Madshus cross-country racer Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, who crashed onto the World Cup last winter posting a 14th place overall in the 2011 Tour de Ski in her first season as senior, loves all kinds of workouts. But moosehufing is one of her favorite intensity workouts. Moosehuf, a variety of uphill bounding that resembles the elegant and efficient shuffling gait of moose, is a ski-specific intensity method extensively used by cross-country skiers of all levels.

“I generally like to vary my intensity workouts, but one of my go-to favorites is moosehuf intervals. I am particularly fond of 3, 4 and 5-minute intervals, often in a 5-4-3-5-4-3-minute distribution with 2 minutes recovery between intervals,” Østberg says to the Norwegian XC web site Langrenn.com. (Story continues below picture)

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg. Photo: Nordic Focus

Østberg also emphasizes that when doing moosehuf intervals, it is important to pay attention to technique in order to get the most of the effort. That requires getting to practice with a clear head and be focused throughout the workout. According to Østberg, there are lots of places and terrains that are suitable for moosehufing, but she prefers to do her intervals on gravel roads. The gravel provides a consistent surface with good grip for her poles. That allows her to get the most from her pole plants and most resembles classic ski technique.

When doing moosehuf intervals, Østberg is also focused on keeping her heart rate up through the entire interval. However, she makes sure to start out at a moderate intensity and increase gradually in order to avoid building too much lactic acid too early. Varying the duration of the intervals also makes her adjust the speed up and down in order to stay within her planned intensity zone.

“These moosehuf intervals allow me to spend a lot of time in the higher intensity zones, and during the last intervals, my heart rate often climbs to right below my max,” Østberg says, explaining that she finds these workouts both hard, challenging and fun.

Finally, Østberg recommends doing intervals in a group. She finds it motivating to have training buddies around on the hardest workouts. However, Østberg also points out that the most important element of any workout is to focus on your own effort, especially on the hard ones. Happy trails!