During my first summer in Park City I have enjoyed an incredible season of mountain biking and trail running, but as the temperatures start slipping lower and lower I can feel myself getting excited about the prospect of Nordic skiing. While I may be mentally ready to ski, there is that question of whether or not my body is physically ready.
Balance, coordination and body awareness need to come back into your arms and legs during those first few times out on the Nordic ski track. Having good core strength is the key to making this happen quickly. Without a solid core it is more difficult to coordinate our limbs and to get them where they need to go, in as relaxed a fashion as possible. Something crucial to both classic and skate ski techniques.
This blog will show you three exercises intended to increase core strength, balance, and body awareness. These exercises can be done in your bedroom, living room or office. Knock ‘em out while watching Monday Night Football, or while you’re waiting for your morning coffee to brew. What is important with these Nordic skiing exercises is not how many repetitions you can do, but doing only as many as you can with the proper technique. Poor technique will give you diminishing returns no matter how many reps you can bang out.
1) Crusher Sit-Ups
I’ll say it once more, technique is key! What I love about these sit-ups is that eight of them can make your stomach feel like you just did 100 traditional sit-ups, so don’t expect to do too many at first. Move slowly in order to feel that you are going through the motion correctly. I would suggest doing 3 sets of 5-8 reps to start over the first week. It may take a few days to feel it in your abdominal muscles, so don’t go crazy right off the bat.
2) Windshield Wipers
This exercise is meant to complement the Crusher Sit-Ups. This motion will work your lower and outer abdominal muscles as opposed to your “six pack” abs. Move slowly, and be sure to only do as many reps as you can with good technique. Let your feet get as close to the ground as you can without resting them on the floor. Turning your head in the opposite direction of your feet will also give you a nice stretch down your spine, and increase flexibility.
3) Lunges With(out) A Twist!
This exercise will work on core strength, balance, and body control. Moving slowly will increase the level of difficulty. Be sure to keep your back straight, lift your chest up and forward, and keep your elbows back. There is quite a bit of stretching going on with proper technique. Start on flat feet, but for increased difficulty try to stand back up on to the ball of your foot. If this becomes easy, try this exercise while standing on a slightly elevated platform (6-8 inches off the ground). Still not enough? The next level is to do this exercise while standing on a pillow.
Patrick Coffey, White Pine Nordic Center Director