- Pole-push power can solve lots of technique puzzles.
Serious racers work lots on poling in the off-season,
and can go amazingly fast, even go up hills just using their poles. Poling
gets past the grip versus glide compromise of classic leg-push.
- Smart tricks add lots of power to the pole-push.
Effective poling is not just about hours of training
or having strong arms. There's a surprising number of opportunities for
smart tricks. List of frequently missed
tricks -- see below. (see also
Double Pole motion
- If you do not train your poling
If you (understandably) do not train your poling,
it's worth knowing that sometimes the reason some technique looks
"effortless" for somebody else is because that somebody has
two other big reservoirs of "effort" to draw upon: their
well-trained arm muscles and their well-trained abdominal muscles.
biggest difference between serious racers and competent Classic
striders is that the racers seriously train for poling over the
As I was preparing over the summer for my first year of serious
racing, I had heard that Classic striding technique was very tricky, and
that summer training did not transfer well to on the snow.
So I figured the one thing that was sure to transfer well was poling
power. I did lots of double-poling and single "diagonal"
polling workouts on rollerskis. I did weight training for my
triceps and abdominal muscles.
When I got onto snow in December, I found that my poling was strong
on its own and worked great on the groomed snow. And I found that
using my poles helped me get through marginal grip conditions in my
classic striding -- indeed some of those days I thought my legs weren't
really doing their share.
When I got to my big 50-kilometer classic-technique marathon races, I
found that most of those had lots of flat and gentle sections where I
was not doing Classic striding at all -- because poling was faster and
more effective. And I passed lots of other racers that way.
If I had to point to one "secret" that gave me the most
advantage in classic-technique races, it was pole-push power.
But apart from racing, I found that double-poling and
kick-double-pole are just fun motions to learn and do.
The first trick is to drop the weight of your upper body
onto the poles at the start of the push. Beginners think that poling is
all about the arms, but actually there's lots of other muscles and body
parts that can help. The simplest is use the weight of the chest and
shoulders and head to help push by dropping them down onto poles.
But using body weight is not a "free lunch". You always
have to raise the weight of the chest and shoulders and head back up
again, and that's take real muscular work, especially by the back muscles.
Some other tricks that lots of athletic skiers miss:
crunch sharply down in the chest at the start of the
push (instead of hinging at the waist) -- to drive the shoulders to help
push the poles back. The more forward the shoulders start, the more this
bend arms strongly with elbows "winged" out to the
side, so then they're in position to use the "internal shoulder rotator"
muscles to help push the poles directly backward.
transmit to the skis fully the extra force of
chest-crunch and body-weight, by keeping the arms rigid and actively
pushing during the first phase of the push. Do not allow the arms to
collapse and absorb the force instead of transmitting it.
double-poling: use forward-foot-thrush to finish the double-pole push with
reactive force benefit.
For lots more on poling techniques, see
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