Hopefully after the last workout of the week, you have developed some skills, balance and or course confidence on your rollerskis. Now this week it is time to start double poling to build your specific strength for the coming ski season.
Double poling is critical for xc skiing, and now as the trend of skiing moves towards a faster, more powerful way of moving over the snow, a strong double pole is a must.
Classical skiing obviously requires a lot of double poling, for the flatter sections of the course and depending how strong you are, many of the uphills as well. Some of us may remember Anders Aukland of Norway, double poling nearly the entire 76kms of the 2004 Marcialonga, including the last 2km steep uphill where his competitors stopped to apply more wax!
Double poling is also critical for skating and forms the basis of your upper body strength during the V2 or double time skating movements.
For these reasons, I perform this session every week of the year, going longer and slower in the off season and then dropping the distance slightly and going harder and faster when preparing for the races.
I usually go for around 1:30 to 2 hrs, depending on the terrain and what time of year it is, but at least for 20kms of arms only action!
For the beginner, you need to build up slowly! The wrists, elbows, shoulders and lower back all take a beating and therefore need to adjust to the repetitive movements.
Start off with 30 mins. of double poling on flat terrain. Gradually build up by 10 mins. each week until you can go for a few hours. Then itís time to introduce some rolling terrain and even some steep hills to really test you out. Always adhere to the local road rules and be careful of downhills that you arenít familiar with.
The pictures here are of me double poling near the coast of Wilsonís Promontory, a beachside resort right on the southern most tip of Australiaís mainland. This session can become quite monotonous, so some nice scenery is always a bonus. When Iím in the city of Melbourne, I use a section of road that has a bike lane and is continuously undulating with hills. I find this gives me a great workout and is one the key sessions that I commit to each week.
A few more quick points on technique:
1. Allow the body weight to fall forwards over the poles.
2. Use the upper abdominals to ďcrunchĒ down on the poles, donít bend in half.
3. Try to apply the power early in the stroke when the bodyweight is over the poles.
4. Relax the shoulders and legs, especially when the going gets tough on the uphills!
Start these sessions now and watch the upper body strength develop!