Erik Bjornsen: SkiErg Training Right Outside His Door

Sep 21, 2018

Erik Bjornsen is a current US Ski Team member and two-time Olympian, having raced at both the Sochi (2014) and Pyeong Chang (2018) Olympics. We asked Erik about his summer training program, and how the SkiErg is included in the plan.

After my second Olympics, it was time for me to re-examine my goals and create a training plan that I believe can get me to where I want to be. After all, time is ticking. As I’ve progressed in my career, I feel I have gained knowledge of what it takes to be at the top level. I’ve been skiing alongside these guys (the top international skiers) for a while. I’ve been learning from them; now it’s time to beat them.

This has been a busy summer for me. A lot of big life steps have happened, including getting married. With more responsibilities comes more drive to succeed. For me it’s important to try different training techniques. New methods sometimes produce different results, ideally ones that can help me one-up those Europeans next winter. In the past I’ve used the SkiErg machine just occasionally at the gym and always found it to be a useful tool, but never incorporated it into my training plan. I have a running background and have pushed the foot work the last few years. One of my goals this year is to improve my upper body endurance. Skis are getting too fast (or faster and faster), nobody is waxing them to kick these days, (so poling is even more important). It’s time to improve the use of my upper body, and maximize the poling part of skiing!

The next block of my training I will try and shift my priorities. For the majority of the summer I try to build a “base”. A lot of athletes have different training plans, but there is one thing everyone agrees on: having high training volume in the first part of the dryland season is important. In the next period I will try to focus more on quality than quantity—prioritizing good energy during intervals over weekly volume.

I installed a SkiErg outside my front door. I’ve used it as another method of ski-specific training. You can only pound the pavement a few hours a day before it becomes unhealthy so I’ve been mixing in other activities into my regular training methods. This training season I have averaged an hour and a half of erging a week, and another 45 minutes of swimming.

I typically will use the SkiErg for 20-45 minutes, depending on if it’s an individual session or if I’m combining it with another activity. The machine has been living outside my door for three months now. The first few sessions on the SkiErg felt never ending, but once I got into the rhythm of using the SkiErg, I became satisfied with the results and time started passing by much faster. I appreciate the simplicity of using it. Sometimes I’ll use it when I’m waiting for a teammate, or if I need to fit in a quick extra session. It’s impossible to miss a workout with the Erg outside my door.

I highly recommend the SkiErg, as I believe it can help a skier at any level improve their time on snow. Feel free to contact me at ebjornsen@gmail.com if you would like any suggestions on workouts, or want to duel me to a SkiErg race sometime!

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