Two double-pole-pushes for each full both-leg-strokes cycle. So each
single skate-push is accompanied by a double-pole-push.
An explanation for the name is that the "V"
is the shape of the tracks made by a full cycle of both-sides leg
strokes, and there are "2" double-pole-pushes for each full
The Canadian term "1-skate" says that
there is one single-leg skate-push for each pole-push. Another
term occasionally used is "double-dance".
[ under construction ]
V2 is first of all for lower-force-requirement situations:
flat or gentle, hard fast snow. Very strong skiers also use it
for going up moderate hills.
It can also be good for skiers with strong poling power.
(a) Requires excellent balance.
(b) Stroke cycle phases spent in passive glide recovery are a
problem for steep hills.
- when hill gets too steep, switch to V1 offset.
Puzzle: Why should V2 not be the best technique for
steep hills? Seems like V2 is the most powerful technique for
elite racers on gentle terrain. Isn't power just what is needed
to go up steep hills? [ see
more on this ]
- when speed gets too fast for the pole-push to keep up, switch to
Skate No-Poles (or perhaps Open
Field Skate / V2 Alternate / 2-skate).
Puzzle: How could Open
Field Skate be better for some high speeds than V2?
(a) First learn solid balance gliding on one ski. Practice
balance by skating with no poles.
(b) To get the maximum effective work out of the V2 stroke cycle, make
four leg-pushes by extending the knee joint -- two on each side.
The first leg-push on each side is downward -- to lift the butt and
upper body in preparation for maximum power in the pole-push.
The other is out to the side -- the usual skate-push. The first
leg-push adds power by building "potential" energy --
because after the upper body is lifted high, it can then come down
with strong force on the poles to give much more force to the
I like to call this maximum-work-output cycle "Big
V2". It's not the only "right" way to do V2 -- I
could also do "Quick V2" -- less work produced, but in
I like the feeling of "Big
V2". It has everything: Leg-power, Fun Glide,
Maximum-pole-power, Mastery of balance.
"Big V2" -- the maximum-work-output stroke cycle
phase 1 Left -- recover on glide
- begin: land left ski on snow with knee flexed
- during: raise upper body during passive glide, also recover right
ski back to center
- end: left knee is extended
phase 2 Left -- pole-push
- begin: from a high upper body, crunch chest and
- during: allow butt and upper body to drop and
add power to pole-push
- end: left knee is flexed, butt and upper body low.
phase 3 Left -- skate-push
- begin: start skate-push from flexed left knee
- during: push ski against the snow and out to the side; also continue pole-push with focus on arm muscles
- end: left knee extended out to side, and butt and shoulders
low in center
phase 1 Right -- recover on glide
- begin: land right ski on snow with knee flexed
- during: raise upper body during passive glide, also recover left
ski back to center
. . . etc . . .
For an example of four leg-extension pushes in each full cycle, see
elite race Per Elofsson doing V2 skate on gentle terrain in the PerElofsson10 video on JanneG's website.
Notice that knee joint of each leg extends twice during a full
stroke cycle: first to raise the butt and upper body to prepare
for a more effective pole-push, and second to directly push the ski
against the snow in the skate-push.
I notice that the leg-compression that Per Elofsson makes to prepare
for each leg-extension push is like a "half-squat" -- clearly
much less than a full 90-degree bending of the knee. This is
significantly less knee-flex than is seen in an elite XC ski racer's
pure double-poling motion technique, and significantly less than the low
body position seen in a speedskater on ice with no poles.
Although Elofsson has carefully included all the
effective motion phases in his V2 stroke cycle, he chooses not
to extract the maximum possible work out of any one of them.
Instead he chooses the sub-range of each muscle movement which gets
the best work out of that muscle, while limiting bad stress on that
muscle which would hinder its sustained endurance performance.
The knee joint and big quadriceps muscles are strongest and safest
from bad stress in the "straighter" half of their range of
motion -- so that's where Elofsson uses them.
Extending the knee the first time during phase 1 adds power to the
pole-push -- but it also has the benefit of keeping the big leg muscles
moving during the passive glide, avoiding the isometric strain of
just holding a static flexed weight-bearing position.
Elite inline skaters on dry land have developed
a different (and amazing) technique to avoid the isometric strain of
passive glide on a flexed knee -- a technique called "double
push", which has nothing to do with poles.
(c) Tempting shortcuts that result in less than the maximum
effective work out of each stroke cycle:
- Rushing into the pole-push before lifting the hips and upper body
- Rushing into the skate-push before the hips have dropped down in
the pole-push. The most effective skate-push starts from a
strongly flexed knee.
Some books and instructors say that the skate-push
is made together with the pole-push. Well, it might be true that
they should finish together. But for the most effective
skate-push, need to delay its start until after the pole-push
It's not wrong to use these shortcuts when there's a
reason -- like climbing up a hill. But often the reason for rushing
things is just lack
of stable balance on one ski.
(d) Going up hills: Strong skaters can use V2 to go up
hills. One modification for substantial hills is to not lift the
butt and upper body so much in the first leg-push after landing the
ski on the new side. The problems with too much lifting
are: (1) it's a passive glide "dead spot", (2) it's
counter-productive to lift a substantial percentage of the body only
to drop it. So instead minimize the initial downward
leg-push, and drive the pole-push mainly with the arm and upper
abdominal muscles, not body weight.
On flat terrain, dead spots are OK if they are used
for substantial benefit. And on flat terrain, lifting the upper
body to power the pole-push is OK. But up a hill the capacity of
the body-lifting muscles is the primary limit on performance, so
adding yet one more lifting task doesn't help -- just takes away from
some other lifting.
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