Thorax: When Training Is Totally “Hyggeligt”

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“…And now we go doublepoling! …” shouts the lanky guy in red suit that says Trainer on the back – and a group of fit women and men start energetically dounblepoling uphill. Wintery Scandinavian forest lit by bright sunshine adds atmospheric touch to the event. Finally, there is a downhill section and skiers catch their breath, squeeze gels and quickly gulp drinks from plastic bottles

Hellerup is a kind of place you always wanted to raise your children in. Quiet and with wide bike lanes. That work very well for rollerskiing too
Hellerup is also swanky. The gym featuring ThoraxTrainer room is on the left

We are in Hellerup – a fancy suburb of the Danish capital , once known mostly as a location of Tuborg beer factory and now a gentrified home of upper-middle class urbanites and offices of international companies.

They used to make bear. Now they do a lot of sport down there

There is no snow on the ground in Hellerup, of course – but fifteen men and women are doing their racing while watching men’s 50k at the Olympics in Pyeonchang on a large TV” – on the machines calld ThoraxTrainer

“They go doublepoling on the screen – we go DP. They go diagonal – we dos the same. We sit only when they sit” instructs Lasse before pushing Play button

“Thorax is a machine that provides training that resembles actual skiing the most” Says Lasse Møllgaard Olsson ( that was him in that red Trainer suit). “Classic style, especially. You push with real poles and do it with same angle and energy transfer as on real skis.”

the race starts…
..and things quickly get tough for ThoraxRacers

“ You will get much more training of your core muscles on the ThoraxTrainer, because the direction of power is not only downwards but also backwards” adds Ulrich Ghisler, founder & CEO of ThoraxTrainer “ A research study from the University of Umeå in Sweden has proven a correlation between doublepoling on skis and the ThoraxTrainer to be of 0.96. Almost one to one!”

…yep. quite tough and sweaty – just your perfect Sunday morning

It might be suburban charms of Hellerup – or may be the Danes are just happy people ( #2 in the world, actually in the World Happiness Report 2017, behind only ski-loving Norwegians!) – but the tough training session has an atmosphere of a party – despite supreme effort showing on many faces

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Louise, left and Marie, right – two ThoraxTrainer fans training for their Birkebeiner

” Training like this, in a group is totally “hyggeligt” as we say in Danish – cosy, pleasant, with a feeling of togetherness. Thorax is most collective of all individual sports” ”

Meet Louise Sørensen, 32 and Marie Amstrup, 29. Louise has about 14 months of practicing on Thorax – and first Birkibeiner under her belt ( “that was a very spontaneous idea” ) . Marie has started last September – and also has Birkie in her sights. “ Both also consider running Iceland’s Fossavatnsgangan too. Neither skied before in their entire life

“I always thought cross-counry skiing is a sport of old people walking in the forest – I know better know” laughs Marie.

“I could not gotten better exercise in one hour” adds Louise

Check out those gels and water bottles. You’d need them for 2hour+ race

Ulrich concurs:
“ The research has now proven that xc skiing is the healthiest sport you can do. But ThoraxTrainer is also very much a professional device. We have such skiing and biathlon greats as Seraina Boner, Stanislav Rezac and Michael Rösch as sponsored athletes sponsored athletes – and we know of many more using our machines without any sponsorship – because it’s effective”

Serious training requires keeping a pace. “60 strokes per minute – that’s what you should aim for at the beginning” says Lasse

“ The company is only 9 yrs old, and we have only worked full time with ThoraxTrainer since 2011. I was working as doctor until 2011. We just run a Kickstarter campaign to do marketing in the US and to raise funds for a bigger production to drive down the production cost and implement the new improvements we have tested throughout the last 8 months. We have successfully reached our goal on Kickstarter, and production process has already started”

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Likely a glimpse of the future for ThoraxAthletes – a machine paired with realisitic skiing simulations and a VR kit

Thorax is not exactly newest kid on the block of ski related exercise machines. And neither is it cheap. And requires a healthy bit of space should you want to install & use it at home ( but then goodbye “hyggelit”, of course)

But it does have a fairly unique training effect – and, as we know now, social one too. It makes people happy. Just go and try for yourself!

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