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Cross Country Skiing: The Ultimate Winter Workout

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Looking for a way to get an intensive workout in while enjoying the outdoors this winter? Try cross country skiing! This Olympic sport provides an aerobic workout that utilizes your whole body by building muscle strength in your arms, back, legs and core. Get in shape before you hit the trails with these four exercises from athletic trainers in the NEBH Sports Performance Center.

Exercise One: Aerobic Conditioning

Cross country skiing is a long-distance endurance sport, which will require you to do some cardiovascular conditioning to prepare. You have many options such as jogging, biking, swimming or using the elliptical machine. Try to do these exercises two-three times per week for about an hour each day.

Exercise Two: Arm Circles

Strong shoulders and arms are essential for using the ski poles to propel you forward. Arm circles and bent-over triceps extensions are great all around exercises for stability and strength.

  • Start by standing up with plenty of room around you.
  • Lift arms to shoulder level, straight out to the side.
  • Create small circles with both arms, alternate in clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
  • Aim for 20 circles in each direction.
  • To vary this exercise, you may create larger circles or vary speed.

Exercise Three: Bent-Over Triceps Extensions

  • Start by standing with feet about hip width apart, knees slightly bent
  • Hinge and push your hips back as though you are about to sit down on to a chair
  • Chest should be diagonal to the ground
  • Shoulders pulled back and elbows in-line with shoulders and bent at the elbow about 90 degrees
  • Move fists back as to extend the elbow and to reach for the ceiling above, then return back to 90 degrees
  • You can do this with or without dumbbells. If you choose to use dumbbells start with 2-5lb in each hand

Exercise Four: Planks

Your core is made up of your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. Strengthening your core can improve balance and stability, and will give you the power to push yourself forward while skiing.

  • Start off flat on your stomach
  • Push yourself up onto your elbows or hands with arms extended straight making sure both are under the shoulders
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and squeeze your gluteal muscles
  • Lift your hips and knees off the floor.
  • Keep your body straight and hold for 30 seconds. If you cannot hold this position, bring your knees back to the floor and hold with just your hips lifted.
  • Slowly return to the start position and rest 30 seconds. Repeat.

If you have any health concerns, be sure to consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

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