CXC’s Center of Excellence Seeks to ‘Study Latest Innovations in the Sport’


A glance into any one of the glass windows lining the east side of Central Cross Country (CXC) Academy’s Center of Excellence building might give the impression of the average athlete gym. But if you step across the front threshold or take a peek at the academy’s 360-degree virtual online tour and sport science page, you’ll find much more than treadmills, stationary bikes and medicine balls.


Located in Madison (WI) the CXC Center of Excellence also houses a 10-by-12-foot rollerski treadmill, SkiErgs, and an in-house-made, power-pole machine. For many, though, equipment is not the most powerful tool in the center. Rather, it’s the center’s capacity to evaluate and educate its members and non-members alike about Nordic skiing.

Currently, the Center of Excellence offers performance evaluations, as well as fitness testing for lactate and VO2max using the oversized treadmill. Recorded and individualized technique coaching sessions on the rollerski treadmill are also available for those willing to pay $150 dollars per hour. To help athletes gain a better understanding of their body within sport, the center is also presently working on developing a biomechanical analysis software.

img_9639The rollerski treadmill at the CXC Academy Center of Excellence

And CXC recently hired a sport development and education director, Egor Akimov, CXC head coach Andy Keller explained on the phone.

“He’s got a bachelor’s and PhD from the Russian State University in physical education and sport, majored in human physiology, and competed over in Russia, and then he served on the Moscow Center of advanced sports technology as the head of the science department,” Keller said. “He’s done a lot of research over in Russia on the biomechanics and things of that nature. He’s leading our center [in Madison], doing a lot of the sessions down there and the technique work.”

According to the CXC Executive and Athletic Director Yuriy Gusev, the Center of Excellence is approximately 90 percent complete. Anyone from CXC club members, to donors, to CXC team members, and the general public, can access the center at no cost. Rollerski treadmill evaluations cost CXC clubs $250 per day, $150 per hour for all others.

“We are finalizing a few more partnerships on the sports science program and equipment but will start performing studies in cross country skiing this coming fall,” Gusev wrote in an email. “Our goal is to have top sports science facility to study latest innovations in the sport, potential application in cross country skiing to improve training, recovery and performance.”



Determinants of Performance

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Vo2 Max. Maximum oxygen uptake (Engine Size – how big is the engine?) This is the ability of the circulatory system to transport oxygen and of the muscular system to extract and use oxygen. Vo2 max is an excellent indicator of aerobic fitness, but a poor predictor of performance within a homogenous group of athletes.

Lactate Threshold. (RPM’s – how high can you race the engine?) Lactate threshold (LT) is the ability to continue using the aerobic system to replenish ATP at high speeds. It is expressed as power output at LT, velocity of LT or percentage of Vo2 max. LT is one of the best predictors of endurance performance.

Economy. (MPG – how many miles per gallon does your engine get?) Economy can be defined as the amount of oxygen that it takes for an individual athlete to go a given speed. More economical athletes will have a lower oxygen cost at a given pace relative to a less economical athlete. This can explain why an athlete with a lower VO2 max can still outperform an athlete with a higher VO2 max. Economy is one of the best predictors of endurance performance.

Strength. Strength is defined as the maximum force that can be produced in one all out effort. Muscular endurance is related to being able to maintain a submaximal force repeatedly.

Source: SkiPost

Related Posts:


Skier Self Analysis

Place a check in the box on the right that best agrees with the statement on the left.

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Checks moving from upper left to lower right indicate strength in Endurance and a weakness in speed. Checks moving from upper right to lower left indicate strength in speed and a weakness in endurance. Checks pushed right in the middle of the graph indicate a high-end fitness weakness, such as low VO2, lactate threshold and/or poor economy. Only testing at a qualified lab can determine where your physiological weakness in this zone lies.

You can gain some beneficial information from analyzing your performances in your five best and five worst races. See if you can find trends that might help indicate your strengths, weaknesses (area’s of greatest opportunity) with regard to fitness, strategy, diet and your race and pre-race habits. Things to consider are the race distance, technique, individual or mass start, snow and weather conditions (cold/warm, soft/hard tracks), course type (hilly, flat, steep, gradual), strategy (start hard/easy, attack the hills or ski an even tempo), nutrition (general, morning of, day before), other (travel, sleep, emotional state, race size.)



Available Now | Cross Country Ski Performance Testing

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CXC Performance Center, Madison (WI)

By:  Peter Graves

MADISON, WI – For those that may have thought that sophisticated testing opportunities were strictly the domain of national team elite skiers comes exciting news about cross-country ski specific testing located in the heart of Wisconsin’s capital city. It’s easy to get to, and it’s better than ever.

CXC now offers the opportunity for skiers of all ages to ski indoors on a 10×12 roller skiing treadmill which offers testing amenities like a VO2 max and lactate analyzer, and innovative Dartfish softwear technology that features front and side view imaging and power pole.

CXC Executive Director Yuri Gusev said today that they are ready to roll out another exciting feature to the CXC training offerings saying….”We have a training facility now with rollerski treadmill, VO2 Max testing equipment and lactate. Last year we have developed poles, that have ability to measure force and power output. It is a finished product and have been used for testing by USSA staff, U.S.Paralympic Team and Russian Institute of Sports Innovations.  We have been also working on two other training/testing devices for cross country skiing. One is double pole ergometer with using actual ski poles and another one is double pole treadmill. We are also currently using this testing equipment for biomechanical analyses and technique efficiency. “

CXC Coaches including Bill Pierce, Andy Keller, Andrew Poffenberger and Gusev will personally analyze the data and make recommendations. Together they have used this equipment for elite athletes for eight years and have conducted an astounding number of test sessions of well over 500. Now this special opportunity is available to you.

“What we are simply saying” said Gusev, “is that measurement is a way to quantify the data, testing is the tool that allows us to make suggestions about strengths and weaknesses, and about quantity and value. Testing is also a way of establishing a baseline which is so important for athletes to know where they are at. Without these kinds of evaluations in endurance sports like cross-country skiing it is like playing basketball in a dark room and not knowing where the net is.”

The testing process also plays an important role in the quality of physical and technique improvement. If you are looking to make that next step forward in your training plan this off-season, we would love to hear from you.


Each session is priced at $150 for a full hour of testing. The price for an adult group is $500 per day, and $250 for a junior group.

Schedule A Session

Questions? Ask Us


Aerobic-Anaerobic Conditioning Test on a Track

The principal of this test is to determine if you are progressing in training, and not over-training. You will be able to have concrete distance-related data to correspond with your Heart Rate after doing this test. The test is easy to complete, and easy to replicate.

What is needed for this test:

1. Heart rate monitor that has capacity to set splits, measure and display average heart rate after each split and memory to store the data.

2. 400 meter standard track

Test Protocol:

1. Run first 400 meters at the easiest pace to set a base line for the test, measure your time and aver-age heart rate for the lap.

2. Set a recovery base line – like 110 beats per minute, for instance. Always use the same base line as recovery before you start next lap. This means as soon as you heart rate gets down to 110 beats per minute you will need to perform the next lap.

3. After you finish first baseline lap find out the average HR over that time. The next effort will be at your average hart rate from the baseline lap plus 10 beats. (Example: if you average heart on the baseline lap was 117 beats per minute than your next lap should be at 127 beats per minute.)

4. As soon as your heart rate gets down to the recovery level (our example was 110 bpm) start your second lap. Run at the pace to be as close as you can to Base+10 beats per minute (Our example is 127bpm). You don’t have to look all the time at your hear rate monitor but just once in a while. This will also teach you how to pace yourself. The more frequently that you do this test, the more consistent you will become.

5. Continue to perform the test in the same format and your last lap will be your maximal effort.

6. When you finish your test you will have 4 variables to compare for each effort: running speed, average heart rate, recovery time and recovery average heart rate.

7. You can plot your data on two graphs, first graph for performance and second one for recovery.

8. Next time you do a test you will be able to compare data to determine your improvements.