Let’s have a look through the six essential resistance training exercises for cross country skiing. Strengthening the right muscle groups is key to improving performance on the snowy trails whilst also mitigating injury. In this article, we will explore these exercises, focusing on their benefits and how they can enhance power, endurance, and stability for cross country skiers.
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Resistance exercises that target the muscles around the joints, such as the hips, knees, and shoulders, help improve joint stability. Strengthening the muscles that support and stabilise the joints can enhance joint alignment and reduce the risk of ligament sprains, strains, and other joint-related injuries.
Enhanced Core Strength and Stability
A strong core is essential for maintaining stability and transferring force efficiently between the upper and lower body during skiing. Resistance training exercises that engage the core muscles, such as planks, Russian twists, or medicine ball throws, can improve core strength and stability, reducing the risk of falls and other injuries.
Bone Density and Injury Resilience
Resistance training places stress on the bones, which stimulates bone remodeling and increases bone density. Higher bone density improves the skier's resilience to fractures and stress-related injuries, especially in weight-bearing areas such as the legs.
Increased Power and Propulsion
Resistance training helps to develop muscular strength and power, which directly translates to improved skiing performance. Strengthening the lower body muscles, such as the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, through exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts, enhances the skier's ability to generate power and propulsion during each stride. This leads to more efficient and powerful skiing movements, allowing for increased speed and endurance.
Enhanced Endurance and Stamina
Cross country skiing is an endurance-based sport that requires sustained effort over long periods. Resistance training can improve muscular endurance, allowing skiers to maintain a strong and efficient technique throughout their skiing sessions or races. By incorporating high-repetition, lower-weight exercises and circuit training into their resistance training program, skiers can enhance their stamina, delay muscle fatigue, and sustain optimal performance over extended periods.
The barbell reverse lunge is a perfect exercise for cross country skiers to use to build a high level of single leg strength. Cross country skiing relies heavily on lower body strength, especially in the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Barbell reverse lunges target these muscle groups effectively, helping to build strength and power necessary for generating force during skiing movements.
The Landmine lateral lunge is an exercise I use often with clients to improve hip mobility, a physical characteristic important for cross country skiers. Adequate hip mobility is important for cross country skiers to achieve efficient and powerful strides. Landmine lateral lunges involve a wide range of motion at the hip joint, which can help improve hip mobility over time. This increased mobility can translate into longer and more powerful strides on skis.
Single leg landmine deadlift is one of the most challenging single leg hinge exercises in our exercise library, and can be very beneficial to cross country skiers, especially for hip stability and balance. Cross country skiing requires good balance and stability, particularly when skiing on uneven terrain. Single leg landmine deadlifts challenge your balance and stability as you perform the exercise on one leg. This exercise activates the stabilising muscles in your hips, ankles, and core, which are essential for maintaining balance and control while skiing.
Wide Stance KB Straight Leg Deadlift develop the entire posterior chain, particularly the hips and the glutes. These muscles play a crucial role in generating power and stability during cross country skiing. Strengthening the hips and glutes through wide stance KB deadlifts can enhance your ability to generate force and propulsion during skiing movements.
Pull ups are one of the most effective exercises for improving the muscles of the upper body that are most applicable to cross country skiing. Cross country skiing involves the use of the upper body to propel and control the movement of the poles. Pull-ups primarily target the muscles of the upper body, including the back (particularly the latissimus dorsi), shoulders, and arms. By performing pull-ups, cross country skiers can develop greater upper body strength, which can contribute to more powerful and efficient pole strokes.
Hollow body plate pulses helps build a strong anterior core. A strong core helps stabilise the spine and pelvis, reducing the risk of lower back injuries. By incorporating hollow body plate pulses into your training routine, you can improve core strength and stability, which can contribute to injury prevention.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.