For this week’s workout, we asked for a specific-strength workout from this year’s Junior National Training Group (NTG) Camp, which was held Aug. 2-15 near Park City, Utah. One of three coaches at the camp, Maria Stuber (head nordic coach at the College of St. Scholastica), shared the following, which she described as an “old-school endurance strength workout.” She led the camp with two U.S. Ski Team (USST) staff members, development coach Bryan Fish and World Cup wax technician Tim Baucom. Eighteen athletes attended — 10 men and eight women — all under the age of 21.
“The U24’s are invited to other U.S. Ski Team camps like our October camp and our May Bend camp,” Fish explained in an email.
The goal of this month’s camp was “to get our very best together to train and learn from one another,” he wrote. “These are athletes that are already or very well may soon be on the U.S. Ski Team, so building a healthy and positive training environment for these athletes is critical. Secondly, building an environment where these athletes push each other yet trust one another is critical. Many of these athletes have already traveled overseas together and continuing to strengthen their comfort and focus toward how we can support, lean on and succeed together – as a group, as a nation, as a team.
“Third, we want to provide these athletes with meaningful feedback,” Fish continued. “The athletes work with our high performance department at U.S. Ski & Snowboard to learn what individual items they are already strong as well as windows of opportunities for improvement.”
The primary focus was to provide a “strong training environment,” he wrote, while also testing athletes in areas like strength, power and mobility with a protocol similar to the U.S. Ski Team.
Throughout the two-week camp, there was an abundance of rollerskiing and threshold ski walking/bounding, as well as strength work.
“One question that commonly comes up is why such workouts are becoming less familiar or possibly less utilized in coaches’ training plans,” Fish wrote, referring to specific strength. “I think it is because more programs are incorporating this type of effort into classic sprint training sessions. That being said … [this workout develops] many important technical and physical skills.”
Stuber explained that the workout emphasizes repetition “to work out technique issues and to feel efficiency differences,” she wrote. “It is also a fun social workout because the whole team stays in one place and you can have a good time with rivalries and inter squad competition. “
The workout: Specific Strength on Skis
- 20-minute warmup
- Followed by:
- 8 x 30 seconds single stick
- 6 x 30 seconds core-only double pole
- 8 x 30 seconds double pole
- 20-minute cool down
“We did not harp on technique too much and let the athletes think and discover what was working best to move across the ground with the group,” Stuber noted. “We had video on an iPad for those who wanted to see what they looked like and if the changes they were feeling were showing up on camera.
“There were a lot of blisters,” she added. “Gloves are recommended for this workout.”