Spring Testing

6.Jun.2016 by Heather Mooney

by Ben Lustgarten

Although it is only June, the second official training month of the new season, the Craftsbury Green Racing Project has been conducting extensive physical testing in May. The tests include the Canadian Strength Test, an uphill running time trial up local Mt. Elmore, a VO2 Max Test using a Concept2 Ski Erg, and a MOXY Test using a Concept2 Ski Erg. These tests will give us a very solid baseline of information that we plan to build on throughout the training season.

“Hit the ground running” is definitely a good phrase used to describe the Craftsbury GRP training this year. This hard effort and high intensity testing allows for a shorter “break-in” period of sometimes lackluster training in late spring and early summer that plague some Nordic skiers out there. It also increases the early focus, while providing individual goals for each skier to get to by the next testing block.

The Canadian Strength Test is a common standard for Nordic skiers to use. For those of you who are not familiar with the test, it is very easy to replicate if you choose to add it in your own training program to see if you are getting stronger over time. The test is as follows: perform as many pull-ups as possible in 1 minute, 1 minute rest, perform as many sit ups as possible for 1 minute, 1 minute rest, perform as many push ups as possible in 1 minute, 1 minute rest, perform as many box jumps as possible in 1 minute, 1 minute rest, perform as many bench dips as possible, 1 minute rest. The final score is calculated by adding up all of the numbers as they are except for pull-ups: multiply your number of pull-ups by 3.

Below, Mike Gibson demonstrates strength testing protocol for pullups and pushups:


Most Nordic skiers are familiar with an uphill running time trial. Nordies love to just get in that pain cave and test how mentally and physically strong they are, so what better way than running uphill as hard as possible? The Craftsbury team uses local Mt. Elmore, which is more an adequate for searching the depths of the pain cave. As calculated by a Polar V800 training watch, the uphill running time trial is 3.03km long and has 372 meters of elevation gain. It takes between 16 minutes to 23 minutes to complete depending on the age and ability of the athlete. The first half of the run is on a dirt road, while the second half is on a hiking trail. The last few pitches are exceptionally steep, making most runners debate about doing a fast hike or continuing to run. Sometimes putting pride aside and hiking actually is faster and less exhausting.

The VO2 max test was done in our coaches testing laboratory on a Concept2 ski erg with the PM5 monitor. We used the pace function of the ski erg to do a “step test” for each athlete. With a heart rate monitor on, breathing mask to calculate oxygen intake, and muscle oxygen saturation monitors taped on, the athletes started at an easy pace and every 90 seconds increased the pace. For example, start at 2:20 for 500m pace, then after 90 seconds go down to 2:10, then 2:00, then 1:55, then 1:50, etc until the pace cannot be maintained. This will create a max effort and thus max VO2 result. Here is a link to the VO2 max test for one of our athletes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2uRpea1sOM

The MOXY test is also done with a Concept2 Ski Erg with a PM5 monitor. With heart rate monitor, breathing mask, and MOXY monitors taped on, the athletes performed three 4-minute hard intervals with only 1 minute of rest in between each one. The pace was supposed to be relatively consistent throughout the test, so the first interval felt ok, but the third 4-minute interval wax extremely challenging to maintain. The MOXY monitors the oxygen saturation in the muscles. The test is supposed to measure how much oxygen is delivered to the muscles, and how well the muscles utilize that oxygen. A VO2 max was also taken from this test. Here is a link to a video of the test:


June continues a solid training program as we welcome three college athletes who will be training with us for the duration of the summer. Stay tuned for more updates from the Craftsbury Green Racing Project! And if you are not already, follow us on Instagram (@greenracingproject) and Facebook (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) for more information and pictures!