Monday, May 11, 2009

Strength for the Nordic skier by Matt Liebsch

Matt Liebsch is a member of the CXC Elite cross country ski team and a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BS in Electrical Engineering. He is an Olympic hopeful and had a very successful 2009 season… 3rd Place at US Nationals, Mora Vasaloppet winner and American Birkebeiner Champion. When Matt is not training and racing he is helping out at Gear West or spending time with his wife and one-year-old son.

It's that time of year… everyone wants to get their beach muscles in shape. This is true for the causal individual and serious skiers alike. It is a great time of year to work on overall toning and conditioning. Skiers tend to get muscle imbalances from doing too much ski specific activity over the winter so working neglected muscle is essential.

Strength can be as simple as doing some pushups, sit-ups and crunches, or as complicated as Single-Leg Good Mornings and Romanian Dead-Lifts. It is important for skiers to remember that the goal in strength training is to get faster at ski racing. Putting on 10lbs of muscle will probably not help you ski faster but getting stronger without excessive weight gain will translate to skiing faster and a higher level of injury prevention. A common question I get is… "How strong is strong enough for skiing?" I had a very good ski coach once tell me "If you can do 10 pull-ups you are probably strong enough to ski." This is a bit overly simplistic but I think a very true statement.

If you have some questions about the kind of exercises to do for skiing I would recommend looking at on how to incorporate strength into a training plan for skiers.

Train hard, train smart