Hill Bounding With Colin Rogers

Hill bounding, particularly with poles, is one of the most effective whole-body exercises a competitive cross country ski racer can do to prepare for the season. The combination of the body motions that are very similar to that of skiing on snow and the power development required for moving efficiently uphill is hard to beat for off-season ski training.

Although hill bounding can be used for many types of workouts, it is best utilized for higher intensity work such as lactate threshold and VO2 max sessions. By concentrating on bounding form you will ensure that you get the most out of this type of workout.

In the video, Colin demonstrates on the same hill that we use extensively for our training. In addition to using the grassy hillsides shown in the video, we also include longer (20-minute) aerobic and shorter VO2 max workouts up the steep cat tracks to the top of the mountain. We are fortunate to now have this hill (and mountain) right in our back yard. By contrast, when I was on US Cross Country Ski Team, I lived in Cleveland Ohio — not the most noted places for cross country skiing. However, even in Ohio there were some local alpine ski hills that were perfect for these types of workouts. I remember fondly going up and down the hills at “Alpine Valley” in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. So even if you are not in the mountains, look for a local hill, preferably mowed, and have at it!

The whole-body, cross country skiing-like motions are central to getting the most out of hill bounding. Cardio, strength, and technique come together in these sessions and they should be a regular part of your training plan.

– Betsy Youngman

Betsy Youngman is a two-time US Cross Country Ski Olympian (1988, 1992), US National Champion, 1989 Birkie champion, and US Ski Team member from 1987 – 1992. She is now, a devoted master’s skier, coach, Betsy is a 7-time Birkie competitor. Four of her races were top-10 finishes, including one at age 55 in 2015. Outside of the ski season she pursues her other passion- whitewater kayaking throughout the Western US.

Use Your Poles in Summer

Q: I feel I am too old and fragile to rollerski. What should I do instead?

A: We suggest you hike and run with your ski poles and use them to push off with as you would when skiing. You can use the poles you ski on snow with, but it is better to use poles that are shorter than your on-snow poles. The exact height will be determined by the energy you can put into the effort. When classic skiing on-snow you would use a pole about 83% of your height. If you are just Nordic walking than you would use a pole around 70% of your height. So your exact dry-land pole length will be determined between 83% and 70% of your height by how dynamic your striding, bounding and poling is.

Source: Andy at SkiPost

Use Your Poles in Summer

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Building Stamina for Climbing Hills

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Q: Do you have any advice that would be specific to building stamina for climbing hills when ski season returns?

A: Consistent training throughout the year is your best way at improving your stamina and general fitness for the ski season. You’ll see the biggest changes in your fitness if you get onto a regular schedule with your training. With that consistency in training, doing specific target exercise can help with the areas you are trying to improve on. With you looking for improvement in your climbing, there are a few things I would suggest.

1. L3 hill bounding, ski walking, and moosehoofs (sub-maximal bound). Most ski specific training method you can do. Longer Level 3 repetitions are the best way to improve your climbing skills during the off season.

2. Endurance Strength: In the weight room adding in higher rep (15-20) exercises is a good way to work on endurance strength for ski specific muscle groups.

3. Rollerski Strength: Even though rollerski strength (double pole and single stick only on hills) works solely the upper body, those muscles play a large part in all ski techniques. That is why it is important to work on building a strong upper body. It helps us not to rely on our lower body as much and helps with having balanced technique.

4. Plyometrics/Spenst: Various single and double leg jumps can help us build explosion and fast twitch fibers in our muscles. A lot of times we become bogged down on hills when we are unable to transfer weight quickly from side to side.

Additional Resources:

An Outline of Nordic Training Modes
Ski Walk and Moose Hoof Combo

Videos:

–  Ski-Walking and Hill Bounding
–  Ski Walking Intervals – Workout Ideas

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Resuming Training

You have to resume your training from the beginning of May.

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Caution: take your health and wellness seriously; if you feel like you’re not physically ready to do something, it’s okay to reduce training time from 2 hours to 1.5, or from 1.5 to 1 and so on…

Change your training volume according to your capabilities and limits.

For “Intermediate” training level volume, plan to spend 5-7 hours per week on various activities in May and June. Select lightly rugged terrains for your crosses, trying to run as evenly as possible when running uphill and avoiding acceleration. Use your bicycle mostly across the plain terrain. On Sunday, perform a continuous cross with poles. It looks like a usual cross running, but during any uphill running you have to make alternating two-step moves, helping yourself with poles. Try to choose totally different areas for your training, changing them as often as possible and making short hikes through undiscovered areas every day, which will bring you a lot of fun and pleasure. Total distance is not important, just be sure to exercise for planned 1,5-2 hours.

An Outline of Nordic Training Modes

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Skiing and Rollerskiing
Used for:
– endurance, intensity, speed, recovery, racing.
– strength (no poles skating, double-pole and single pole only sessions)

Running and Cycling
Used for:
– endurance, intensity, recovery, racing

Bounding
Used for:
– intensity, speed, strength

How: Bounding can be done with or without poles. The motion should closely imitate classical skiing. To focus on strength and explosiveness do shorter intervals focusing on getting maximum distance with each bound. For intervals try to use the explosiveness, rhythm and intensity that imitates ski racing.

Ski Walking
Used for:
– intensity, endurance, strength

How: Ski walking can be done with poles, but is generally done without them. It should closely imitate classical skiing. It can be incorporated into running endurance sessions on steep and/or long uphills and be used for intervals on uphills. Poles should be about 2 inches shorter than poles used for classical skiing on snow.

Spenst (dynamic ski specific plyometric exercises)
Used for:
– developing explosive power and strength

How: The focus is on getting maximum distance on each of 10 to 15 hops. Do sets of 10 to 15 hops and take full recovery (2-3 mins) between sets. Skating spenst can be done by hopping from side to side in one place, or jumping sideways up a steep hill. Classical spenst can be done by hopping on one leg at a time up a steep hill, or by bounding with both legs up a steep hill. Be imaginative, and warm up and down very, very well.

Weights
Used for:
– developing overall maximum-strength and muscular balance

How: use a wide variety of lifts that cover all major muscle groups.

Circuit
Used for:
– developing overall strength-endurance and muscular balance

How: set up a circuit of exercises that alternate stomach, back, legs, arms. Spend half a minute to a minute and a half at each station and move from one station to the next without stopping.

– Andy at SkiPost.com

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