Cross country ski training

Cross country ski training

Cross country ski training

Cross country skiing is a great way to stay in shape during the winter. If you are just starting out or if you are looking for specific guidance on how to get in shape for a cross country ski race, don't worry - we will help you get up to speed quickly! In this blog post, we will outline a basic cross country training schedule that should help improve your performance.

The benefits of nordic skiing

The benefits of nordic skiing are endless! We could write long essays only on how nordic skiing benefits your body and mind, but today, we will just list a few of the major benefits from doing cross country skiing.

Full body workout

Cross country skiing is a full body workout. When you are skiing, your entire body is working - from your head to your toes! This is a great way to stay in shape and improve your overall health.

Not only does cross country skiing give a good full body cardio, it also strengthens the whole body and will make you visible more toned.

You will gain great upper body strength and lower body strength, your legs will get strong and especially your core strength will be improved. Cross country skiing is also a very beneficial exercise for the latissimus dorsi.

Cross country skiing is a sport that will give long, lean muscles. These are all great reasons to start cross country ski training. But how do you that living in a city without snow or mountains? We will get to that..

Improves endurance

Cross country skiing will improve your endurance. This is because you are constantly working your muscles - even when you are resting! When skiing, the key is to keep a steady pace, a good technique and maintain long durations. This takes endurance and practice, which is why it's important to start training early if you want to compete in a cross country ski race.

Burn calories

If you wish to burn a lot of calories whilst training, then go cross country skiing or even ski walking!

Unlike downhill skiing, xc skiing goes upwards most of the time and your body is in constant movement. With your poles, you are coordinating movement between your upper and lower body, and your core muscles act as a connecter between the two. That's a great recipe to burn calories.

Furthermore, cross country skiers often ski for several hours at a time, allowing the body to burn more calories.

Improves performance - VO2 max

One of the most important reasons to train for cross country skiing is that it will improve your performance - especially your VO2max.

Your VO2max is a measure in milliliters per minute and determines the maximum amount of oxygen you can consume during exercise. The higher your VO2max is, the more endurance you have and the better your performance will be.

Cross country skiing is one of the best sports to improve your VO2max, as it trains all your energy systems - aerobic and anaerobic. If you want to increase your VO2max, then cross country skiing is the perfect way to do it!

Low impact

A reason to love this sport is that it is a low impact exercise. This means that it puts less stress on your joints than other sports, such as running.

This is especially beneficial if you are older or have joint problems. Cross country skiing can help improve your mobility and flexibility, without putting too much stress on your body.

Being in the outdoors

Last but not least, one of the best reasons to ski cross country is that you get to spend time outdoors in nature! What could be better than that? Skiing in the wintertime is a great way to enjoy the snow and fresh air, whilst getting a good workout at the same time.

So now that we have listed some of the benefits, here are a few tips on how to start cross country skiing training, especially if you live in a city without snow or mountains.


Vasaloppet is the World's largest cross country ski race, with over 15,000 participants! The race takes place every year in March in Sweden and covers a distance of 90 kilometers. If you are looking to compete in a cross country ski race, then the Vasaloppet is the race to attend.

Vasaloppet is tough but you will gain an amazing ski experience from it and anybody can do it. You don't even have to be a good skier, but just set your mind to it, keep a strong focus and follow a good training plan before the race.

100 days to Vasaloppet

Our 100-day training plan on the Nordic Trainer is created specifically to Vasaloppet. Over the course of 100 days, you will learn some ski technique and do simple exercises on the Nordic Trainer to prepare you for Vasaloppet. You will improve your balance - an important, but often forgotten point of cross country skiing - and you will do a lot of different strength exercises. But most importantly, you will do a lot of endurance training, which is key when you are heading for a 90km race.

The program

The program can be done by anybody, beginner to expert and can be found here.

Training in the summer

If you don't live in a place with snow, or if the winter is too cold for you, then don't worry! You can still train for cross country skiing. In fact, many will probably prefer training in the summer than training in the winter, as you won't have to deal with bad weather conditions and you will be able to ski on different terrain.

There are a few things that you can do in the summer to improve your cross country skiing performance:

The Nordic Trainer:

With a 96% correlation, the Nordic Trainer is the best way you can possibly imitate cross country skiing. With the Nordic Trainer you can do endurance, balance and strength training. You can target the muscle groups you wish to train and you will get an amazing full body workout.


Running is a great way to improve your endurance and it will help you with the pacing of your race. Try running at a consistent pace for long distances, rather than sprinting for short periods of time.


Biking is a great way to improve your leg strength and it will help you with the power that you need when skiing uphill.


Swimming is a great way to improve your overall fitness and it will help you with your breathing when racing. Swimming can also help strengthen your core, which is important for cross country skiing.

Strength training:

Lifting weights is a great way to improve your strength and it will help you maintain good technique when skiing uphill or over difficult terrain.

Roller skis:

Finally, if you can't get to a ski slope or the weather is bad, roller skis are a great way to train. Roller skiing will improve your endurance and technique, and it's also great fun!

Just like in the winter, make sure that you do a lot of endurance training in the summer!

Training plan

If you are looking for a more detailed training plan, then we have the perfect solution for you. Our team has created a 100-day training program that is specifically designed to improve your performance in Vasaloppet. The program includes endurance, balance and strength exercises, as well as technique drills that will help you skiing at your best.

You can find the program here and we promise that you will see great improvements in your skiing if you follow it!

Setting goals to get started

Before you start any training program, it is important to set some goals. This will help keep you motivated and focused on what you are trying to achieve.

Some questions that you can ask yourself when setting your goals:

  • What are my skiing goals?
  • Do I want to compete in a ski race that 90km long? Or do I simply want to improve my physical form?
  • How much time per week do I have for this?

From here, you can start to tailor a training program that will work for you.

If your goal is to compete in a ski race, then we recommend following our 100-day training program. If your goal is simply to improve your physical form, then we suggest incorporating some of the exercises that incorporate elements that are important for cross country skiing, such as endurance, balance or VO2max.

Weekly scheduling

Now that you have your goals set, it is time to start scheduling your training. This will help ensure that you are getting the most out of your time and that you are able to focus on one specific task at a time.

Example beginners schedule :

Day One: Endurance training

Day Two: Balance training

Day Three: Strength training

Day Four: Technique drills

Day Five: Rest day!

Repeat this for four weeks and then switch to a different type of training. This will help keep your body guessing and ensure that you are making progress and improve performance.

Rounding off

We hope that this blog post has given you some ideas about how to improve your cross country skiing. Remember, the most important thing is to do a lot of endurance training and to focus on your goals!