In my first article on CCS (Cross-Country Skiing) I wrote about the importance of core training. I received more interest than I was expecting so I wanted to get this summer workout out as fast and as simply as possible. Sorry it got a little more complex than I wanted. If you have any specific questions you are more than welcome to write me in Norwegian..på norsk), if you like since, I know most of my readers here are Norwegian CCS.
This article became a lot longer than I thought because one of my coach friends reminded me that if a an athlete or parent really believes in this this article will be their only chance to learn it without a lot of research, because the majority of coaches still don’t believe. Unfortunately he is probably right and thus the length.
Yes, I know it gives you a head ache to look at all this stuff, There are just illustrations to make the system easier. Everything you need is listed in the drop box link both in english and Norwegian. If you have any question just give me a call 975-61166. Can’t make it any easier.
Where does the strength program for the summer fit in the Annual Plan? Since the summer off season is so short we have to pre-plan. Below is an example of a pre-planned summer program. (All this is in the following folder both in English and på norsk.) In theory using this program ,every Cross-country skier in Norway can have a program that is guaranteed to work this summer in 2 weeks.
Here is how you will proceed. All the work is done and even made to look organized. The workouts are total body for 2 days a week.
Here are the 3 fun circuit videos that the program will consist of. I might as well let you see how easy this is going to be before i start to explain it.
Circuit 1- Leg press….Ab mat situps….Reverse Grip lat pulldowns
Circuit 2- Glute Kicks…Hamstring/glute extensions….Lower Back Extensions…DB Bench Press.
Circuit 3- Hip Raises…Seated Calves…Tibia Anterior
- You have to learn exercises
2. Test them for your “current level of strength” all explained” Read how and watch videos.
3. Notice I don’t take 1 repetition maximums, but take multi- rep tests and convert them. Taking 1 Rep tests is dangerous and because athletes always have to compete it gives a false test of level of strength.
4. Convert them to 1 rep maximum (explained)
5. Set the numbers in a spread sheet. that is the hard part …you have to know how to douple click on MS excel
6. Follow the workouts. And get a really cool result graph
NOTE: The summer workout phase is set for you to be done with your summer strength program to end around August 1st when many of the schools and camps begin. …Planning….. Since the summer off season is so short I have included a short Activation and a Maximum Strength phase that will allow you for a good solid summer strength program. I have not included the most important phase which is Muscle Endurance that I will go into in my next article.
- Recheck the 3 videos on circuit training some of these exercises so it make the workouts go faster.
- The exercises I suggest are below and a short reason why to do them.
Let me get started with a few thoughts.
The progression sheets I have included in the article are critical to CCS. This issue of not doing legs for CCS is ridiculous. If we went into it further we are just talking about the stronger your legs are the more force they produce thus the faster you will go.
The reason people don’t do legs is they train them ever time they go into the gym to exhaustion and then of course the legs are too tired to train skiing the next 2 days. That is why I always talk about the “progression” of adding the weight. I have made it simple for those that want by inserting an Activation/Maximum Strength excel spreadsheet that will give you exact weights you will use ever workout to slowly adapt the body (legs) to strength training. Here it is really simple. Any coach who encourages his skiers to train to exhaustion when the strength train is wrong. Your choice. Yes, it takes work…just like properly waxing your skis.
Many of the exercises I have chosen can be switched with others. I picked the ones I have is that they are the fastest to get done with in a gym atmosphere without a lot of confusion. I have added the videos on these exercises because I know most of you have no idea how to do them right and that is one of two critical factors. The progression or how much weight you increase each week being the other.
When to do your strength training work. I find the easiest day to do your strength workout is the day you do your long , low heart rate training. You can do it in the morning of this these days or afternoon. In the summer it I more fun to go to the gym in the morning, get it out of the way and then do your long aerobic workouts in the afternoon when the weather is nicer.
Actually going to the gym and doing a workout is much more complicated some times than just having someone write down what you should do. When I wrote these articles I take into play years of actually working in the gym with people.
Things to consider:
- What equipment is available in your gym.
- How much time do you want to take to spend in the gym. Things to consider when picking exercise for example are, how long does it take to load the plates, what equipment is available at the time you want to train.
Circuit training: You will see I have set the program up so you can do circuit training. This means doing 3 exercises in a row. In this case you will go from a leg exercise to a center of the body exercise to an upper body exercise. You will do all the sets for each group first before you move onto the next 3 group circuit. You will also notice I have grouped the exercises so if you go into the gym as a team any of the 3 groups I have picked can be used to start. For example. One group can start with circuit 1, another group can start with circuit 2 and another with circuit 3. This is the reality of training.
Leg press– is the driving muscles of the legs. Slowly adapting them to strength training will increase the force your legs can produce as well as the power and muscle endurance. Picking a leg press over other compound leg exercises is a simple matter of time in the gym and access to equipment when you are there.
Example: Just for an example. Is it better to maybe do a hex-bar dead lifts or a squat or lung . The hex bar deadlift may be considered a better movement. But if you only have one in a gym and have 6 people wanting to do the exercises and add to that adding plates. Which is more efficient. Adding a counting weights or setting a pin in a leg press machine? These are the things many trainers never think about when they design programs without having the experience of actually being in the gym.
Ab mat sit-ups– I explained in the last article the importance of a strong core and how to do the ab mat sit-up.
Reverse grip lat pulldowns– the main movement of the lats is to rotate the elbows around the shoulder exactly like in skiing. We use a reverse grip because of the weak link at the elbow become stronger using the biceps in this position. See the videos for a longer explanation.
Glute kick backs or Hip-extensions– The hip drive in every ski leg drive comes from the gluteus maximus. This exercise is the single most import exercise for that. ( If your gym has the machine) If a machine is not available in your gym as seen in the video properly learning the Hip-extension using the glutes is a good substitute. See the videos
Lower back extensions – called low back extensions for a shorter name in the program like the abdominals was explained in the last article and is the balancing muscle area for the core. I name these things different sometimes just ….well… because I do..
See Video above for Lower Back Hyper-extensions…in same video
Dumbell Bench Press– I laugh when I see athletes doing standard bench press. It show how little the coach knows about this movement. I mean just ask yourself, what sport your do hold a bar in your hands and lock your shoulders in one plane of movement? DB bench presses allow your arms to work in their designed motion for each individual body type and shoulder position.
Hip Raise– works the Glutius medius and minimus . This muscle group is what stabilizes the thigh to be straight, causing force to go straight to the ground in a straight line by keep the knee from bending in. A common weakness in all skiers.
Seated Calf and
Tibia anteria on a seated calf machine.
These last 2 muscles stabilize the ankle. Also since this is the base of the body to the ground many technique changes can occur with weakness here.
Of course we could add numerous other exercises. But the list can become endless. Just as there are some better exercises for various body parts BUT, when you are in a gym full of people or are in a hurry I have found these exercises work the best for many practical reasons. This is a great starting program for any cross-country skier.
I could go into much more material on this summer workout but I hope that the videos and pictures inserted will give you a good reason to get started and make it as easy to do as possible.
These test videos have been post before, but why you are here you might as well not have to search for them.
In ever one of my articles I always hid a part that if read will give some real secrets of my system. The steps I used for the exercise progression is here. If you read and understand it, you are at the top of the strength training world.
Of course you can e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org