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Get Ready for Nordic Skiing! Muffy Ritz’s Top Tips

BAM! Just like that, winter makes its debut. And now that the white stuff has arrived, we could be back on skis in a matter of weeks. Adding sport-specific training to your workout routine NOW will ensure a better start to your cross-country ski season. Competitive skier and coach Muffy Ritz offers the following advice:

Improve your balance with a daily dose of one-legged activities. For example, stand on one leg while brushing your teeth and waiting in line at the grocery store. Balancing on one leg, hinge at the waist and touch the ground 10 times; switch legs and repeat.

To build muscular strength, do exercises focusing on your upper body and core 2 to 3 times a week. For your core, try plank and side plank: 

Lift one leg 12 inches and hold for 5 seconds. Bring leg out to side and circle 10 times. Lift opposite leg and repeat. Hold plank 1 to 2 minutes total.

Side Plank
Get in a side plank position with your weight resting on your arm or elbow. Lift upper arm straight up and hold. Lift and lower upper leg 10 times. Dip hips toward floor 10 times.

Proper form will help you get the most of each workout while minimizing your risk of injury. So slow down and make sure you’re doing each exercise correctly.

Do 1 or 2 long (1- to 3-hour) easy aerobic workouts per week. Grab ski poles and hike a hilly trail, using your arms to push back.

Intensity is critical to boosting your fitness level; strengthening tendons, ligaments and muscles; and increasing aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Aim for 1 to 2 short hard interval workouts a week.

Work your muscles as they would move in your sport. Hiking uphill with ski poles mimics classic Nordic skiing, while hill bounding with poles mimics uphill classic. Roller skiing also is great for both skate and classic, and the Ski Erg machine will help prepare you for double poling.

Recovery from training is mandatory. Take at least ONE day OFF per week!

Eat clean–more veggies, less meat, recommends Muffy. Or, in the words of Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Now through November 20, join Muffy Ritz, our fabulous Zenergy staff and the Sun Valley Gold Team for Winter Sport (Ski) Conditioning! Tuesdays (5:30-6:25pm) and Fridays (8:00-8:55am) at Zenergy. Free to Members. Non-members welcome with a drop-in rate of $15/session. Click HERE to sign up!

Since 1978, Muffy Ritz has skied competitively for the University of Colorado (All American), the U.S. Ski Team, and the Rossignol Nordic Team. She’s a two-time winner of the legendary American Birkebeiner. In 1996, she founded the VAMPS master’s cross-country ski program with just four women. It has since grown to 140. Says Muffy, “I love to challenge people to reach their potential by encouraging them to do things they didn’t think they could do!”