Pekka (Core) Strength
By: tsmmcart (2005/07/26)
Exertion Level: Hard
Skier Level: Intermediate
Suggested Trails: Park/field with picnic bench, shallow slope, and flats
Equipment: picnic table/bench
Pekka Strength is an endurance strength workout. It involves doing high-repetition, body-weight strength exercises, centering on the core (hips, butt, abs and back). Depending on maximum individual rep threshold for the exercise, we usually do between 10 and 50 reps of these exercises, and between 2 and 10 sets (so we might do 10 sets of 10 reps, but with only 2-3 seconds recovery, or we might do 2 sets of 50 reps, but with a 10-second recovery). Some of these are more explosive plyometric-type, but most are straight endurance strength. Following are some specific exercises:
1. Clap pushups: we usually do 3-6 sets of 10, with 2-3 seconds rest.
2. Baby dips: These are dips off a picnic table bench. We do 10 sets of 10 reps, with 2/3 seconds rest between.
3. Baby pushups: These are pushups with feet on ground and hands on the top of a picnic table (so you are not flat on the ground but at an angle to make it easier.) We usually do 50 narrow-stance and 50 wide-stance.
4. Back extensions: Lying on your stomach, raise R hand and R leg at same time, repeat 20 times, then do L hand/L leg. Do 3 reps of that. Then raise all legs and arms at same time, 3 sets of 10.
5. Fire-Hydrants: On hands and knees extend one leg straight out to the side so that the ankle of the extended leg is in-line with the knee you are kneeling on. Raise your leg so that your foot gets above your hip, without bending at the knee. Usually 3 sets of 25 reps per leg is enough torture.
6. Fast situps on a slight uphill slope: 20 times, 3 sets.
7. Side-situps: Lie on your side and raise your upper body. 20 times, 3 reps.
8. Back Leg lifts: On hands and knees, with one leg extended straight out behind you, raise and lower the extended leg 25 times. Switch legs and repeat. Do 3 sets of this. Try to keep your leg straight and not bend very much at the knee. For variety try either pointing your toes, or turning your foot so the toes point out from your body.
There are a number of other exercises possible; use your imagination or search the internet to find variations of the above exercises. When they get too easy, either up the number of repititions or the number of sets.
We call this Pekka Strength because the coach who introduced this to our crew was Pekka Kemppi, an early Thunder Bay NTDC coach.
Beside being a great toning tool to get those beach muscles in shape for the summer months, Pekka strength is great for increasing core strength. On a hot, humid day, with the sun beating down, and the snowy season seeming unattainable, this makes you want to ski especially badly.