6 Cross-Country Ski Training Tips For Triathletes

As the summer comes to an end and the fall season begins, many endurance athletes begin contemplating cross-country skiing as a winter alternative to the summer sports they usually partake in. Perhaps you are fatigued from biking or jogging, or perhaps you are eager to take your skis out to the trails this winter.

If you are looking to add Nordic skiing to your routine this winter or want to compete in cross-country ski races, then here are a few of my suggestions for having a successful changeover to the snow.

Fitness Is King For Cross-Country Skiing

No other kind of endurance sport is as dependent upon technical skill as swimming.

It is easy to be so drawn to improving your skiing technique that you overlook your strength and endurance abilities. Good physical conditioning is the most important element for success in cross-country skiing.

As a 7th grader, Jessie Diggins was racing with the intent of one day earning herself an Olympic gold medal. She was skiing alongside, and in some cases outdoing, 11th and 12th graders with a style that left you wincing due to the low level of efficiency.

However, the physical strength that would eventually lift her to the highest levels of victory in multiple competitions and earn her Olympic Gold was already evident, and it was because of her fitness that she could still achieve high speeds despite her less-than-ideal technique.

There is no doubt that Jessie needed to become an expert skier for her professional career, but the exact opposite is not true. If you are out of shape, you won’t achieve what you’d planned when it comes to skiing or take full advantage of your ability even if your technique is impeccable. Check this ski training technique.

1. Don’t Skip Arm Day

If you had been doing other forms of aerobic exercises, such as running or cycling, during the summer, you will be in an advantageous position in regards to being fit enough to ski during the winter.

Most Nordic skiers need to build a strong aerobic system to do well in their sport, which is similar to many other activities that require endurance.

You only need to take a quick look at any professional cycling or marathon running a competition to understand that having a lot of upper body muscle won’t help you be successful in these sports.

High-calibre Nordic winter athletes use up to half of their strength from their upper body for their complete power output.

If you haven’t devoted energy to developing strength in your core and upper body throughout the summer, you must make clear goals for improving them before you focus on your ambitions for cross-country skiing.

Nordic skiing necessitates a blend of vigour and persistence that is distinctive. You must have explosive power in your legs, arms, and torso to execute each stride cycle when it comes to skiing either style (think of it as).

You must have the robustness to perform skate skiing up a lofty incline, moreover, the stamina to continue these contractions extendedly multiple times.

Focus your training by trying roller skiing, running with poles, and constructing strength and power in your upper body.

Keep in mind that it is necessary to be strong in the upper body to have powerful and specialized ski strength. You should not start upper body plyometrics exercising if your arms possess a physique similar to that of Chris Froome after a summer of biking!

2. Stand In The Right Position/Get Hip

The initial move for skiing efficiently and comfortably is leaning your body forward. Skiers who are not stable frequently adopt either of two extreme body postures. One is a position in which the hips are bent and the knees are bent inward.

Standing upright with our back completely straight and vertical to the snow is the other option. The weight on both skis is focused on the back one, making it hard to move the weight onto the front ski.

Only a small degree of bending should be done in both the ankles and knees to achieve a balanced and forward-facing stance. We hope to be able to remain balanced for an extended period if someone were to instruct us to hold our cross-country skiing movement in one position.

Our initial move is to discover how to keep our torso inclined forward without extensive bending at the hips. Here’s the sensation we want for hip positioning. Stand on one foot, then point your toe and lean your body forward.

Keep leaning forward until your other foot moves underneath you to avoid a painful collision with the ground.

Once your hips are above your knees, it is time to take a step forward. We are not decreasing the angle of our hips so much as we are shifting our hips forward.

Follow the rear leg’s forward swing with a slight hip rotation to boost stability. Hip rotation assists the upper body in progressing with the sliding ski. Here’s an exercise to increase hip movement.

Hips should be able to move in such a way that when a leg is stepped forward to glide, the side of the hip should turn forward and follow it. Our right hip rotates forward as we move our right leg out in front.

The same with the left side. Just a slight rotation of the hips is necessary to maintain our upper body over the sliding ski all the time.

Once our hips and bottom half are at the desired point, it’s time to determine if the upper body has obtained full forward tilt. I enjoy utilizing the “ball of the foot to heel test” as my method of assessment. Using the poles, ski along at a relaxed pace.

Gently skate over the ball of your front foot for a few steps. You may be able to notice the grip of either a waxed or waxless pattern on the snow, which will help to slow down the skis, but that’s okay. K. Our aim is to figure out how the torso behaves when we roll along on the toes.

Typically, the trunk of the body is inclined to put pressure on that spot. This exaggerated lean is what we want. Maintain the slanted stance, but move the weight of your gliding foot so that it rests in the middle of the arch and the heel- the “spot.”

This enhances the ability to move forward with your upper body still in a forward position. Periodically take this test to be reminded of the highest level of leaning forward with your upper body.

3. Improve Momentum

So far, we have concentrated on maintaining an upright, forward stance and posture to maximize floatation, as well as applying effort to the skis for the most reliable traction. The following action should be taken to move forward: a determined push-off with the back leg.

A lack of energy in the hind leg is the most regular reason for poor forward propulsion.

In this instance, the rear appendage moves ahead in two steps. Our leg extends behind us during the kick and advances a few inches before coming to a halt. The leg then continues moving forward beneath the body while gliding.

At the same time as we press on the foot that we use to kick, we should also be propelling the other leg forward. This will produce enough force to aid us in gliding even with a feeble push-off or sliding skis.

One lesson exercise is called “Floating the Back Foot”. In this activity, we pause our back foot for a bit of time before swinging it away. Simultaneously, we would rapidly drive our poles into the snow to commence the pole thrust.

By planting and pushing the pole deliberately, we improved our balance by keeping the rear foot raised rather than on the snow. This exercise helps us achieve proper body posture to master the ability to propel ourselves forwards with our legs.

Allow the foot to linger in the air momentarily after kicking it from behind in the snow, then immediately embed the pole and start pressing down. Don’t move the back foot until we start pushing off from the poles and own into the glide.

Bring the back leg forward in a single, deliberate action. The same force is being used as if we were kicking a ball, however, the foot impacts the snow beneath our body instead of launching off in front.

Achieving equilibrium in the upper body is essential for pushing the back leg forward. Recall the hip swing movement, as it aids in maintaining the torso posture forward, allowing the lower body to function separately.

Visualize having your torso stay in one spot while your legs switch back and forth from two positions.

The kick is performed with one foot down on the snow and the other leg lifted behind and away from the snow. To advance to the subsequent stance, the legs should be moved quickly while the upper body remains still.

4. The most important thing for skiing uphill is to plan ahead. Rather than anticipating that a hill will arrive in the next half kilometre, our technique does not involve that sort of planning. Consider the actions that occur in front of our body rather than what is happening behind us.

An essential element in remaining balance is to fix our gaze on the summit of the hill. Another key is the correct hip position. By leaning forwards from the hips, our torso goes ahead of our feet, resulting in the skis sliding.

Practising the “Tina Turner pelvic thrust” is an effective way to maintain the alignment of our hips over our feet. Tighten your abdominal muscles and press your navel in towards your spine while raising your hips forward. When performed properly, this pelvic tilt flattens the curve in our spine and repositions the hips.

For maximum traction going uphill, you should use an extreme variation of weighting your heels as you initiate the thrust. This technique is called a “foot stroke”.

In this order, we will move our foot forward of the knee just before the kick. The stroking movement pulls the kicking leg forward to generate greater pressure towards the ground for better traction.

The foot thrusts forward with the movement beginning at the knee. Stand with flexed legs, placing one hand over both knees, to experience the sensation of a foot massage.

Move your foot ahead until the leg is almost straightened. The knees should stay right next to each other and not cross as one foot extends on the snow. Work both of your feet until it moves like second nature.

As we ski up an incline, the foot movement takes place just before the push-off at the very end of the glide. Start skiing uphill and reduce the length of your strides, keeping your knees bent with a springy movement.

Think of it as if you were gently propelling a tiny soccer ball up a hill. Start the kick by pushing the ball with your foot, slightly ahead of your knee.

Transfer weight with each step for maximum glide. On a steep incline, this ski run may only be the length that the leg pushes through the snow.

5. Good Technique Is Free Speed

Of all the technical aspects you have to be proficient in as a skier, keeping your balance is the most vital. At either end of the snow skiing spectrum, one may experience an effortless flow along the snow or, on the contrary, an inability to stay upright with frequent falls.

The majority of skiers are not extreme in their level, yet all of them can gain advantages from advancing their equilibrium. It is suggested that anyone who has the desire to ski during the winter should roller ski during the summer and/or fall seasons.

Roller skiing provides an opportunity to develop balance while training in the most exacting way available when there is no snow.

Even if you don’t roller ski in autumn, it is important to pay attention to balance exercises including skiing without poles when you begin your first snow training sessions of the year.

It is essential to emphasize the technique of staying relaxed in any area or moment of skiing where there is no pressure being applied. Tension during the recovery part of either a skate ski or classic ski motion is a waste of effort.

It would be impossible to highlight all the different aspects of skiing technique in a single blog article, however, capitalizing on perfect balance (such as when skating on a flat surface, this should result in an increased gliding time) and being relaxed during the relaxing segment can greatly improve your overall effectiveness as your winter skiing season starts.

6. Apply Your Experience

Even though you are fairly fresh to skiing, you probably have some background in other sports that require physical stamina, which will transfer over to your skiing.

Sports nourishment exemplifies great habits that could be easily started and followed by skiers. Many cyclists have knowledge of the basics when it comes to eating and drinking properly on the bike which can help lead to successful rides and races.

Your bicycle has handy water bottle holders close at hand! For skiers, an effective but often overlooked method of enhancing performance is to consume a healthy diet during practice and competition.

One must still face various challenges such as holding onto frozen water bottles or trying to take in energy while wearing gloves and holding ski poles, however, the body will still require the same amount of fluids and nutrition when skiing as it does while playing a summer activity.

Similar to engaging in other activities, you can optimize your exercise performance and intensity by consuming 200-300 calories per hour as well as at least 20 ounces of water every hour if your workout surpasses the 60-75 minute mark.

One more thing to keep in mind when skiing is to prepare for the special requirements of the race. Are you doing the Birkie this February?

The course has many hills, so having the necessary strength in both the upper and lower body is important to successfully take on the numerous ascents for a lengthy amount of time.

Is your event a 10 km skate race? You must condition yourself to handle the strenuous exertion and accustom your body to the high lactate levels you’ll experience during a tough, short race that will require you to stay at your lactate threshold intensity for an extended period.

The point that should be taken away from this is that while skiing may not be something you think about all the time, oftentimes the expertise you acquire from participating in other forms of endurance sports can be used to your advantage.

You should start now on getting ready for any ski-related activities this winter, even if it is only to switch up your exercise routine and get some fresh air while getting in some exercise. If you have ski races you want to do, the sooner you start, the better.

If you are looking for specialist help and professional guidance, CTS employs multiple highly qualified trainers who have a wealth of cross-country skiing knowledge to assist you in accomplishing your goals this winter.


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