When you think of cross-country skiing, narrow skis, wide-open terrain, and long distances might come to mind. For some, it is associated with getting out into nature, spending time with friends and family, or simply a healthy form of exercise.
While this may be true for many, the popularly sought-after sport has gained incredible notability for the impressive health and physical benefits. As such, a large population of high-level athletes of all backgrounds is turning to cross-country skiing for a guaranteed full-body workout, high-intensity cardiovascular exercise, and effective endurance training.
From skiers to runners, to even triathletes, athletes from all disciplines are seeing the quality of fitness that can be achieved through cross-country skiing. Whether you have years of experience, are seeking to train for an alternative sport, or looking to target different muscle groups, the work required from the entire body when cross-country skiing will be effective in keeping you fit for any endeavour.
This has lead to many athletes seeking out ways to achieve the exact same workout during the summer season. Fortunately for them, a mindfully crafted cross-country ski machine is the perfect solution.
The Health Benefits of Cross-Country Skiing
First and foremost, let's touch upon the multitude of great benefits you can gain from cross-country skiing. While it may look effortless gliding across the snow, the motion required to cross-country ski uses the entire body throughout the duration of the activity.
The best cardiovascular exercise known
While some sports focus primarily on either the lower body or upper body, this style of nordic skiing targets every single muscle group in the body. Widely accepted in the field of exercise physiology as "the best cardiovascular exercise known", the body is requiring the upper and lower body, core, and all other muscles to tackle each forward motion.
As a result, you are using a large percentage of your muscle mass the entire time you are skiing-burning a significant amount of calories as well. On top of building muscles, which will aid in any other sport, the body's ability to pump blood increases, as well the maximal oxygen consumption or VO2 max. Maximal oxygen consumption directly reflects the cardiorespiratory fitness of an athlete, which in turn determines the endurance capacity throughout continuous physical activity.
As a weight-bearing aerobic exercise, the body's bones are responsible for supporting one's weight throughout the entirety of the workout. Whereas some sports, such as running, are performed on pavement or hard ground, the packed powder skiers glide across have a low impact effect on the body. This results in the elimination of stress and the risk of injury to the joints. Additionally, cross-country skiing involves the usage of poles which not only target the upper body but require a significant amount of coordination.
To successfully keep each pole in sync with the opposite ski, the skier must practice balance, coordination, and a level of agility.
What Equipment Do You Need For Cross-Country Skiing?
Now that we have a good sense of how people can benefit from cross-country skiing, it is also a great idea to understand the necessary equipment required.
First and foremost, the basic equipment includes boots, skis, and poles. Since there are two styles of cross-country skiing, classic and skating, the skis will differ in their length, as well as configuration. In general, the skis are used to travel on flatter terrain than regular alpine skiing, which requires minimal sidecuts and relatively high camber. For the classic technique, the skis are slightly longer, lightweight, and significantly more narrow than skating skis. As such, they are designed specifically for groomed trails and have the ability to move at a fast pace and with efficiency. For classic cross-country boots, the sole construction is softer and gives the foot more flexibility without restriction.
For the skating technique, the skis are used to travel on hard-packed snow and therefore have a stiffer flex. They also tend to be significantly shorter and have a less pronounced arch from tip to tail. With zero sidecut, the shape of these skis allows the skier to push off with the edge of the angled ski more easily than with the curved shape of the classic skis. In terms of boots, skating boots are designed with a high shaft and a tougher sole, protecting the ankle for ultimate stability.
When choosing ski poles, skating poles are generally longer than classic poles but should be suited to your technique, body weight, and height.
Is a Cross Country Ski Machine a Good Workout?
As a cross-country skier, you must incorporate an offseason training regime in order to stay fit throughout the entire year.
As the ultimate endurance sport, you will end up paying the price if you slack off in between your seasons. While the option of cross-training through alternative sports is wise, as well as a variety of exercise equipment, what you really want to be doing is mimicking the exact movements done while cross-country skiing.
To get the most ideal at-home workouts, the use of a ski machine will make preparing for your winter season easy and available. With such a product, you will be able to target the same muscle groups, work the arms and legs, practice resistance, burn calories, and strengthen all parts of the body. Each feature resembles the movements of cross-country skiing, allowing for muscle memorization and movement patterns.
A cross-country ski machine will not only prepare your body appropriately but will also build stamina for when the snow begins to fall.
How to Choose The Right Ski Machine
Now that we know how to attain an identical workout to cross-country skiing, let's take a look at the options for ski machines to determine the most suitable one.
The story of the ski machine
While the overall concept of a ski machine may be a novice idea to some, the very first model built was in 1975. Edward Pauls, a Minnesota Nordic skier, created the original ski machine product, the NordicTrack, initiating a revolution in the world of fitness equipment. Athletes of all backgrounds saw the benefits of dryland training, realizing they could simulate nordic and alpine ski movements. While the standard exercise machine focused on enhancing lower body strength, the ski machine had the ability to work the entire body in an efficient amount of time.
The NordicTrack ski machine was designed with the intent to gain an edge against potential competitors in collegiate cross-country skiing championships. As time went on and skiers saw the value in the technology, NordicTrack developed a reputation in the fitness industry. Their claim to fame to date is the Classic Pro Skier ski machine. This off-season option is easy to assemble, has adjustable resistance levels, and provides smooth and natural movement.
Low impact workout
The primary focus of this machine is to provide a low-impact workout experience, making it the perfect option for all age brackets and body types. The disadvantage for some may be the limited resistance levels, making it difficult to achieve a high-impact workout. NordicTrack also makes a low-impact elliptical machine that is great for a complete aerobic workout that involves using the entire body. While both of these machines are excellent options for training, they are more geared towards new and intermediate levels of users. However, if you are on the more experienced level, don't fret, we have the perfect machine for you.
The Nordic Trainer: The World's Best Home Trainer
Nordic Strong, a fitness concept inspired by the Nordic lifestyle, is in the limelight for building a strong fitness community with top-of-the-line ski products. Their main goal was to find a way to bring the world's toughest sport indoors by building an indoor fitness machine that mirrored cross-country skiing. The ThoraxTrainer was introduced shortly thereafter, becoming the most impressive cross-country ski machine on the market. While it raised the bar in the fitness industry, Nordic Strong continued to improve on it, building on the legacy of the ThoraxTrainer. After 10 years of hard work and mindful renovation, the Nordic Trainer was born, changing the world of ski machines forever.
Total Body Activation
This truly versatile full-body trainer features high and low-intensity exercises that focus on smaller and deeper muscle groups in the body. Both efficient and effective, this machine activates more than 96% of the body's muscle mass simultaneously and requires you to coordinate both the lower and upper body at a relatively high pace.
Breaking down the individual movements of cross-country skiing, the Nordic Trainer focuses on strength, endurance, cardio training, stability, and balance.
Strength, Endurance and Stability
When using this machine, strength is required, both controlled and explosive, in the legs, arms, and core. Since the motions are repetitive, similar to skiing, a high level of endurance is also necessary. When the body is forced to engage multiple different muscle groups at the same time, the need for oxygen and blood circulation increases-leading to exceptional cardiovascular health. Lastly, stability and balance training target the smaller muscle groups within the body. With the Nordic Trainer, coordination and stability skills will be drastically improved.
There is nothing quite like gliding across snow-covered terrain, breathing in the fresh air, taking in the sights and smells. Even more so, the hard-to-beat, total body workout you get while cross-country skiing. It's no wonder so many skiers seek to replicate the same exercise, whether it be for the sake of dryland training, a full-body workout, or low-impact cardio. While there are plenty of ways to get a good workout, there is a particular reason why this activity has the reputation it does. That is why your next purchase should be a Nordic Trainer ski machine.
Your body, mind, and heart will thank you. Not to mention you will be at the highest level of athleticism come ski season.