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Cross-training with Nordic walking

This is an excerpt from Nordic Walking for Total Fitness eBook by Suzanne Nottingham & Alexandra Jurasin.

The following cross-training programs follow ACSM guidelines. They include training for cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as agility and plyometric drills. They are recommended for cross-country skiers, cyclists, and runners as an addition to or an alternative to their typical training regimes. Each has a different theme. All three programs are presented in four-week cycles, and possess similar qualities of fitness:

1. The cardiorespiratory system is the primary beneficiary of your effort.

2. Drills to enhance upper-body strength are prevalent to produce muscle balance and prevent injuries.

3. Efficient and rhythmic forward movements are used to increase intensity.

4. Energetic routines, including boot-camp, freestyle, and flow workouts provide full-body training.

Cross-Country Skiing Program:

A Perfect Compliment

Nordic walking is the closest specific match to cross-country skiing in terms of movement and equipment. After all, Nordic walking was invented by cross-country skiers. The main difference is terrain! Snow and high altitudes also add resistance, making cross-country skiing the more intense of the two sports. If you are a skier, Nordic walking can complement your skills and enhance your energy systems.

Another major difference between the two sports is glide time, which doesn’t take place in Nordic walking. There are no short delays in movement like during a skier’s glide phase. At the end of each stride, cross-country skiers glide forward on the snow, giving muscles of the upper and lower body a momentary break. These few seconds also give skiers time to follow through on the back swing, releasing the poles completely. Skiers who try Nordic walking should work on lengthening their stride to make time for the release. This process takes time, and may produce injuries to the groin and lower back if you are not careful. Concentrate on passively releasing the pole by simply relaxing your hand as it passes by your hip.

General Program Design

Objective: Ease the transition from land to snow with this preseason dry-land routine. As the RPE and distance increase, focus on building strength and cardiorespiratory endurance.

Frequency: Five or six times per week

Intensity: Moderate to fast

Time (average): 60 to 75 minutes per workout

This is an excerpt from Nordic Walking for Total Fitness by Suzanne Nottingham.