Cross-country skiing can be a grueling sport defeating even the most elite athletes. It’s also a fun winter activity with beautiful views, fresh air and exercise. Whatever your reason for skiing, one thing is certain: cross-county skiing is a fantastic workout. But, now the season is over, how do you stay in ‘cross-country ski shape’?
Check out these 5 activities to keep you prepared for next season.
Hiking is widely considered one of the best cross-training methods to prep for winter sports. First and foremost, hiking, like walking, can build fitness without the risk of chronic injuries that can occur in other exercises like running. As you traverse steeper and steeper terrain many of the same large muscle groups used in cross-country skiing, such as the legs, glutes, and core, will activate. Hiking provides power, endurance, and injury prevention. As an added bonus, it also allows you to get outside and enjoy nature.
Keeping fit during the off-season is important, but making sure your technique is fundamentally sound is key. Luckily, with roller skiing you get the best of both worlds. If you are not familiar with roller skiing, it’s essentially skis on wheels used on hard surfaces to emulate cross-country skiing. The techniques used on these hard surfaces are very similar to those used in cross-country skiing. And, if you add hills to your roller skiing it will help build strength, balance and endurance.
Nordic Pole Walking
Focusing on technique, you can build your poling skills this offseason by heading outside for Nordic pole walking. It’s low impact, it’s fun, and it keeps you outdoors. But what’s different about Nordic pole walking? Unlike walking alone, Nordic pole walking uses both your lower and upper body muscles at the same time. When done properly, Nordic pole walking exercises about 80% of your muscles compared to 40% for walking or running. Because of this combination, Nordic pole walkers get the benefit of working their chest, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and abdominals in addition to their leg muscles.
It’s summer! Of course you should swim! Swimming won’t help you with your cross-country skiing technique, but it is a fantastic total body workout. Along with arm and leg muscle groups, swimming targets your body’s core. Balance is fundamental to cross-country skiing success and swimming is an excellent way to target your core every time you dive in. Not only can work on your tan this summer, but also your balance on the skis next season.
Hit the Gym
This might be obvious, but necessary. We don’t always have time to go hiking, swimming, or roller skiing. Sometimes all you have is 30 minutes and the nearest gym. So, what are some things in the gym you can focus on to help keep you in shape for next season? Try incorporating routines that put emphasis on strength, balance, core, and endurance. Many routines can focus on multiple areas at the same time like cross training for strength and endurance or yoga for core and balance. Be sure to switch up your routine to work different muscle groups regularly.
There are many ways to practice and perfect your cross-country skiing skills during the off-season. Continuing to build endurance and balance while creating explosive speed will make your winter much more enjoyable. So, before you jump on a pair of cross-country skis, be sure to prepare this summer for a better winter.