General vs specific training

  • Creator
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  • #8121
    xcskier
    Participant

    I am questioning the value of general training (or “cross-training”)
    for anything other than recovery and regeneration.

    For example, in cross-country skiing we often do lots of running
    and cycling in the summer. I am wondering if there is any value in that
    other than for recovery sessions and to break up the monotony.

    Two specific examples:
    1. If I go for two hour kayaking, am I really doing anything beneficial
    for cross-country skiing? I am working my arms and core, but perhaps I should
    just go double-pole or use the ergometer.

    2. When doing high-intensity work, does it make sense to do pure running
    intervals (as opposed to more specific ski-bounding or roller-skiing intervals)?
    Running intervals may improve your running, but they may not contribute anything
    to faster skiing.

  • Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #8126

    The answer depends on your fitness level and your goals. The fitter the athlete and the higher the goals the more specific must be the training. Typically xc skiers do a lot of trail running and ski-hiking in the their base period because these are not too far removed from xc skiing movements. Kayaking can be good upper body training but certainly not as close to skiing as double poling on roller skis or a ski erg. Skiers at fairly low levels of fitness as well as younger juniors will benefit from most training types because an increase in general work capacity will transfer over to specific. For the the variety of training types can be important to prevent boredom and injury. But for sure top level skier MUST train specifically if they hope to improve and use things like cycling and rowing as recovery workouts.

    It definitely is best to do your high intensity training in more ski specific ways as this training models the sport more and so the transfer of training effect will be larger.

    Scott

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