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Workout of the Week: Specific Strength: legs only skating and double poling
By: Andrew Wynd (2007/09/17)
Workout Type: Strength
Exertion Level: Hard
Skier Level: Any
Technique: Skate
Season: Pre-competitive
Terrain: Steep Uphill

Suggested Trails: Black's Lake Hill/ Fortune etc.



Recently the athlete's on XCOttawa have included a new specific strength workout that we like to schedule in around this time of year. All summer long I have been working on double pole endurance via both long (>2hr) sessions and shorter power poling repeats. This is essential training for upper body strength, required for successful cross country ski racing, but it does neglect the legs somewhat. As we get closer to the white stuff arriving, we have started combining upper and lower body strength into the same workout.

This workout we do on Black's Lake hill when the parkway is closed, or something similarly steep and long which is roughly 1- 1.5 km uphill at a moderate to steep grade, something most skiers would use the offset technique to climb whilst skating.

Last Friday we did 5 repeats, 3 x legs only skating and 2 x arms only double poling. The recovery is simply the roll back down.


When doing these workouts be aware of intensity, as the strength component tends to raise heart rates higher than one might expect. Do not turn this workout into a "hammer fest" of both strength and high lactates (unless you actually want to do this).

When skating, work on body position and swing your arms as if they had poles in them. It should look no different to skating with poles. Ensure a flexed knee and ankle and avoid bending at the waist.

When double poling, keep the hands and hips high and crunch the abdominals. Some of us like to keep the tempo slightly higher due to the gradient of the hill, but I personally have to watch what this does to my heart rate and so I keep the turnover fairly moderate.

As the Fall/Autumn progresses, you can build up your repetitions or watch how you do the repeats faster and faster for the same exertion level.

More Workout Suggestions . . .
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