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It is necessary to incorporate the principle of specificity of training into your life when you want to become a better athlete, for example to become a better runner, you should run, or to get better at soccer, you need to practice soccer. But there are also times when you need to expand your repitoire in order to progress.
Doing the same movements everyday may lead to burnout, over use injuries, and possibly an actual decrease in performance. Cross train with cross country skiing in order to build muscles and bring a new enjoyment to your workouts. It allows you to take a break from repetitive movements while working on your balance and continuing to build a strong aerobic base.
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Cross training with cross country skiing is a way to increase your aerobic capabilities. Skiing involves your entire body, upper and lower, which means it requires more oxygen than running. Runners who supplement their training with cross country skiing can increase their lung capacity, ultimately improving their running.
The rhythmic motion combined with the need to push and pull using your entire body makes cross country skiing one of the best ways to build cardiovascular capacity. If you are unable to get outside, an indoor ski machine is a viable option.
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Before strapping on the skis, you can work on building your strength with core training, upper body exercises, and lunges. Cross training with cross country skiing will do a lot of that work for you, but if you are out of shape, or rarely use the muscles in your upper body, it is wise to strengthen the unused muscles first.
Pullover machines or simple pushups will help build the muscles you will need to propel yourself forward with poles. Sit ups, planks, and other yoga moves can help you maintain proper form throughout a session of cross country skiing by building your core. Forward lunges, accomplished by stepping forward with one foot, bending deeply at the kneww, then rising back up to a standing position, will help strengthen leg muscles and help you gauge your balance.
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Stretching often will help your cross training efforts. It is necessary to assume several different positions that may not come naturally to you in other exercises or sports. Throw some yoga moves into the mix and your body will be better prepared to handle the range of motion necessary in cross country skiing.
Flexibility training is often undervalued. Athletes can help prevent injuries by maintaining their flexibility. Cross country skiing requires both body awareness and a relaxed form which can both be increased by sessions of stretching.
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Cross Country Skier Magazine - http://www.crosscountryskier.com/
Hal Higdon's Beginning Skier's Guide - http://www.halhigdon.com/beginningskier/beginskiintro.htm