Wednesday Workout: Double Pole Rehab with Coach Pav

BrainspiralJune 3, 2015
Double pole rehabilitation should be an essential part of any early season training. (Photo: Pavlina Sudrich)

This week’s Wednesday Workout comes from Pavlina Sudrich. Originally from the Yukon, Sudrich drove the development program at Nakkertok and was the Head Coach of Cross Country Ontario from 2011-2014. In addition, she ran Canadian B Tours in Europe for the past two years. In the spring of 2015 the Alberta World Cup Academy announced that Sudrich would join club to work alongside coach Chris Jeffries.


June is great time to start digging into certain technique limitations. Here at the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) we are beginning the season with a focus on double pole rehabilitation. It’s a great place to start as the double pole movement transfers across pretty much every technique, and can be done while athletes are still coming into fitness.

Step 1:

Easy double pole with some sections of resistance. Adding a gradual uphill to an easier double pole loop will allow you to see the athlete’s technique while they are relaxed, and while under a manageable load.

Step 2:

Pick out what you’d like to change about an athlete’s technique, then try and find out what the underlying , or root cause of the issue is.

For example:

In this image below we see three athletes all in a relatively similar position.

Athlete #1 is sitting down while double poling.
Athlete #1 is sitting down while double poling. (Photo: Pavlina Sudrich)


Athlete #1 is the one we’re going to pick on because he’s a nice guy, and because he demonstrates two common issues in double pole.

First and perhaps most obviously he is sitting back. You can almost imagine the chair he is about to sit on.

Second, he’s rocking a pretty hard swayback. This happens so often in double pole technique that I have officially named it ‘the Beyonce’. Please refer to the image below for further pop culture clarification.

The only time you don’t want to be like Beyonce. (Photo: Pavlina Sudrich)

Step 3:

Fix the Issue.

The root cause of this symptom can vary for each athlete. In Athlete #1’s case- the squat sit combined with a swayback which tells me is hip tilt needs adjusting. We also need him to find a power powerful position at the point when the poles hit the pavement so his form doesn’t ‘break’ into a swayback.


Yell ‘TUCK YOUR TAIL BETWEEN YOUR LEGS’. If your athlete has half an imagination this will work – if not a series of ‘cat and cow’ movements will work.

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Once the hip finds a good forward tilt position we can start on pushing the movement from a low squat to a more forward position. Check out the example below.

(Photo: Pavlina Sudrich)

What worked for athlete #1 was to essentially ‘relax the calf’. He was keeping his ankles locked, forcing flexion to come from the knee and hip joints which immediately throw one’s weight back. By focusing on relaxing the calf he was able to get the ankle joint moving, keeping his weight more forward. You will see this is working when the angle of the shin matches the angle of the back. In this image you will see we’re not there yet – but getting closer.

Athlete #1 was keeping his ankles locked which in turn forced flexion to come from his knees and hips. By ‘relaxing the calf’ he was able to get a better angle. (Photo: Pavlina Sudrich)

Finally, there need to be a more dynamic position from the trunk (i.e. no more swayback-Beyonce business). The queue to tuck the tail under will have worked on this a bit, but there is more an athlete can do. For this workout we introduced a physio ball. Have the athlete lie face down on it and imagine their arms like a parachute out in front. This isolates a good position from which to initiate the pole plant.

(Photo: Pavlina Sudrich)

It can also help to queue the athlete to ‘set’ or ‘brace’ themselves at the top of the movement so as not to break like a robin’s egg upon impact with the unforgiving pavement. In this last image you will see the fellow in the red shirt coming up nice and tall, his core lat’s ‘set’ ready for impact (just maybe don’t hike those rhomboids as high).

Great. Now that you have conquered double pole go have a double espresso and a nap. You deserve it.

(Photo: Pavlina Sudrich)
(Photo: Pavlina Sudrich)


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