The first month of the 2010-2011 has ended and to be fair it’s been really dull in terms of news. The reason why Langrenn.com is easily the best website for skiing in the world is because even though there is literally no news to speak of (over the past two months), they still managed to put out multiple articles per day that actually have relevance to the sport. So far in May, we’ve seen them touch on a couple of subjects already with a flurry of articles published.
First, earlier in the month they had a debate going on about how much cycling an athlete should incorporate into their training program. After interviewing old skiers, promising talents, skate and classic specialists, they came to the conclusion that more cycling will improve your freestyle skiing because it strengthens your quadricep muscles; however, it is not as good at improving your aerobic capacity as running or roller skiing.
Geir Ludvig Aasen Ouren likes to hit the saddle 2-3 times a week in the summer and when he goes for three-hour rides he adds in a one hour threshold workout in the middle. The Sausage thinks biking is great training but recognizes the disadvantages stating that is doesn’t adequately stimulate fast twitch muscles which are vital while sprinting and changing speeds. Lars Berger thinks lots of hill climbs on the bike helps the transition to roller skiing in the fall when the harder workouts begin.
Even young athletes such as talented junior Didrik Tønseth (winner of Ski Idol 2009) has strong opinions on the matter and he only rides once a year and doesn’t even own a proper road bike. He uses strictly roller skis to work on his skate muscles but realizes one has to listen to their body so training won’t become stale.
On the contrary, classic specialist Frode Estil says that he never cycled and could probably count the number of bike rides on a single hand. The same can be said for the Hilde G. Pedersen.
All the athletes agree that running is much more beneficial for increasing capacity and that biking is good for variety in the spring and summer workouts, but come fall the bike is stored away for another season.
The second example of this flood of related article was a week ago when articles on strength in skiers started to pop up. How strong are they now compared to 10-15 years ago? Are they doing too much work in the gym? How many times a week is optimal? By my count, 7 articles were published on Langrenn.com over only three days focusing on strength and athlete perspectives on what they are doing for strength workouts.
It all started with an article on Bjørgen as she will not be hitting the gym in the traditional sense and lifting heavy plates. Instead, she has switched to ropes that are hung from a ceiling (much like these ones). Now working on stabilizer muscles instead of pushing big weights in the gym which makes perfect sense. The amount of balance required to stand on a board that is 200 centimeters long and only 4 centimeters wide is taken for granted by skiers. This is why I enjoy taking friends on the trails who never ski; listen to them complain about how hard it is and see them repeatedly fall on their ass over and over.
Early season strength testing of the Norwegian national team has concluded that they are “strong enough” and sessions in the weight room will be reduced and max strength will be peppered into the training schedule.
At the junior level, Roar Hjelmeset believes in general strength and that this must be mastered before athletes move onto maximum strength workouts which makes perfect sense. Kids seem to have a hard time checking their ego at the door (especially pubescent boys) and will tend to lift heavier weights with poor technique rather than lifter weights and work on their lifting technique. Hjelmeset says that he doesn’t think a junior should enter the weight room because there are more important things to work on such as technique and endurance. On the flip side of this argument is that many juniors develop at different stages and while some are fully developed as early as 15-16, some don’t fill out until nearly 20-year-old which can alter the time line of when they should enter the gym.
Roar’s brother, Odd-Bjorn thinks strength is extremely important but notes that athletes are built differently and someone like him must work on their strength much more than someone like Martin Johnsrud Sundy who is compact and very strong. An article published today actually says that being more compact can be beneficial…
If you are small and have a little body, it may be easier to obtain the key stabilizing muscles, hips, stomach and back. It is more about balance and hitting the right; technique and mobility. When you get the best possible advantage of the strength and can be effective.
Lebreux has also worked with Astri Uhrenholdt Jacobsen and sparkling clear about what skiers should emphasize rather than excessive force on the major muscle groups.
You need to develop stability in each paragraph and have good balance. Is not correct on your skis are not used to full capacity. Take appropriate even when one uses a lot of energy is something we work a lot. When you use a lot of energy, it is easy to get out of the movement path and you compensate with other muscles to maintain balance.
Gold medalist from 1968 Grenoble Olympic Games Ole Ellefsæter says back in the old days, they used natural strength such as logging to improve strength. It’s amazing how far sports has come in 50 years. I bet after falling some trees, they went back to the homestead and chain smoked a pack of Malboro’s. It’s what made you a great athlete back then… In all fairness, he did have a weight room but did low weight high repetition exercises. Here’s his strength program…
Double poling/Diagonal poling with solder attached to a rope.
- Abdominal and back exercises can board ribbed wall
- Shoulder-dumbbells (light weights) 100 repetitions
- Squat/lunges 900 repetitions (100 times three to three times)
In other news this month, all the athletes are now back in the swing of things getting ready for the 2011 World Champs at Holmenkollen. The Canadians and Americans just finished up a camp in Bend, Oregon where the skiing trails looked to be in pristine conditions. Check out Cross Country Canada’s Youtube page for interviews with the athletes.
There’s also been many coaching changes as Inge Braten is now the head coach of the Swiss team, Christophe Deloche is the head of the French team, and Justin Wadsworth has been appointed the new head coach of the Canadian team. Also, the big news coming from Canada was the resignation of Dave Woods from the national program after a decade of service. Many rumours swirled around this stories and you can read all about it over at Fasterskier.com.
That’s all I got and I apologize for the lack of flow to this post, all the other news bits over the past few week can be found on the Nordic Xplained Twitter page at @NordicXplained. There should be something new up every five days (the only time I can acess the internet).
Talk to you again in the near future.