Cross-country skiing is one tough sport. We don’t need chairlifts to take us up hills! We’re sure that everyone is keeping active this summer doing all kinds of fun activities, such as running, cycling, hiking, and various water sports. All these are great cross training activities that will keep you in shape as we head towards fall and winter.
You can also add some cross-country skiing specific dryland training to your repertoire. Enter, ski walking/bounding. Heather, your XC director, has been playing around with this once a week in High Park. You look ridiculous, but it’s also a tough interval workout that will (hopefully) translate to more strength and power in your skiing.
Ski walking/bounding is moving up hills mimicking the classic ski stride, with or without poles. You want to do it with proper ski form – flexing at the ankles and keeping your hips forward. Walking keeps one foot on the ground at all times, while bounding gets you some air time. There are also plyometric exercises you can do to mimic skate skiing (essentially jumping side to side up the hill) and double poling (essentially bunny hopping uphill). There’s lots of resources online to consult if you’re interested in exploring this further. Proper form is important, so do some research before jumping in, and take it easy to start!
Balance is critical to good cross-country ski technique, for both classic and skate. Like anything, if you want to improve your balance, you need to practice. Try balancing on one leg while doing activities like TV watching. It sounds easy. Then close your eyes!
Strength training should also be a part of everyone’s life. Strong core muscles (abdominals, glutes, hips etc.) mean a body less prone to injury. You don’t have to be a weightlifter! There’s lots you can do at home, such as planks/squats/lunges, and single leg strength work is great for both strengthening muscles and improving balance. There are lots of resources online to demonstrate proper form.
If you want to ease your way back into ski training with your ski friends, be sure to join our SkiFit sessions in High Park every Saturday morning starting in September. There’s an intensity level for everyone, followed by brunch at the Grenadier Café. We welcome all members no matter your ski preference. We will also be offering the popular CrossFit series again this year. Check out the events calendar for all the details!
(Disclaimer: Before beginning any new exercise activities, you should consult the proper resources to ensure you are doing them safely. This article is merely meant to give you some suggestions for ski specific training).