Fitness for Cross-Country Skiing

In addition to the high level of technical skill required to compete in cross-country skiing, to be a successful athlete you need exceptional aerobic endurance, upper body strength, balance and coordination! Our analysis of 12 factors found that the most important is aerobic fitness, strength and a strong will.

Cross-country skiing events can last from a few minutes up to several hours - therefore depending on the event, a high level of speed endurance or aerobic endurance is required. For most competitors, it is the high level of aerobic fitness that sets them apart. Cross-country skiers have recorded many of the highest ever VO2max scores. In the off season, competitors may maintain their fitness using roller skis, conducted on tarmac roads with athletes wearing roller skis.

The sport has many similarities to distance running, though compared to runners, skiers also require good upper body strength. Arm strength is even more important with today's faster skis, which require more force to be generated from the upper body. This is particularly true in classic skiing which uses a lot of double-poling action.

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