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what is it

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 "V" cycle. 

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 ] 


what for

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.

usage zone

  • 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 pole-push.

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 shorter time.  

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 is: 

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 abdominals
  • 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 high. 
  • 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 start. 

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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