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Dave's Strength Machine
By:  Sheila Kealey   (2014/09/30)

I coach at Nakkertok Nordic, where I get to share my passion for the outdoors and cross country skiing with other coaches and a forever impressive group of athletes.  The amazing experiences that coaching has brought me are numerous, and I’m going to share one of these with you: Dave Mallory and his strength machine (a.k.a Dave’s Strength Machine).

Who is Dave?


Dave Mallory is definitely not your ordinary 70 something. A coaching legend in Ontario, he arrives at most practices on his motorcycle (equipped to carry rollerskis, poles, boots), and is just as excited as the athletes at the prospect of bombing down Black’s Lake Hill.  For over 30 years, Dave has helped skiers of all ages and stages achieve goals big and small (including several XC Ottawa athletes Steffan, Karl, and alumni Tom, and Ed). Wisdom is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Dave – he is observant, calm, and patient, and his smiling eyes mirror his enthusiasm for helping athletes and promoting cross country skiing.

Beyond his vast coaching expertise, skiers can thank Dave for some of the pristine grooming at Nakkertok (as well as some “jumps” inserted into fun racing events like the Boxing Day Burnoff, just to keep things “interesting”). Dave is also the mind behind several of Nakkertok’s wax room innovations.

What’s Dave’s Strength Machine?

Dave’s strength machine is a movable strength fortress equipped with with rollerboards and pulleys that is a highlight of Fall practices at Mooney’s Bay. The machine also has a variety of suspended hanging grip handles for pullups, pushups, and dips (just in case the regular form of these exercises isn’t hard enough  . . . Dave is a big believer in introducing this type of instability into exercises to engage more muscle groups, improve joint stability, and use core muscles).  

Of course, this means Dave can't come to practice on his motorcycle, but he's carefully designed his machine to fit in a trailer and take just minutes to assemble and disassemble.


The machine is supplemented by wobble boards, medicine balls, step up benches, and he uses the natural terrain for situps, hops and other plyometric-style exercise stations.


Every year Dave tweaks the machine routine to make it even better. He has carefully chosen each exercise, and arranged the order of stations to maximize the benefits for cross country skiers. While watching athletes ski, Dave often notes how some technique flaws are resulting from strength weaknesses.  When a new exercise appears in the rotation, you can bet that there is a pretty good rationale behind it.

Here is the 2014 routine:


The Routine

The strength machine embraces the fun and social nature of typical Nakkertok workouts: every station has two spots, so athletes pair up to do the exercises and rotate around the circuit together as Dave whistles when it’s time to change stations. Dave motivates the athletes, and takes the time to coach proper technique during the exercises. It’s hard to explain, but Dave's coaching and his machine seems “old school” and revolutionary at the same time.


The strength machine circuit lasts for about 20 minutes, and is integrated into the athletes’ 2-hour workout. My group typically gets to the machine toward the end of their workout, and no matter what challenging activity came before, the energy you feel buzzing around this machine is incredible. The social component, rotations, stations, and Dave’s dedication and motivation turn this contraption into something pretty special.

More pictures of Dave's Machine . . . 

Dave_groupInstructions         strengthinaction dips pulleys rollerboards 
Interesting Reading. . .
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