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Specific Strength on Rollerskis: The Upperbody

Tue, Jun  6, 2006 - By Mike Muha

Steve Kuhl, Hugh Pritcahrd, Julie Houle and I headed over to Island Lake Rec Area for a rollerski. Since most skiers neglect their upper bodies in the summer (too much biking and running), Steve suggested we do a specific strength upperbody workout: 5 sets each of doublepoling and single sticking (diagonal stride, arms only) up a hill.

We skied several miles to the end of the bike path at Island Lake where there's a relatively gradual uphill. The key to doing specific strength is ensure that you maintain proper technique through the session. Too steep or too long a hill and you technique will break down. Bad technique during training will turn into bad technique on snow. As we get stronger during the summer, we'll start using steeper hills for specifc upper body strength.

As we climbed, the emphasis was on powerful moves with the arms and shoulders. Getting up the hill the fastest was not goal, although there may have been a little competitiveness to see who could single stick the furthest without cracking...

Don't think you need upperbody strength because you only skate? Guess again: V2 and Alt-V2 poling motions are doublepole motions. The stronger your upperbody, the stronger your skiing - both classic and skating.

Steve, Hugh, and Julie - warming up.
Steve, Hugh and Julie - warming up

Steve (kick doublepoling) and Hugh (skating)

Hugh single-sticking up the hill. All arms and shoulders; no legs.

Julie doublepoling up the hill

Steve doublepoling up the hill 

Steve and Julie single-sticking; Hugh on his way back down for the next rep.