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Endurance Training: Cross-Country Skiing

Build your lungs and legs for better cross-country skiing this winter.

Apart from being an amazing cardio workout, crosscountry skiing is a great test of strength and endurance. Maximize your ability to burn calories and turn your body into a human snowplow by following this routine for six weeks before your ski trip—requiring only a few tweaks to your current program.

Every Day

Perform some ab work and be sure to train all your core movement patterns each week. For example, you can do leg raises on Monday, sit-ups Tuesday, side bends Wednesday, and cable woodchops on Thursday. Ride a bike as much as possible, too. It activates the same muscles (as the striding) used in cross-country skiing.

The Works-Forever Routine >>>

Monday and Friday

* upper-body days

Add partial-rep dips to your upper-body workouts. Suspend yourself over the parallel bars and bend your elbows about 15 to 20 degrees (keep the tension on your triceps and don't let your shoulders do the work). Straighten your elbows forcefully and hold the contraction for a second. Do three sets of 8–12 reps. Make sure you also do either a cable row or dumbbell row to further augment your back training. Afterward, or later in the day, go to a hill that's about 25 yards long. Side shuffle (step one leg out and then bring the trailing one in next to it) up the hill. Do five reps on each side, and add one rep each week when you repeat the workout.

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Tuesday and Thursday

* lower-body days

1. Squat
Work up to a five-rep max, then reduce the weight 20 pounds and perform five sets of five with that load.

2. Dumbbell Lunge
Reps: 20

3. Leg Abduction
Sets: 3 Reps: 50
Use the leg abductor machine (yes, the one the girls use—you won't regret it) and press your knees outward.

4. Leg Adduction
Sets: 3 Reps: 50
Squeeze your knees together.

5. 45-Degree Back Extension
Sets: 3 Reps: 10
Each week, add reps. In Week 2, do 12 reps; in Week 3, 15 reps. Then 18 reps and 20 reps. In the sixth week, restart the program with four sets.

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