The Stalkmachine and the Gym Rat

15 Aug

Have spent a lot of time in the gym lately. Yesterday I had a go on the double-poling machine you see here. It’s called a Stakmaskin, pronounced “Stalkmachine”. Today went to and from the gym by rollerski and attended spinning and core strength classes.

Happily my knees didn’t suffer. Rollerskiing never hurts them, but the spinning classes have been rough. My physiotherapist neighbor gave me the tip to up the resistance. That really helped. But I left such a giant pool of sweat on the spinning room’s floor that it crept over and wet the bag belonging to the girl next to me. Still, other than that embarrassment, no pain!

Yesterday I started out by disliking the stakmaskin. During my double-poling rollerski class last June I learned to put my weight forward in order to use it to drive me ahead. On the stakmaskin that just meant clumsily falling over onto the resistance fan in front of me. The sales representative standing by the thing didn’t like me complaining that I couldn’t use the technique I wanted with his training apparatus.

However since this was open house day for the big new gym in the Storo neighborhood, a representative for the Birkebeiner running, cycling and ski races was standing nearby. I chatted with him about the machine and asked him if he had the same problem I did. Together we determined that the forward leaning, short and quick stroke technique I had been taught was good for sprinting, but not the right one for longer distances.

So I then tried “staking” with longer strokes and more neutral balanced weight. After I got over the initial weirdness of the machine I came to a sort of mini epiphany. The stakmaskin distills out the essence out of the double-poling movement. Even with rapid strokes you can feel the poles flexing, loading with power and driving back. I could feel improvement was more aware of my double poling technique as I rollerskied to the gym today.

And moreover it’s great training. I laid my claim to the Stakmaskin by sweating profusely all over it during my 40 minute workout.

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