Instead of plodding away on the same old piece of cardio equipment all winter long, hit the slopes for some cross-country skiing. You can burn 700-plus calories in a single hour, and push your heart rate into the sweet spot between aerobic and anaerobic zones (an optimal way to burn fat). Pete Swenson, coach of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering team, tells us how to get primed to blaze fresh tracks—and incinerate calories.
Dry-Land Cross-Country Ski Workout
1) Core: Crunch, Reverse Crunch, Hanging Leg Raise, Med Ball Slam & Throw
“A tight core will reduce rotation during push-offs and transfers, and thus maximize your momentum,” Swenson says.
2) Upper Body: Lat Pulldown, Weighted Dip, Bench Press
By focusing on upper-body lifts, you’ll have an advantage for powering your body forward, Swenson explains. “Pro XCskiers have similar builds to swimmers for a reason.”
3) 30 Minutes of Cardio: Treadmill Incline Sprint, Cycling, Rowing, Roller Skiing (advanced)
According to Swenson, cross-country skiing challenges both aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, so you need to prime your heart and lungs with both sprint and steady-state cardio.
The Key to Perfect Form
“Bend slightly at the waist, but don’t lean too heavily on your poles,” Swenson says. “Instead of shuffling forward in small steps, push through your heel to get traction and transfer your weight in one continuous movement onto the ball of your leading foot.”