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Workout of the Week: Core strength with a friend
By: Brian Suke (2006/09/28)
Workout Type: Strength
Exertion Level: Hard
Skier Level: Intermediate
Technique: N/A
Season: Dryland
Terrain: Flats

Suggested Trails:

Equipment: Stability ball and medicine ball (or something heavy)


This workout is designed to maintain some of the key muscles used in skiing and to develop a strong core. The dynamic movements and balance inherent to cross country skiing requires not only strong muscles to execute the movements effectively but also good core strength to maintain balance and efficiency among the various techniques.

Several of these exercises involve a partner so be sure to encourage each other as you sweat through the repetitions. The exercises can be combined in any order, but it is best to try and alternate muscle groups. I often pair exercises, for example an abdominal and arm exercise, then alternate between them three times before moving to the next pair of exercises. When choosing the number of repetitions of each exercise ensure that you can do a minimum of 8 reps and then continue with the exercise for a set number of reps, a set time period or until failure of form. It is very important that you stop when form deteriorates to avoid injury. If you do five or six pairs of exercises (10-12 total) you should find the workout takes at least 40 minutes.

For the warm up a light 20min jog is fine but Ive found that if you have access to a gym the rowing machines are the most effective warm up tool.


Partner push-ups partners set up at right angles to each other and with one placing their feet on the others upper back. Proceed to do simultaneous push ups then switch feet position.

Russian twists lie with upper back on a medicine ball, bench or have your partner hold your feet as you raise your back slightly off the ground. Hold a medicine ball straight out from your chest and rotate slowly from side to side.

Partner crunches while lying on your back have your partner kneel at right angles to your legs and place your calves on their back. As you do crunches they will do fire-hydrant leg raises

Partner dips partner A assumes a squat position with eyes looking straight ahead and back vertical. Partner B places their hands on As quads just above the knee and does dips.

Leg throw-downs partner A stands with legs shoulder width apart while partner B lays on their back, head between As legs and hands firmly gripping As ankles. B raises their legs, knees unflexed towards As chest with force. A pushes Bs legs back towards the ground either to the right, left or straight ahead. B should attempt to not allow their feet to touch the ground before raising them back to As chest.

Medicine ball superman passes - both partners lay face down on the floor facing each other with their hands out in front of them and their lower legs raised in the air (i.e. in the superman position), they pass the medicine ball back and forth, not letting the ball touch the ground.

Medicine ball sit-up partners lie in crunch position facing each other and do simultaneous sit-ups, passing the ball back and forth with each sit-up

Back extensions with your face towards the ground place the stability ball under the thighs and pelvic region so that the chest is unsupported, have a partner secure your ankles or place the soles of your feet against a wall for stability. Lower your chest towards the floor then rise up to a horizontal position. Do not hyperextend the lower back at the end of the up phase.

Leg raises in various directions, plank sets and push-ups are also easily incorporated into this workout.


If there are certain exercises you enjoy more than others feel free to do them more often in your circuits to keep the enjoyment level high, but be sure to try and insert some variety among sessions

More Workout Suggestions . . .
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