Fischer Marathon Prep Workout: Ski Specific Strength in Poling and Double Poling

From GRP/USBA Biathlete and Fischer athlete Susan Dunklee

This workout is great for improving core stability, core strength, arm strength, and balance.
These drills are a staple of the US Biathlon Team’s strength training program. However, ski specific strength applies across all modes and distances of cross country skiing and racing. While Susan may use this workout to improve her biathlon performances, marathon racers will also benefit from specific strength and a stronger double pole in long races.

GRP skier Liz Guiney working on specific strength

Time:  ~1 hour including warm up and cool down

You can use either classic or skate skis.
Warm up for at least 20 minutes with easy skiing.
Find a straight stretch of trail about 50-70m long, either flat or slightly uphill for a challenge.
Ski your chosen section of trail once for each of the exercises described below. After each one, ski easily back to the start and give yourself plenty of time to recover (~2 minutes) before starting the next exercise.

•    Double pole with very long cycles, extending your arms well past your hips.
•    Double pole with very short cycles, only move your arms half way to your hips.
•    Double pole alternating 5 short cycles, 5 medium cycles, and 5 long cycles.
•    Single stick poling (striding style poling, just don’t use your legs).
•    Remove one pole and “double pole” using one arm only.  Try to keep your core solid and hips facing forward. (It should feel hard and probably will feel awkward.) Repeat on other side.
•    Double pole balancing on one ski.  Try to keep core solid and hips facing forward. Repeat balancing on the other ski.
•    Double pole balanced on the balls of your feet.  Try not to let your heels touch the bindings.
•    Core-only double pole.  Keep your elbows locked and try not to use any arm muscles.
•    Arms-only double pole.  Keep your core locked and try to use your triceps.

Optional second set: Take a 15 minute break of easy skiing then repeat.
Cool down for 10-20 minutes afterwards.

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