Simple Core Work for Power Application and Glide Stability

Simple Core Only Strength Work

Why do I like this core workout and think that it should be high on the priority list of what to do for Masters training?  It specifically is designed to work strength and power as it relates to balance and the application of power from the core.  It also creates the most fundamental levels of fitness for Nordic skiing.

A. Strength Workout/Core Only, 2 sets, around 25-35 minutes: Include 10-15 minutes of warm up and cool down that is either running or spinning on a stationary bike.

1. Side plank push ups with medicine ball. 15 reps each side L/R.

2. Russian twists with a medicine ball. 20-40 reps L/R.  Feet are elevated, together, and still.

3. Partial oblique crunch with knee up.  L/R 15 reps each side.

4. Front plank with alternating leg lifts L/R. Vertical leg lifts up and over the down leg. 15 reps each leg.

5. Front ab crunches with no foot compression.  Palms flat on the ground. 25 reps.  If this is too easy, add 5-10 lbs. held behind your neck.

6. Pushups with core twist at the top of the cycle, while raising arm and vision to the sky.  15 reps.

7. Superman extended while holding a medicine ball, 30 sec. with the last 10 as impulses up.

8. Front plank in push up position with 10-15 reps L/R of spiderman leg moves.

August Camp, And We Danced!!

"That's my boat."-FG

Ironwood,MI Camp 2013
August 11-17, 2013
Whoa!! I labeled the photo set, “Be careful what you wish for!”. I wanted to help grow the sport and the summer training camps and this year the growth was exceptional! We maxed out our facilities! A partnership with Loppet Nordic Racing and quite a few other clubs and coaches around the Midwest has grown our camps to capacity! Our goal for these camps is to bring committed and hardworking athletes from different clubs around the region together to train, live, and socialize. We have done that and now we will look to improve and grow it even more!! Athletes attended this camp from Loppet Nordic Racing, F.A.S.T., Lake Superior Ski Club, Mesabi East, Copper Country, Mad Nor Ski, CXC, Hayward HS, Eau Claire Ski Striders, and 4H-CANSKI. The age span went from 12 year old athletes up to 21.

The camp this year was again held in Ironwood, MI. Our facility was Wolverine Village with Debbie C. and Bob A. hosting. About 46 athletes and 9 coaches worked from August 11-17. The last camp of the summer is designed to be high hours. Athletes are finishing their summer base build up and are getting ready for school and fall sports. The workouts are a good mix of roller skiing, running, and strength. The top guys at this camp finished the seven days of training with around 22-24 hours.

Some of the workout highlights include a 3+ hour ski on South Boundary Road in Porcupine Wilderness State Park. The first 1.25 hours of that ski is basically uphill. It is a nice gradual grade that makes you ski focused and slow. While skiing up one would think that the down on the way home would be easy, it is not! A static tuck or a long free skate after 2.5+ hours is extremely taxing on the legs! All the athletes including the youngest put in 2 hours or more with the strongest athletes going a full 3.5 hours. There are two other workouts that I think work the athletes harder and smarter than most. An intensity session combining ski walking, moose hoofs, and bounding at Powderhorn Mountain is one and the other is a double pole only workout that is all uphill out of Black River Harbor. The intensity session was led by Northern Michigan University Head Coach Sten Fjeldheim. The uphill double pole is about 4.5 miles of all up except for a .5 mile reprieve near the end. It climbs from lake level at the parking lot and goes to the top of the Copper Peak Ski Flying hill! Most athletes covered about 12 miles that day while the top achiever of the day, Scott Harrison, covered over 20 miles in about 1:40. Sten visited for two days and also led a skate technique session. On Wednesday evening Sten had a discussion with athletes about being a student athlete in the NCAA and that was followed by one of his story times.

One of the best resources for training in Ironwood is the availability of water to the training venues. Various rivers, creeks, and Lake Superior make for excellent recovery and swimming opportunities after the workouts and in the down times. We ended up taking advantage of this about 4-5 different times.

The time at camp went flying by as the younger athletes stayed at camp for five days and the older ones went seven. The summer training season has passed by again and the cooler dry weather will make this one memorable. Fall is now upon us in the North woods and the night time frosts are only a couple of weeks away. The summer camp season was busy and so awesome! 49 days of Junior, Senior, and Masters camps is in the books for 2013! Fall travel and training camps with the Senior athletes are four weeks away and then only two more till we are on snow in Canmore.

A huge thanks to Piotr Bednarski, Kim Rudd, Andy Keller, Bruce Manske, Kevin Johnson, Sten Fjeldheim, Scott Johanik, and Charlie Keller for all the coaching and logistical support! This camp happens because of these coaches! Enjoy the photos from Ironwood! Train Smart, Ski F.A.S.T.!!

Ironwood photoset:


Tad Elliot, MTB, 2tad-elliot

We had such great turn outs with last seasons camps, that we are going to do it all over again, this time, with a twist!   Many citizen athletes love to cross train and participate in multiple sports so we think that it would be awesome to have a weekend camp that focuses on two of the most popular sports that endurance athletes love; cross country skiing and off road biking!!  And who better to work with than Tad Elliot!  In both sports, Tad has been a member of the US National Teams, has World Cup experience in both sports, and has twice stood on the podium at the Birkie!

Learn more about the “Train like a Birkie Champion” camp series »

July Camp Review

Always havin' fun, Shagen!

Always havin’ fun, Shagen!

July camp has come and gone and we are now quickly approaching the last month of summer.  Two solid months of dry land training has taken place and the results of consistent efforts are starting to show.  A coach can see who has been committed to their process and who is lacking in consistency in their work.  A word that I have been hearing more often in camps from various different coaches is consistent.  The day-in and day-out work that must be done to progress in this sport or any endeavor that we undertake.  You have to be consistent and committed.

July was just about that.  No testing, nothing special, just a lot of consistent volume over 7 days to build that fitness base.  Endurance, strength, and a few speeds.  Putting in hours, building base fitness, that is what July camp was about.  We had to deal with a few days of extreme heat, but even with temps that hit close to 95F on the asphalt, some athletes managed to get in just over 22 hours for the week.  The younger athletes hit between 13-15 hours total for the week.

My highlight workout for a summer camp in Seeley is our adventure run.  It is a combination trail, river, and lake run.  It takes about 1.5-2 hours and is a great workout on any day over 80F.  It starts out with a 6k trail run over some very steep terrain on the Seeley ski trails.  It then transitions into a 1.5k ski walk up the Namakagon River.  The water is mostly knee to thigh deep so this is a very tough ski walk and great low impact work.  It then transitions again to trails for about 1K to Silverthorn Lake where, with clothes and shoes, the athletes must swim about 400m to the beach where they then transition for the last time to run 2k home after giving up 10 pull ups on the playground equipment.

The camp ended with another favorite over distance workout.  A team building workout where I pair stronger athletes with less trained athletes, is always a favorite.  Team leap frog is a distance bike/run on trails.  A pair of athletes share one bike as a team.  The biker rides about 1K ahead of the runner, drops the bike and helmet, and starts running.   The first runner comes upon the bike and rides to pass the new runner and once they are a kilometer or so past drops the bike and again runs.  This is repeated for about 30K or so.  Each team mate is responsible for encouraging their partner to excel to their best for that workout!  It’s a great workout with the variety that an athlete needs.

One of the items that I look for in camp is whether the work is challenging the athletes enough without over stressing them.  A measuring sign is how quiet it gets at meal time.  By Thursday the work volume had set in and the meals were quiet.  How do I know if they’re over stressed?  It’s not only quiet, but their heads have fallen into their plates.  That didn’t happen.  Until August and our ultra summer camp, Enjoy the photos from July here!!!!

June Camp Review

Team!The first two weeks of June has come and gone. Time seems distorted in this early season as the summer seems to be half over, but I still feel like it is May.  The moisture from a late ski season never really stopped and the rain up until a week ago seemed to fall every other day.  This means that the lakes and rivers are all back to normal levels and that the mosquito crop is better than ever before.

Our June camp is usually attended with the fewest athletes because most schools just got out or some are actually still in.  The club collaboration that we have been striving for over the past few years is paying off big.  One of our camp goals is to bring athletes from all over the Midwest together to meet, compete, and socialize. We capped the attendance at 24 and had 29 different athletes go through the camp. Athletes from Loppet Nordic Racing, CXC, Mesabi East, Lake Superior Ski Club, Copper Country Ski Club, Mad Nor Ski, Eau Claire Ski Striders, F.A.S.T., and Hibbing all attended this camp. Some came late and some left early because of schedule conflicts, but over all we had great participation.

June camp for Junior athletes is about getting started.  School is just out and most have participated in track or some other Spring sport.  Laying down a couple of bench mark tests and reviewing possible goals is the start.  We ran a simple strength test, results here;

and the “OO” skate ski time trial, results here;

Test results on roller skis are for each individual athlete to compare to themselves for future progression. Head to head competition should not take place till we are on snow.  Roller ski speed is different even when the skis appear to be the same.  Strength is somewhat comparable especially if the test is closely monitored for quality.

We performed the tests early in the camp and then started in on a lot of good training sessions for athletes and coaches to learn and take home with them.  Being a great performing athlete is not rocket science.  It’s about doing a lot of good work and staying committed to a long process with  patience. Two workouts a day is the norm in camp.  We covered strength workouts, ski specific strength workouts, general distance running and biking, and one intensity session.  The idea is to cover all areas of physical ski fitness and give athletes an idea of the type of work that needs to get done.  Keeping the work interesting and enjoyable for motivation is also high on the list, so mountain biking on single track, adventure runs up river, and intermittent games of Frisbee and soccer keep the camp a blast!

The athletes and coaches are now at home after this first camp and hopefully goals and plans are being drafted and work is continuing to build.  The next camp is in three weeks and measurement will take place and by then summer will be half over.  Don’t miss the summer opportunities!  All coaches will tell you that skiers are made in the summer and this is more true than ever before here in Seeley!

Enjoy the photos and activities of the camp here!

See you in July!

F.A.S.T. Summer Training Opportunities

Programming for 2013-2014 is now open.

The programs and slots are very limited so don’t delay with your inquiry and registration. Camp slots fill up very quickly and we are limited to 24 athletes.

Again this year we have college summer residency and post graduation 12 month residency and support!! This programming and support is still unprecedented in our region.  Be apart of the cutting edge in athlete development!

Check out and register on each page of performance programming or camps and clinics.

2012-13 Masters Programming!!

Masters/Citizen Athlete Programming
FAST Performance Training/North End Ski Club 2012-13

Project Goal: The project would have a goal of having each individual set a process goal for improvement of either their enjoyment or performance in their Nordic skiing.

Dates: 8 sessions from December 5, 2012- February 12, 2013 on the following dates at the ‘OO” trail head at 5:30pm.
December: 5th, 10th, and 18th
January: 15th, 22nd, and 29th
February: 5th, and 12th

Program Description: The program will be limited to 12 individuals, so that the coach to athlete ratio is no larger than 1/6. Two coaches will be at each session.  If there is enough interest in the program we will run two sessions each night.  The times would then be 5:30 and 7:00pm.

Program Fee: The total fee will be $200 for the eight sessions.

Required Forms are below:
Assumption of risk and release of liability
FAST Performance Training Club Programs 2012-2013

Forms can be mailed to:
FAST Performance Training
c/o Bill Pierce
13383 N Red Birch Lane
Hayward, WI 54843

Train Like a Birkie Champion and Support a Birkie Champion!!!

Help us help these two men travel, train, and race this season!!  Both Matt and Tad work hard to raise support for their careers!  Being a professional Nordic ski racer is not easy any where, but especially in the US.  Support for their expenses and lives must be raised by them!  Lots of individuals, clubs, and non profits help athletes like Matt and Tad and so can you.  Attending this camp will accomplish two significant goals!  You will learn something that you can take home to benefit the enjoyment of your individual sport and you will join the team and community that helps support Matt and Tad in their careers and goals.  We provide the opportunity to help, you provide the encouragement and the financial support!
Elliott Schedules Trip to Wisconsin for “Train Like a Birkie Champion” Camp

By  · October 11th, 2012 · 1 Comment

U.S. Ski Team member Tad Elliott celebrates winning the 2012 American Birkebeiner 50 k skate race in Hayward, Wis. (Photo: Darlene Prois/American Birkebeiner)

When the head of F.A.S.T. Performance Training in Hayward, Wis., Bill Pierce heard Tad Elliott pulled off a cross-Atlantic trip to win the American Birkebeiner last February, he knew he had to have him back in town.

Matt Liebsch, one of the Midwest’s nordic heroes and 2009 Birkie champion, thought the same.

In July, F.A.S.T. held its first “Train Like a Birkie Champion” citizens training camp of the year after Liebsch, an XC United skier, reached out to Pierce about coordinating clinics. Pierce was all for it, and Liebsch suggested adding Elliott, a U.S. Ski Team  (USST) member and former Central Cross Country (CXC) skier, to coach at future camps. Pierce immediately sought him out for the second one Oct. 26-28.

Matt Liebsch, 2009 American Birkebeiner 50 k skate race champion (ABSF photo)

“I talked to Tad about two months ago and I said, ‘I’ve got one open weekend,’ ” Pierce said on the phone Wednesday. “He said, ‘That’s the same one I’ve got.’ ”

Empathizing with Elliott’s busy USST schedule, one in which Pierce figures “hardly gives [its athletes] time to sit down,” he was impressed with Elliott’s enthusiasm.

“The cool thing about this kid is, against the advice of his coaches and his dad, he flew home [from the World Cup] … and did the race and flew back to Europe,” Pierce said of Elliott, who won the Birkie’s 50-kilometer skate with the second-fastest time in race history.

Elliot will pull off a similar yet smaller-scale feat when he leaves the upcoming USST camp Canmore, Alberta, one day early to coach at the “Train Like a Birkie Champion” weekend clinic Oct. 26-28 in northern Wisconsin. According to Pierce, Elliott will fly out of Canada early Friday, Oct. 26, and will arrive in Minneapolis by noon. There, Liebsch will drive him to Seeley, just north of Hayward, to lead a dryland skills-and-technique session that evening. After three days of instructing, he’ll fly home Sunday night to Park City, Utah.

“I love going back to the Midwest and seeing the huge enthusiasm they have there for nordic skiing,” Elliott wrote in an email. “I will get to do the Birkie clinic with one of my close friends Matt Liebsch [and hopefully see] his wife Mary-Beth and their two young kids Grant and Samantha. I got to stay with them for two weeks last year and they took incredible care of me. Looking forward to seeing Bill Pierce. Sounds like this clinic is really well organized looking forward to going to it.”

“He’s doing this because he likes the Birkie,” Pierce said. “The kid’s got so much positive energy.”

Pierce likes to tell his juniors about Elliott and his USST teammate Noah Hoffman and their results at the 2006 Junior Olympics. Seven years ago, they finished around 28th and 30th place, he said. Now look where they are.

“It’s kind of cool to see where these kids come from and a progression,” Pierce said. “They made a choice to pursue a passion, and that’s what the focus is for.”


More on the “Train Like a Birkie Champion” Camp Series:

October 26-28, 2012; Hayward, WI – “Train Like a Birkie Champion

Purpose: This camp is designed for the Master/Citizen athlete that wishes to improve and progress their skiing while fitting the demands of lifestyle, family, and work into their schedule. Sessions will be held on technique, flexibility, strength, and ski skills along with discussions on the body and the affect of aging.

Abilities: This camp is designed and open to all abilities of skiers. You do not have to roller ski to attend this camp. We are showing you what it takes to progress to your goals of skiing no matter where you are with your abilities as a Nordic skier. So, whether you are an elite wave athlete or an aspiring athlete wishing to compete in your first Birkie, this camp will train, inspire, and motivate you to your best Birkie! Don’t pass on a great opportunity to train with and meet Birkie Champions.

Guest coaches include 2012 Skate Champion Tad Elliot and 2009 Skate Champion Matt Liebsch.

Participation limited to 30 athletes.



Friday, October 26, 2012:

3-5pm: Check in at Lenroot Lodge and Sawmill Saloon

5-6:15pm: Intro to the fundamental movements of Nordic skiing with Bill Pierce. Dryland skills and technique

6:45-8:30pm: Fish fry dinner at Moose Lips with discussions with Dr. Brent Carlson.

8:30-10pm:  Discussions and demos on skis and waxing at Moose Lips.

Saturday, October 27, 2012:

7:30am: Morning run and swing out

8-9:00am: Breakfast on your own

9:00-10:15am: Flexibility and stretching session with Jay Tapper.

10:30am-Noon: Basic skate technique session with video with Bill, Matt, and Tad.

Noon-2:00pm: Lunch at the Sawmill Saloon, video review.

2-5:00pm: Skate roller ski session with specific strength drills and skills with Bill, Matt, and Tad.

6-7:30pm: Dinner at the Rivers Eatery in Cable

8-9:30pm: Chat with the Champions, dessert and coffee at Rivers Eatery with Matt and Tad.

Sunday, October 28, 2012:

7-8:00am: Breakfast on your own

8-10:00am: Classic or skate technique session with specific strength and video with Bill, Matt, and Tad.

10:30-Noon: Video review technique discussions

Noon: Check out and camp departure


To register:

Train Like a Birkie Champion!!

F.A.S.T. Performance Training is excited to present a  Training Camp in cooperation with Tad Elliot and Matt Liebsch!!  This camp is designed to give citizen athletes the same opportunities and feelings of what these professional athletes go through in their daily training routines.  Partial proceeds from this camp go to help support these two men in their quest to achieve their best at the International Level!  Tad is a current member of the US Ski Team and Matt skis for XC United!  This camp will focus on ski technique (video review), training workouts and drills, flexibility, injury prevention, and ski and waxing discussions.  Get ready for your ski season and the Birkie by working and training with the two athletes that have dominated the event for the past few years!!

Sign up here today:

This camp is limited to 30 athletes, so don’t miss out!  Fall training gear is required for this camp. Running shoes and roller ski equipment is required.  If you don’t have roller skis or have not dry land skied, demo pairs are available and your skill level will be accommodated within this camp!  Get in touch with us if you need demo equipment.

Store Clinics

New for the Fall of 2012 in our programming are store clinics around the upper Midwest. These stores are all sponsors and big supporters of the American Birkiebeiner. The participating stores are Gear West in Long Lake, MN, Sept. 15-16th; New Moon Bike and Ski in Hayward, WI, Sept. 22-23rd; and Out There in Rice Lake, WI, Oct. 6-7th. The stores are presenting these clinics in conjunction with either an in store sale or a community event. These two day clinics are for both beginner and elite athletes alike and present some of the routine basic elements of Nordic skiing technique and training drills that must be practiced and repeated at every level in order to master Nordic technique. So whether you are an aspiring high school racer or a Birch Leggings Birkie Master or somewhere in between, these clinics will help you to either be a better Nordic athlete or coach.  Partial proceeds from these clinics goes to support junior and senior athletes in their quest for international racing experience.


Sign up today:

Clinics are limited to 24 participants.  Outdoor training gear including running shoes and roller ski equipment is required for these clinics.  If you do not own roller skis, loaner pairs are available for these clinics.  Contact us if you need skis for the clinic.