How Do Cross-Country Skiers Ensure Optimum Performance?

Few other sports require both upper and lower body strength to the extent that is needed in cross-country skiing. Almost every major muscle group is utilized during this form of sporting activity. It is little surprise that many athletes and sports professionals recognize that cross-country skiing is one of the most demanding sports in terms of both endurance and strength. The only other sport that requires almost continuous high-level aerobic activity for extended periods is football (or “soccer” as it is known in America).

Put simply, cross-country skiers need to be in peak physical fitness to allow them to compete, even at an amateur level in the sport. In this article, the focus is on how such athletes perform at their optimum levels consistently. Specific areas will be discussed, from training and dietary requirements that promote optimum performance to a brief explanation of how cross-country skiers deal with serious injuries.

The Ideal Diet


Cross-country skiing is extremely demanding on the body. It is estimated that a cross-country skier will burn approximately 506 calories per hour when undertaking the sport. However, the exact number of calories will vary depending on the body weight of the individual. Due to the high energy requirements of this sport, it is of paramount importance that cross-country skiers consume a diet that contains high levels of complex carbohydrates. Pasta, bread, and potato-based dishes are rich in carbohydrates and provide the fuel that the body and muscles need during training and competition.

In addition, there is a need for athletes to stay adequately hydrated. The nature of the sport is such that it takes place in cold environments. This can make it harder to recognize when dehydration is occurring. Ensure that you take sufficient water or isotonic beverages when undertaking the sport, as dehydration can dramatically reduce your athletic performance. Click here for more information on the nutritional requirements for athletes in this sport.

Dealing with Serious Injuries


It is recognized that cross-country skiing puts tremendous strain on the body’s muscles and bones. Over time, this can lead to musculoskeletal problems developing. In addition, in some circumstances, the athlete may be injured when traversing a cross-country course or training on technical sections of a route that include differences in elevation. Occasionally, serious injuries can be sustained in this sport that may include spinal injuries and serious strains to muscle groups. In these circumstances, it is vital to seek specialist treatment centers such as those that can be found at In terms of serious spinal injuries, new treatments that incorporate stem cell therapies may be used to improve outcomes and have the best chance of regaining full fitness levels.

If you have suffered serious injuries because of cross-country skiing, it is of paramount importance that you seek the best healthcare establishments that have specialist skills and knowledge in this field. Speak to trainers or professional skiers to build a list of suitable healthcare providers. Put simply, advanced treatments are available in this field, and specialist centers can give you the best chance to recover from serious injuries and continue to enjoy the sport.

The Importance of Rest


Every human being requires adequate rest, relaxation, and sufficient sleep. This is a vital process that allows the body and mind to recover from the stresses and strains of both mental and physical exertion that take place during the day. Experts recommend that an average human adult should aim to have a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. For most people, this should be considered as an absolute minimum to ensure the continued healthy functioning of the individual. However, sleep requirements vary from person to person, and some people will require extra sleep each night to function at their best. In terms of cross-country skiers, these athletes will be placing increased demands on their bodies during training, exercise, and competition. As a direct result of this, there may be a need to benefit from additional hours of sleep each night. Recent research suggests that elite athletes (such as professional cross-country skiers) should aim to get around nine hours of sleep each night. This extra time will allow the body to recover more effectively from the extreme levels of exertion that are placed upon it in this sport. For athletes, this can allow them to react faster and have improved levels of endurance when training and competing. It can be wise to speak to a sports science specialist or a medical professional with expertise in this field. Depending on your level of competition and training routine, it may be beneficial to consider increasing your hours of sleep based on the latest medical and scientific advice.

Bespoke Training Regimes


Cross-country skiing places some extreme demands on the bodies of athletes. Leg strength is vitally important for allowing significant distances to be covered at speed, and upper body strength is also prioritized in this sport. Few other activities have such high requirements for sustained endurance levels, and the need for elite levels of cardiovascular fitness is vital if you wish to compete at the highest levels in this sport. Due to the physical demands that are placed on cross-country skiers, it is incredibly important to undertake a rigorous and bespoke training regime that builds strength and endurance in key areas. If you are part of a cross-country skiing team, your team trainer will likely have already set up an exercise program that allows you to improve as an athlete. However, if you are relatively new to the sport or not part of a team, you may be required to develop your training routines. Key exercises can include side lunges and stepping, which build your thigh strength. In addition, Maltese push-ups can help you to develop improved arm and upper body strength which is vital in the sport. Plank exercises can strengthen your core and upper body whilst also improving your balance. Speak to other cross-country skiers for advice on their training routines, and aim to create an exercise plan that you can build upon as your strength and cardiovascular fitness develops and improves.