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A New Armit Training Protocol

Strength Training

Sat, Feb  5, 2005 - By Doug Garfield

[Doug sponsors Team NordicSkiRacer, and we've been using many of his methods in our own individual or group training sessions. One of his products, Armit: Power for Poling, includes both a training book and two sets of resistance bands. He's come up with a more simple Armit training protocol than originally outlined in the book. - Mike Muha]

Last summer, fall, and this winter, I've been experimenting along with a number of coaches and athletes on a shortcut protocol for Armit: Power for Poling that I think works just as well as the original for athletes at every level of fitness, skill, and motivation. (It will be described in a future version of the Owner's Manual.) From what we can tell, the results are, for all intents and purposes, the same.

It goes like this:

  • Eliminate Progression 1 and do only Progressions 2 and 3. Progression 1 is hard to do because of the multiple-joint involvement. It doesn't feel like poling; most of the time it's just sort of awkward. Moreover, you get plenty of true multi-joint specificity on snow and from rollerskiing.
  • Do two exercises from Progression 2 and two exercises from Progression 3 per workout; do 2-3 sets of each (in-season or just starting, do two sets). As the current manual describes, start at the beginning of each progression, and on subsequent workouts, do the next patterns in line. When you finish the progressions start over again or do a version that you like.
  • For the ball patterns, if you find that you can't stabilize the ball expertly (virtually still) for a pattern, then stay at this level until you can (or until you're bored and ready to throw it out). Since the upper-body patterns are constant, you won't jeopardize strength benefits to these muscles.
  • In every Armit workout -- and this is important -- always include a standing pattern for each progression; this standing pattern will be one of your two patterns for each progression. You can do it as your first or second exercise in each progression, it doesn't matter. Research is very clear about postural specificity; it makes a significant contribution to generalizing the results to the way you'll be using them (hence standing/weight-bearing is important).

Other comments:

  • Visualize the four subdivisions of full ROM. With practice, you'll find that you can index through Progressive Motion with good separation between reps. Initially, it's easy to essentially repeat the same ROM each repetition save the first (1/4 range) and last (full range) repetitions.
  • Rest between sets is of course a huge variable, but in-season, I'd give it at least twice the work time or more (three times is just about ideal for work periods lasting up to 60 seconds). Your objective during the in-season phase is to increase/maintain functional force/power; endurance comes from skiing at this stage.
  • During the in-season, do Armit after ski workouts as often as you can. I think it's a very good way to link the ultimate neurological specificity of skiing to Armit (possibly a form of physiological overflow). Besides you've had the perfect "warm-up."
  • Do at least two high-intensity sessions a week toward the end of the season. While the sense of ski-fitness increases as the season lengthens, it's the tail end of the season when ski-strength declines.
  • During summer and fall, Armit whenever you're motivated. Two medium to high intensity sessions a week combined with rollerskiing is an effective loading scheme for most athletes.
  • One last thing: work that TrA with Armit. Significant postural-strength gains for all skiers, but I think classic skiers benefit enormously because the pelvis can be held more firmly (unconsciously) and more directly under the body, which achieves a better overall position for kick and glide than having too much low-back extension (takes the spine out of the ideal curve). In other words, better structure from better stabilization. It helps skaters too stay quiet, but with less trunk compression, they don't have the same low-back hyperextension issues that classic skiers do.

If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to fire off an email. Always looking forward to your thoughts.

Good luck in all your races!

Doug Doug Garfield Motioneering, Inc. EMail: A P.O. Box 4784 Naperville IL 60567-4784 USA