In many places, spring time is the best time for cross country skiing. The snow is still good, but unlike in the winter time, you can feel that the days are getting longer and sun more strong. In the Nordic countries, the spring sun is the best sun. Putting on my skis under a spring sun and with a lot of fresh snow is definitely my favourite ending to a long winter.
Therefore, should you consider a cross country vacation towards the spring, you should start your fitness training now to prepare your body for those long ski trips across mountain tops.
We have gathered our best tips of how to improve your fitness and a training program to have you get started. Based on our tips, the exercises in the program is an easy start for you.
Plan your workouts ahead
Once you have decided to start your home training, the next step is to make sure that you have a very structured weekly workout plan. I find that this is the only way to ensure you get it done. A good idea is to plan a week forward every Sunday. You can easily do the same workouts every week, maybe alternating one or two, and just make sure you either add number of reps or total time per week, in order to constantly progressing.
A great way to plan your training schedule is to make a workout plan in excel or another fitness planning program that will allow you to have a good overview of when you are training and what exercises you are doing.
Lastly, always remember to have rest days in your fitness schedule. In no sports, is working out every single day without rest a good tactic. At the end of the day, in any plan, whether it is concerning work or sports, is a good balance important to have between hard work and rest.
The endurance workout
Cross country skiing is an endurance workout at its core. Cross country skiing requires a unique combination of strength and endurance. Cross country requires strength, both controlled and explosive, in legs, arms and core. And you need endurance to be able to repeat your movements for many repetitions. The great thing is that you easily do endurance training, if you just keep yourself aware about it. Create yourself a promise that you will add the it into your weekly exercise plan.
The importance of core strength
When you are cross country skiing, a strong core is paramount. The core is essentially what holds together the upper and lower body. Every time you glide forward, it need to coordinate the alternating movements between your upper and lower body. So therefore, you need to have a strong core.
Looking aside from cross country skiing, good ab strength is important for your every day life. When we work, most sit in the same position all day without barely making a single move. And a good way to eliminate injuries or general muscle pain that can be caused from our every day life, is by exercising weekly and creating a strong muscle mass.
Besides my yearly cross country ski trips, I have always done a lot of different sports. Unfortunately, my work today doesn't allow me to do either a lot of cross country or pursue the sports I used to. Therefore, to keep in shape and keep my form, I love doing quick training sets at home where I only need 20 minutes to work the entire body.
Winter Training Program
Each set has three exercises. Do each exercise for one minute, with a 30 second break after each set. When you are done, repeat the sets two or three times. This will really push your body. As a beginner, repeat the sets twice and make it more hard the following weeks.
Round one: Upper Body
- Plank: Get into plank position with your elbows on the ground underneath your shoulder. Focus on your balance and hold it for a minute. It can be hard to stay in a plank. Think about keeping your back straight and tighten up your abdominal muscles.
- Sit-ups: Lie down on your back with your feet firmly in the ground. Curl your upper body up to your knees and down again. Do the move for the full minute.
- Russian Twist: Sit with bent knees and each foot pressed into the ground. Keep your spine straight. Start twisting from side to side for one minute.
Round two: Lower Body
- Lunges: Stand up long and tall. Step forward with one foot at a time, making a 90 degree angle between your calf and thigh. Try to do it slowly until you have a good balance. Switch between the legs on every move and do it until the timers reaches 60 seconds.
- Sumo Squats: Stand with your feet wider than your hips and shoulders. Lower yourself into a squat, keeping your back straight and long. Feel that you glide up and down a wall with your back. When you are squatting, feel that muscle burn in your thigh.
- Bridge: Lie down on the floor, with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Put your arms on the ground with your palms down. Tighten up your abdominals and push your butt up and down.
Round three: Cardio
- Burpees: Stand with your feet should-width apart and bring your arms to your sides. Get into a squat and place your hands on the ground. Jump into a plank and return by jumping into a squat stand. Finally, stand up.
- Mountain Climbers: Start in a plank and begin the movement by bringing one leg at a time under you. Switch your legs back and forth twice, such that your right leg is again close to your right hand. You want to stay still with your upper body as your legs are going back and fort.
- Jump Squats: Starting point is a squat. Begin the movement by jumping up and down.
Besides being amazing country ski training, the above program is an easy start if you want to work all your body's muscles. In general interval training, where you switch every minute between cardio, strength and balance training is a good all around body workout.
You may think you need skis and snow to workout like skiers do. But a lot of the nordic ski training comes from doing interval and strength fitness. And even if you just have 20 minutes of free time every other day, this will give you a lot of ski sport benefits. It is definitely how skiers prepare themselves for the winter season.
Try the workout, you only need 9 minutes! One, two, three - let's go!