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Focus of technique

Each arm-push and torso side-move provides close and simple support for one leg-push -- with no time gaps or weak phases anywhere in the stroke cycle.

  • Immediately start the pole-push on the new side as the leg-push is ending. Or perhaps even better, before the previous leg-push finishes.  No gap.

The whole point of single-poling skate is to eliminate any time gap in recovering from each pole-push.  The "weak gap" on the pole-recovery side is the problem of the V1 Skate motion technique, so if I cannot start the next pole-push before the previous skate-push ends, or immediately as the skate-push is ending, I might as well just have selected to perform V1.

  • Keep it Simple

If it starts feeling complicated to learn, or complicated to manage, then I might as well just have selected V1 Skate instead.

Also, keep the "side-glide" going:

  • Use the hip abductor muscles and side-to-side weight-shift to help push the ski further out to the side.
  • Do not fall into the obvious direct-labor approach of just stepping the ski up the hill.  Instead focus on stepping the tail of the ski up and forward -- but only for the purpose of aiming the tip more out to the side.

Otherwise might as well just be doing classic herringbone.

Analysis of approach

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Muscles used


  • Arm and Shoulder muscles for the pole-push (especially triceps)
  • Torso Rotation sideways
  • Shoulder Untwist "semi-vertically" -- on both sides to help both single-pole pushes.

Details on specific muscle moves

Shoulder-Torso Swing side-to-side

Swinging the shoulders from side to side could be another way to help the legs keep going up a steep hill -- keep pushing the ski out to the side -- to keep the magic of the "side-glide" going.

(Note that the Shoulder-Torso-Swing move cannot help in pure Classic Herringbone technique, because Classic skiing has no "magic" to convert sideways motion into forward power.)

But it takes a lot of skillful coordination to both get the timing right and to transmit it effectively thru the skis (or pole tips?) to the snow surface. So working on shoulder-torso-swing is not part of the strategy theme for this technique, so . . .

Most skiers should not worry about it.

Your unconscious neuro-motor control systems will probably fall into some sort of upper-body motion which is not harmful, and maybe even helps a little -- and most of us should be glad to accept such an easy win.

specific hints: for those few who insist on digging into this move further . . .

Starting the shoulders and torso rotating away from the direction of the leg-push generates a reactive side-force that joins with the leg-push.

by Newton's Third Law, "every action has an equal opposite reaction"

And once the torso / upper body is already rotating to the next side, stopping its rotation toward the next leg-push generates another reactive side-force that joins with the next leg-push. 

again by Newton's Third Law

So I can win "both coming and going", if I get the timing right.

The sharper and quicker the starting and stopping of the rotation, the more force is added to each leg-push.

because "Force equals Mass times Acceleration"

Timing:  If the stopping of the shoulder-swing toward the leg-push side is done during the first phase of the leg-push, and the starting of the shoulder-swing away is done during the second phase of the leg-push.

Timing of shoulder-swing relative to the pole-pushes gets trickier:

  • If "simultaneous pole and opposite-leg timing" is used:  The shoulder-swing finish iss away from the start of the pole-push, and thus "softens" the pole-push force. The shoulder-swing start moves into the finish of the pole-push, and thus adds force to that phase of the pole-push (to the extent that the arm can transmit that force to the pole).
  • If "offset pole and leg timing" is used: The timing and direction of the shoulder-swing and the poling moves is simultaneous, which keeps it simple to learn and manage. But the shoulder-swing move is mostly away from the pole-push, so it is always "softening" (or shortening) the pole-push. Or we could think of it as the poles helping to strengthen the shoulder swing.  Yet another perspective is that this "softening" of the pole-push also makes the poling easier for those without strong arms.

Shoulder Untwist "semi-vertically"

Another way to add power is to start each pole-push action with the shoulders in a  twisted position (about the axis of the spine) -- so the shoulder on the pole-push side is positioned high, and the opposite shoulder is positioned low.

Then untwist the shoulders during the pole-push.  This untwisting action requires real muscular work -- performed by muscles otherwise seldom used for propulsion.  And it generates real additional forward-propulsive power.

Continue this action to "follow through" into the opposite "twisted" position -- ending the pole-push with the shoulder on the pole-push low and the opposite shoulder now positioned high.

No need for any special recovery move -- because the finishing shoulder-twist position for one side's pole-push is already the starting shoulder-twist position for the next side's pole-push.

This shoulder action is also used to help the "offset" double pole-push in the V1 Skate technique.  But in V1 this shoulder-untwist action can only help one push by one arm per stroke cycle, while in Single-Poling Skate it helps two pushes of some arm in each stroke cycle.

Sequence of Phases

?? [ this section is old, probably has some mistakes, and needs revising ] ??

0) Set-down ski + Start pole-push

Land ski on surface of snow with the tip aimed out toward the side (also partly forward and upward).  Get the ski edge under control and in position and angle quickly -- all ready to begin the leg-push.

Start single-pole-push with Arm and Shoulder muscles and Shoulder-Untwist muscles -- and some help from the stopping of the sideways Torso Rotation.  Even if there's possibly a slight gap in the leg-push, there does not need to be a gap in the pole-push.

1) Initial leg-push + Main pole-push thrust

Hip Abductor muscles are in position to start pushing effectively even with the ski close underneath the skier.

Main single-pole-push with Arm and Shoulder muscles and Shoulder-Untwist muscles -- and some help from the stopping of the sideways Torso Rotation.

Torso Rotation sideways and Pole-push partly outward help the leg-push out to the side -- and also somewhat backward.

Start recovering previous leg pulling it inward and stepping the tail up and forward.

Start recovering previous arm up and forward.

2) Main leg-push + Start torso rotation

Phase 2a -- Hip Extensors and Knee Extensors are now in position to push the ski edge out to the side and partly angled backward.  Then phase 2b -- Ankle Extensors ("toe-push" calf muscles) add a final extension to the range-of-motion of the leg-push.

Torso Rotation sideways:  Start the rotation of the upper body away from this leg-push side.  This action generates a reactive side-force to help the leg-push in this Phase 2.

Complete the remaining range-of-motion of the single-pole-push, with Arm muscles and Shoulder-Untwist muscles -- which can help the start of the Torso Rotation action back toward the other side.

Complete the recovery of the previous leg and arm, in and up and forward.

other half of symmetrical stroke-cycle

3) same as phase 0 but on other side

4) same as phase 1 but on other side

5) same as phase 2 but on other side

Video checkpoints

[ to be added


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