GeneralTrainingWorkoutsWednesday Workout: Laying the Foundation with SMS and Sverre Caldwell

Brainspiral BrainspiralMay 20, 2015
Stratton nordic skiers work on general strength, specifically overhead squats, last summer. From left to right: Mackenzie Rizio, Katharine Ogden, Tegan Thorley, and Ana Witkowski. (Photo: Sverre Caldwell)
Stratton nordic skiers work on general strength, specifically overhead squats, last summer. From left to right: Mackenzie Rizio, Katharine Ogden, Tegan Thorley, and Ana Witkowski. (Photo: Sverre Caldwell)

This week’s workout comes from Sverre Caldwell, the nordic program director at the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) in Stratton, Vt., whom the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) recently named Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year. Here, Caldwell shares a typical day in the life of a Stratton athlete in May, when the academy is getting back into the swing of training.

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Two-a-days:

“At SMS we use May as a period to build some general strength and lay a foundation down for great summer training,” Caldwell explained in an email. “Our Wednesday class schedule gives us two training blocks; one from 11-12 p.m. and the other from 3:30-6 pm.”

Morning session: General strength

“During the morning session we go to the weight room, do a short spin warm up and then some general strength,” he continued. “At this time of year our strength consists of a 15-minute warm up (spin, jump rope, sumo squats, inch worms, etc..) followed by our strength routine, then core.

“We usually choose 3 leg, 3 upper body and several core/balance/stability exercises. We will do two rounds/sets. Early in the spring we use very little weight, going for the proper movement and high repetitions. We slowly add weight and lower the repetitions, but never throw heavy weights around.”

Exercise examples:

– Lower body: overhead squats (see photo above), one-leg squats, lunges, hamstring physio-ball roll-outs, wall tosses (squat variation)

– Upper body: pull-ups, pushups, bench press, ring dips, roller board

– Core/stability: Dyna disk squats, back ups (supermans), planks, roll-outs, ring pull-ups

Mackenzie Rizio (l) and Mid-Atlantic skier Adam Marino (r) lead Stratton skiers on a trail run last summer during a training camp. (Photo: Sverre Caldwell)
Mackenzie Rizio (l) and Mid-Atlantic skier Adam Marino (r) lead Stratton skiers on a trail run last summer during a training camp. (Photo: Sverre Caldwell)

Afternoon session: Easy distance

Trail running and biking are two early season favorites at Stratton, according to Caldwell.

“Our goal is to build up through the spring so we can do a team 100-mile bike and an 11-mile trail run/race in early June,” he wrote.

“The [Long Trail/Appalachian Trail] goes over Stratton so we have lots of great trail running spots. We love the trail running because it helps build aerobic fitness, agility and coordination.”

Go-to trail run:

From Kelly Stand Road to Stratton Pond and back to school. Most of trail is soft dirt, “but there are enough rocks, short boardwalks and puddles to keep you on you toes,” Caldwell explained.

Length: About 10 miles with rolling terrain, making it easy to run in Level 1 (L1) and low Level 2 (L2).

Time: About 1 1/2 hours

“For base aerobic training, it is important to have a longer, steady effort keeping your heart rate above 120, but at a ‘conversation’ pace,” Caldwell wrote. “General rule of thumb is that you can talk pretty easily in L1, you shorten the sentences in L2 (breathing  a bit harder). On the distance days we shoot for staying in L1 for everything except the sustained uphills on which you will drift into L2. If the hill gets steep, we will often break into a ski walk instead of pushing the running.”

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