How to Train for Cross Country Skiing Using the Nordic Trainer: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Train for Cross Country Skiing Using the Nordic Trainer: A Comprehensive Guide

Cross country skiing is an exhilarating winter sport that offers numerous health benefits and a fantastic full-body workout. For those seeking to improve their performance on the trail, using the Nordic Trainer is a highly effective way to enhance their strength, endurance, and technique. As a versatile piece of fitness equipment, the Nordic Trainer simulates the movements involved in cross country skiing, providing a realistic training experience that targets the key muscle groups employed in this demanding sport.

Incorporating the Nordic Trainer into your fitness regimen, will allow you to make bigger progress when you get on your skiis in the winter. This remarkable piece of equipment is ideal for both novice and experienced skiers looking to build their physical capacity. By focusing on specific exercises and workouts tailored to the demands of the sport, individuals can develop the muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance necessary for tackling various terrains and conditions encountered in cross country skiing.

In addition to the physical benefits, the Nordic Trainer also offers a superb platform for developing one's skiing technique. With regular practice, individuals can hone their balance, coordination, and timing – all crucial elements for mastering the graceful art of cross country skiing. To make the most of this fantastic training tool, it is essential to utilise the appropriate workouts and drills, carefully designed to replicate the dynamic movements associated with the sport and facilitate the development of precise, powerful, and efficient skiing skills.

Fundamentals of Cross Country Skiing

Cross country skiing is a popular winter sport that provides a full-body workout and allows you to enjoy the outdoors. The Nordic Trainer is an excellent tool for training and improving your cross country skiing performance.

Firstly, it is essential to understand different techniques in cross country skiing, e.g. diagonal or double poling. Diagonal poling involves a diagonal stride, where the skier moves one ski forward while pushing off the opposite ski for power. Double poling, on the other hand, involves pushing yourself forward using your core and arms at the same time. The Nordic Trainer allows you to practise both techniques by simulating realistic skiing movements.

When using the Nordic Trainer, proper body positioning is crucial. You need a balanced stance with a slight forward lean, allowing your body weight to be centred over your machine. In addition, maintaining a consistent, rhythmic stride will ensure optimal technique and avoid energy loss.

Poles play an essential role in cross country skiing. The correct pole length and proper grip are vital for effective propulsion and balance. It is recommended to use poles that reach from the ground to just below your armpit for classic skiing, and to your chin for skate skiing. Moreover, practising accurate pole placement with the Nordic Trainer will ensure smooth transitions between strides. When using the Nordic Trainer, choose poles are that are approximately 30-35cm shorter than your height.

Improving your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength is fundamental for long-lasting performance in cross country skiing. Regular training with the Nordic Trainer will allow you to build endurance and strength, ensuring you are well-prepared for the demands of the sport. Moreover, incorporating interval training and resistance exercises will further enhance your overall fitness.

By focusing on these key aspects and using the Nordic Trainer as part of your training regimen, you can effectively improve your cross country skiing abilities and enjoy the sport to its fullest potential.

Nordic Trainer Basics

The Nordic Trainer is an effective tool for those looking to train for cross-country skiing, as it is designed to replicate skiing's specific movements while improving overall endurance and strength. By consistently training with the Nordic Trainer, it is possible to see improvements in technique, balance, and overall performance on the slopes.

Using the Nordic Trainer is beneficial because it simulates the natural movement patterns and muscle engagement involved in cross-country skiing. The alternating motion of the arms and legs helps develop whole-body coordination and builds cardiovascular endurance. Furthermore, the Nordic Trainer engages both the upper and lower body simultaneously, leading to more efficient training and balanced muscle development.

For cross-country skiing enthusiasts who want to get the most out of their Nordic Trainer sessions, it is essential to focus on proper technique and form. To achieve this:

Nordic Trainer Double Poling:

  1. Position your feet on the footplate and grab the pole handles.
  2. Maintain a slight bend in the knees and hips, ensuring a comfortable, athletic stance.
  3. Initiate movement by pushing through your legs and extending the hips while simultaneously pulling with the arms.
  4. As you pull the handle, maintain a relaxed grip and avoid overextending the arm, allowing it to glide back naturally.
  5. Through the movement, keep the core tight and let the arms follow the body as you come up and down.

To enhance your training and benefit from expert advice, consider exploring the YouTube dedicated to providing instructional videos, techniques, and workout recommendations for using the Nordic Trainer.

When incorporating the Nordic Trainer into a training routine, it is crucial to establish a balanced program that addresses endurance, strength, and flexibility. By visiting our YouTube channel or downloading the Nordic Strong App, you will be able to find programs that address these elements.

In summary, the Nordic Trainer is an excellent training tool for cross-country skiing enthusiasts looking to improve their technique, build stamina, and increase strength. By focusing on proper form and incorporating a well-rounded training routine, individuals are sure to see progress on the slopes.

Developing a Training Programme

Setting Goals

When designing a training programme for cross country skiing using the Nordic Trainer, it is essential to set specific goals. Determine what you wish to achieve, whether it's improving technique, increasing endurance, or preparing for a race. Consider SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), as they help to create a clear path forward.


Progression is a crucial aspect of any training programme. Start with a manageable level of intensity and duration, gradually increasing sessions as your fitness and technique improve. Implement a combination of interval training, steady-state sessions, and technique drills to provide variety and challenge.

Keep track of progress by:

  • Monitoring heart rate during training sessions
  • Recording distance covered and pace
  • Logging changes in perceived exertion

Rest Days

Rest days are integral to any training programme, as they allow the body to recover and adapt to the stress of training. Schedule regular rest days, typically 1-2 days per week, depending on the intensity of the training programme. Rest days can also include low-intensity active recovery sessions, such as gentle yoga, stretching, or a leisurely walk. Be sure to listen to your body, prioritise sleep, and maintain proper nutrition to ensure optimal recovery.

Technique Development

Diagonal Stride

The Diagonal Stride is the fundamental technique of classic cross-country skiing. To develop this technique, follow these steps:

  1. Body position: Stand tall on skis, with weight evenly distributed between both legs. Keep the back upright and relax the knees.
  2. Weight transfer: Initiate a forward motion and transfer weight onto one ski while gliding forward. Follow through by transferring weight onto the opposite ski.
  3. Arm swing: As the weight is shifted, swing the arms in coordination with the opposite leg. Keep the motion smooth and fluid.

Remember to practice this motion repeatedly, as it is the foundation for effective cross-country skiing.

Double Poling

Double Poling is a technique used for gaining speed and propelling forward on flat terrain. Follow these steps to develop the skill:

  1. Pole placement: Hold both poles parallel and place them next to the bindings of the skis. Ensure that pole tips are slightly angled backward.
  2. Upper body action: Lean forward from the hips and engage the abdominal muscles. Apply force onto the poles, extending the arms and pushing down and back.
  3. Recovery: Glide forward on both skis while smoothly bringing the poles forward to reset the position.

Practising this technique helps improve upper body strength, and incorporating it into the skiing routine boosts efficiency.

Strength and Conditioning

Core Strength

When training for cross country skiing using the Nordic Trainer, it is crucial to focus on core strength. Core muscles are the support system for the entire body; they keep the hips, back, and shoulders aligned, allowing for more efficient and powerful movements during skiing. Every movement in the Nordic Trainer will engage your core. After just a short period of time using the Nordic Trainer, you will feel a noticeable difference.

Arms and Shoulders

In cross country skiing, arms and shoulders play a vital role in propelling the skier forward. To enhance strength and endurance in these areas, engage in exercises like push-ups, lateral raises, and dumbbell rows. Additionally, using the Nordic Trainer will improve ski-specific movements, such as pole planting and arm swings.

Legs and Glutes

The legs and glutes are the primary drivers in cross country skiing, providing the power to push off and glide forward. Aim to build strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes by incorporating exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts into your workout programme. Find programs in the Nordic Strong App that focuses specifically on the lower body. Moreover, the Nordic Trainer's adjustable resistance settings help to mimic the demands of skiing by simulating uphill climbs and flat terrains – this aids in developing leg and glute strength specific to the sport.

Remember to practice proper form and technique during strength and conditioning exercises to prevent injury and maximise results. The Nordic Trainer provides an excellent way to build endurance and strength in a controlled environment, making it an invaluable tool in preparing for cross country skiing.

Cardiovascular Endurance

Interval Training

Cross country skiing requires a strong cardiovascular system, and interval training is an effective way to improve it. On the Nordic Trainer, skiers can simulate intense bursts of speed by increasing the resistance and performing short, high-intensity intervals. For example:

  • Warm-up for 5 minutes on a low resistance setting
  • Increase resistance and ski at a fast pace for 30 seconds
  • Recover for 2 minutes on a low resistance setting
  • Repeat the high-intensity interval and recovery 8-10 times
  • Cool down for 5 minutes on a low resistance setting

By incorporating interval training into their routine, skiers can enhance their cardiovascular endurance and prepare for the demands of cross country skiing.

Long Distance Sessions

In addition to interval training, long-distance sessions are crucial for building cardiovascular endurance. These sessions involve skiing at a moderate pace with a consistent resistance on the Nordic Trainer for an extended period. A sample long distance session might include:

  • Warm-up for 5 minutes on a low resistance setting
  • Increase resistance to a moderate level and ski at a steady pace for 45-60 minutes
  • Cool down for 5 minutes on a low resistance setting

Performing long distance sessions regularly helps skiers develop the stamina necessary for successful cross country skiing. By combining both interval training and long distance sessions on the Nordic Trainer, skiers can effectively improve their cardiovascular endurance and prepare for the challenges of the sport.

Find challenges in the Nordic Strong App that will allow you to test your endurance on the Nordic Trainer before going out on real skis!