A few weeks ago, former U.S. Biathlon Coach and current White Pine Nordic Center Director, Patrick Coffey, shared some of his favorite exercises to help get in shape for Nordic ski season. With a focus on strengthening the core and increasing balance, Patrick’s Crusher Sit-ups, Windshield Wipers and Lunges were designed to help prepare your body for the demands of skate skiing and classic skiing.
Now that morning temperatures in Park City are hovering around the low 30’s and snow is already gracing the top of our mountains, even diehard bikers are starting to think about ski season. So Patrick shares another trifecta of Nordic skiing tips in the form of more exercises to increase core, arm and leg strength. As with all exercises, technique is key. Start with a lower number of repetitions until you’ve mastered the proper form. Then bang ‘em out and see improvements in your Nordic skiing this season.
Start in a push-up position. Lift your hips into the air. From this position drop your face to the ground, trying to touch your nose to the ground while still keeping your hips in the air. Inch forward by moving your toes while bringing your head back up. Lift your head high enough to feel a stretch in your abdominal muscles. Be sure you are looking up in order to maximize this affect. Now reverse the motion by inching your feet backwards while on your toes, and try to touch your nose back down towards the ground. Finish in the push-up position with your hips elevated. Start with 3 reps of 5 and move on from there. As always, stop if you feel your form is starting to fall apart.
Leg Lifts Plus:
Lie down on the floor with your hands under your hips (hands face down). Try to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed during the entire motion of this exercise. Lift your legs a few inches off the ground, pointing your toes out away from your body. Pull your legs in toward your body keeping them as close to the ground as possible. From here lift your legs straight up in the air, pointing your toes straight up. Once you are in full extension, lift your hips off the ground, again being sure to point straight up with your toes. Come back down slowly through the same motion so that you complete one repetition of this exercise with your legs extended parallel to the ground. Do not rest your legs on the ground until you are done with a full set. I would suggest starting with 3 reps of 5-8.
Nothing too tricky here. Create two platforms 6-8 inches high. You can use phone books, or anything else sturdy enough to hold your weight. Start in a push-up position with your hands on the elevated platforms. Keep your hips flat, no dropping your hips or raising them up in the air. Look forward and slowly drop down. The idea is that you can drop further down with the platforms, increasing strength through a larger range of motion. You can come back up with more force, but still move slowly enough as to keep from locking out your elbows with too much speed. I would suggest starting with 3 reps of 5.
Patrick Coffey, White Pine Nordic Center Director