurs for a few weeks prior to a major competitive event and increases anaerobic capacity and buffering ability.



Intensity: Depends on amount of rest taken between and number of repetitions.
Duration: Short. 10-20 seconds generally with full recovery. 
Objective: Develops technique and use of dynamic, powerful motions.  


Max Heart Rate Formula?


A Max Heart Rate formula has been used for more than 40 years as a quick and easy way to determine heart rate-based training zones. Since its inception in 1970, however, it's come under fire for its potential to be wildly inaccurate, leading athletes to seek other ways to determine how hard to push a workout, like calculating lactate threshold-based training zones.


But that hasn't stopped a new team of researchers from trying to revamp the old heart-rate formula. Dr. Thomas Allison, program director of the sports cardiology clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and his colleagues recently analyzed data from 25,000 cardiac stress tests, a procedure in which a patient exercises to maximum physical exertion while doctors monitor the heart's function.


The researchers found that while everyone's max heart rate goes down with age, it decreases more slowly in women. "As a result, the currently used formula overestimates the peak heart rate that younger women can reach and underestimates it for older women," The Journal of the American Medical Association writes. 


The researchers propose a more accurate way to determine max heart rate is to use the following formulas:


For women

: 200 - (.67)age


For men

: 216 - (.93)age 


Currently, these calculations only apply to people between 40 and 89 years old, as the subjects analyzed fell in that age range. The new formulas could help older athletes determine more accurate heart rate training zones, and ease frustration about hitting a max heart rate that may be unachievable


Brought to you by Bjorn Daehlie 


Summer Base Training?

What should I do this summer to peak at the Birkie?

Birkie Fever

Dear Birkie Fever,

That is a broad question so I will give a broad answer.

Base (Summer) Base training is so called because it is the base upon which later phases of training are built. 

Aerobic endurance is the number one component of cross-country ski racing, and it is the component of ski racing which takes the most time to develop. It is the primary aim of the base training period. 
Example: 2hour rollerski or run split between level 1 and 2 or a 3hourr bike on hilly terrain split between level 1 and 2. Please note: about 80% of all training is endurance training. The rest is strength, intervals and races, etc. 


General: Power and strength-endurance are built on max strength. General strength develops overall tendon and muscle strength necessary to support latter forms of training. General strength is the focus through the spring and summer. Example: after building up to weight training for 5-6 weeks, include some ski specific high weight and low rep work. 
Specific: Specific strength becomes more a focus later in the summer and into the fall once a solid base of general strength has been established. 
Example: Endurance session using only double pole over gradual terrain. 


Most intensity should be below the lactate threshold early in the summer. Anaerobic training such as speed is good, but hard aerobic and anaerobic intervals should be kept to a minimum early on. Example: 2x10 minutes at 5 bpm below LT with 2 minutes rest between intervals. Start with 1-2 sessions a week. 

Technique and speed: 

Speed training during the base period should not be done at a hard intensity (short bouts of speed with full recovery are recommended) and should be oriented toward using correct movements at race speeds - not at moving at an unrealistic pace. Example: Incorporate 10 20 second bursts of speed into your endurance training


Andy at SkiPost


Brought to you by Swenor Catalog 


Spice up Your Summer Training


 One of the best features of Concept2 ergs (The SkiErg or indoor rower) is that they accurately measure the work you're doing. In addition, the flywheel calibrates itself on every rundown to take ambient conditions into account, so someone at altitude can compare their erg time with someone at sea level, regardless of the weather and environmental conditions. 


What's so great about this? It means you can race, and compare your times and distances with friends and competitors in another state, country or continent! It also makes the SkiErg a great tool for tracking your training progress by comparing your performance over a certain time or distance from one training block to the next.


Do you have a competitive streak? Or do you just want to make your workouts more interesting? We invite you to try the following challenges-some are geared for individuals and some for teams:


  • 100 Meter Dash: Pre-set the Performance Monitor for a 100 meter distance. The meters will count down to zero, and your total time will be displayed at the end.
  • 1 Minute Max Meters: Pre-set the Performance Monitor for a 1 minute piece. The time will count down to zero, and your total meters will be displayed at the end.
  • 2000 Meter Mixed Team 2k relay (two men/two women): Pre-set the Performance Monitor for a 2000m distance. Rotate each team member through in order, with each person skiing as long as they can maintain their goal pace, then switch on the fly. The meters will count down to zero, and your elapsed time will be displayed at the end.
  • 1000 Meter Individual Sprint: An indoor version of the standard Nordic sprint. Pre-set the Performance Monitor for a 1000 meter distance. The meters will count down to zero, and your total time will be displayed at the end.


Check out the online rankings at

and the SkiErg Sprints results here:  skierg-world-sprints

Post your results and pictures on the Concept2 SkiErg Facebook


About the second generation SkiErg:

We have reworked the internal mechanism with the goal of improving cord wear and making maintenance easier. This also allowed us to support classic single-stick technique. The SkiErg is now aluminum, so it's lighter in weight, and the optional floor stand has a lower profile. Adaptive athletes will like the longer standard cord length. As with all our indoor rowers, we have introduced the Performance Monitor 5 (PM5), which offers a backlit screen, Bluetooth Smart connectivity, and a new USB flash drive Logbook, among other features. We are excited to offer these additional features at similar pricing:  $770 for the SkiErg, $180 for the optional floor stand.


Remember, if you are a member of your regional ski association, you are entitled to a $40 per SkiErg discount. Be sure to ask for it when you place your order. Call Josh Carlson at 800-245-5676 ext. 3060.





Ski Slap

When I ski classic I often hear my ski tails clap when they hit the snow. Why is this? What am I doing wrong? How do I correct?

Hello - 


You'll hear your skis clap when they're setting down onto the snow too abruptly. I guess that I shouldn't use the term "setting down," as they're actually landing quickly and smacking down hard. An analogy which I heard from my high school coach, John Schauer, is an airplane touching down: You want to drive onto the ski smoothly and gradually transfer your weight onto the ski (like an experienced pilot in good weather hopefully lands your plane), with the "runway" starting approximately where the ski that's hooking up with the snow is set. When you're "landing" your ski behind the runway, you often hear that clap; it's because your weight is too far back, maybe because your balance isn't great, or maybe because you don't have your hips high and far enough forward. 



A really basic exercise that can help with this is the scooter drill, where you stand with one ski (or rollerski) on one foot, with just a boot on the other. Use the boot as a proxy for the ski you're kicking from - the goal is to have a solid platform to kick off of. Drive smoothly forward onto the ski/rollerski, and balance on it as it glides forward. Practice gliding with your arms and legs at fully extended positions, with your hips and torso high and slightly forward, as in a good photograph of a classic skier. Once the ski slows down or stops, reset and practice the kick-drive-glide cycle again. You will hear that smacking sound if you set the ski down behind the boot foot (runway) too early, and the noise should settle down as you get better at controlling the approach to snow.


Occasionally, I've also heard people's skis make this noise if the tracks are frozen really hard and they have a big hip rotation while kicking; their skis begin entering the track angled ~15˚ away from the tracks, and as they come down, they "snap"  on the snow dividing the tracks before settling in. We generally work on keeping the core/hips somewhat stable, so the ski is traveling more straight forward. Having a stable core allows the legs and arms to work more efficiently, with the side effect of quieting things down.

Hope that helps.


Jason Cork

Men's Coach

US XC Ski Team


I'd like to add to your recent ski slap discussion.  When I focus on the dynamic of my stride, there is an element of driving the glide foot forward simultaneous with driving the plant foot backward.  I can place my attention preferentially on one foot or the other, but have noticed that when I focus on driving the glide foot, ski slap magically disappears.  That's it.  Perhaps you can break that down and explain what you think is happening. 




It's kind of hard to envision this, but Ičll take a stab at it: (Ičm going to use your plant/glide foot terminology here; hopefully, that makes my answer more clear.) My guess is that when youčre focusing on driving the plant foot/kicking foot backward, youčre ending up jumping, or abruptly landing, on to the gliding foot versus smoothly putting your weight onto it. When your focus is on the gliding foot, maybe youčre thinking about subtly transferring your weight on that foot more.


As a side note, I try to not think about driving either foot backwards in classic skiing. I tend to think of kick wax (or rollerski ratchets) as providing a stable platform, so you can drive forward with both legs.


Jason Cork

Men's Coach

US XC Ski Team


Brought to you by Salomon Nordic

   Trail Running Eyewear?

What is you favorite Bliz for trail running.


I like the Bliz Tempo & Tempo small face with its new integrated strap system. It is the lightest shield made and with this strap you will no longer have to push the sunglasses up your nose on a serious trail run. You can also ride rotate the glasses 180 degrees and attached a headlamp for night running or skiing.

More at Bliz Eyewear

Ski Storage

Is this the proper ski storage?

No, try this

 1)  Cleaning: Use wax remover and Fiber wipe to clean the kick zone and also the glide zone.


2)  Use the finest Steel brush to clean excess dirt from base.


3)  Apply layer of Start Base (or Service or soft non-fluoro glider like SG2) to glide zones.


4)  While wax is still soft use scraper with low pressure to "hot wipe" wax and further dirt away.


5)  Follow with Fiber wipe and then finest steel brush again to remove dirt while refreshing base further. Repeat steps 4 and 5 as necessary until no more dirt is seen coming from base. 


6)  If you suspect your skis have any base damage (i.e. base sealing) consider having the skis stoneground to reveal a fresh base in the spring before summer storage.  A fresh base is the most import feature in a skis ability to hold wax and to glide. Ski shops in most every ski town offer great stone grinding services.


7)  Once you have a clean and refreshed base it is time to saturate the base with a summer storage wax.  In the glide zones melt in a thick layer of Start Base (or Service or soft non-fluoro glider like SG2) and let it cool. If all the wax has been absorbed into the base at any point add another layer on to. Let cool leave it on the ski all summer.


8)  Skis should be storage in cool, dry place, out of sunlight and not near heating elements nor not near the roof where temperature can rise over 50C degrees. Skis should be stored loosely strapped with no pressure on camber so that there is no risk that heat and pressure can alter any of the skis camber characteristics.


9)  Better to do something than nothing. So at the very, very least crayon your softest glide onto your glide zones right now. 



 Brought to you by Start Wax and Poles

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 Nordic Job Openings

 Nordic Job Opening?  email to post


BNJRT Co-Head Coach and Assistant Coaches

Boulder Nordic Junior Race Team (BNJRT) seeks candidates for Co-Head Coach and Assistant Coaches. The Co-Head Coach will be responsible for overseeing development of younger skiers (U14-U8) and assisting (and collaborating with) the current Head Coach, Adam St.Pierre, for older skiers (U20-U16). Assistant Coaches will primarily coach younger skiers with options to assist on race weekends. We seek coaches that are able to teach classic and freestyle techniques to athletes from 8-19 years old with varied skiing and athletic backgrounds and are able to find creative ways to integrate fun into training.Interested applicants please send a resume and cover letter to the BNJRT Board of Directors About


 Agamenticus Ski Club

Assistant HS Coach & Assistant MS Coach

Agamenticus Ski Club of York, Maine is now accepting applications for two part-time positions: Assistant High School XC Ski Coach & Assistant Middle School XC Ski Coach. Interested candidates should have a background in cross-country ski racing and coaching, along with enthusiasm for working with local & regional Jr. xc skiers and introducing new racers to the sport.  CPR/AED, USSA Level 1 Coaching Certification or PSIA Nordic Instructor Certifications are preferred.  Both Part-time Positions extend from November 1, 2015 to March 1, 2016; coaching stipend D.O.E.  For more information, please send cover letter, resume, and three references to Head Coach/Program Director Laura Creagan at: 



Clarkson University 

Asst. Nordic and XC coach 

 Clarkson University (Northern New York) is looking for an Asst. Nordic and XC coach.  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To submit your application, go to  and click "Career Opportunities" on the left hand navigation bar.   


Momentum Northwest 

Assistant Coach

 Momentum Northwest, a Seattle-based junior cross-country ski team, is now accepting applications for an Assistant Coach. Position extends from September 1, 2015 to March 15, 2016; competitive salary D.O.E.  For more information, please send cover letter, resume, and two references to Head Coach/Program Director Sam Naney   


Northern Michigan University

Assistant Coach

 NMU has a full time assistant coach position open.Full time 10 Month position with full benefits, one can apply via the NMU web site:


Mansfield Nordic Club

Development Team Leader Position

 Mansfield Nordic seeks to hire a Development Team Leader to drive our top youth skiers toward higher level skiing on our Competition Team. This Team Leader will be a high-energy skier with strong communication abilities among individual athletes, groups, parents and volunteers. As a motivating and enthusiastic presence, the person who fills this leadership role will be an individual who is supportive, enthusiastic and ready to make a positive difference in the lives of skiers both on and off the trail.

To inquire about this position, please submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Terko: 

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