Drawing of Nordic skier skating, Done by alumus Rebecca Watson

University of Wyoming Nordic Skiing

Training Zones / Basic Endurance / Natural Intervals / Natural Ladder Intervals / Strength Workout / Training Logs and Information / Rollerboard

Training Zones:

Individual Training Zones will be determined the first practice in the fall.

There are many different interpretations of training zones but for the purposes of our team the following system has been adopted:

  • Zone 1: 60%-70% of Max Heart Rate: Develops basic endurance and aerobic capacity, recovery workouts, burns fat, allows your muscles to re-energize.
  • Zone 2: 70%-80% of Max Heart Rate: Develops cardiovascular system, enhances the bodies ability to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide. Most distance races are in this zone, this is why when you do a race longer than 5km cooling down becomes less important e.g. there is not as much lactic acid buildup.
  • Zone 3: 80%-90% of Max Heart Rate: Body relies predominantly on stored carbohydrates. Aerobic metabolism can no longer keep up with the body's needs, this means build-up of lactic acid. With enhanced fitness level (from training in zones 1 & 2) your body becomes better able to clear lactic acid. This includes speed work of 10-20 minutes. Long intervals and short races or time-trials.
  • Zone 4: 90%-100% of Max Heart Rate: Trains fast-twitch muscles and develops speed. This includes intervals of 5 min or shorter.
Max HR
Zone 4
Zone 3
Zone 2
Zone 1


Basic Endurance:

If you have a heart-rate monitor you want to use it for this one. You want to be in Zone 2 for the time indicated. For those of you unfamiliar with that term you want your heart rate to be roughly between 150-160. Basic endurance is going too hard to talk but not as hard as an interval, it's pace work. You should have no trouble doing the entire time at the same pace. This takes some practice if you don't have a HR monitor. Just give it a try and hang in there.

Natural Intervals

Natural intervals mean that you do your intervals as you do a run. So... You leave on a running loop and after you've warmed up for 20-30 minutes you do the first interval. You try to do your intervals on uphills, so the length of the interval varies with the length of the hill. You may do a hill that is 30 seconds or you may do a hill that is 3 minutes, it doesn't matter just run the uphill from the bottom all the way OVER the top. Try to vary the length of the hill (don't do these all on one hill) and do between 5-8 intervals throughout the loop. Once you've finished the first interval you run easy for a few minutes, until you are recovered (bring your HR down to Zone 1 or below 150), and then you start the next one. You want to pick a loop that has some uphills and downhills You also want to leave at least 15 minutes of running for a cool down at the end.

You want the loop to last between 1 and 1:30 hours, depending upon your Pepper and what the hours are for the week.

Natural Ladder Intervals

The #'s in the "ladder" indicate minutes so if it says 1-2-3-2-1 you will do intervals of 1 min-2min-3min-2min-1min

You do the same workout as the Natural Intervals except you have a set time for each interval so you sometimes end up going uphill AND downhill. This is done mostly on skis and rollerskis. You want to pick a loop that has some uphills and downhills and you do the intervals over whatever you run into for that amount of time. You also want to leave at least 15 minutes of running for a cool down at the end.

Strength Workout (Circut):

During the spring and early summer it is fine for skiers to do "beach" training, lifting weights at low reps. However, in the fall and winter it is important to move to ski specific strength, as my Norwegian coach used to say, "Do a real man's workout, anyone can lift a weight 3 or 4 times but can you do pull-ups for a minute without stopping, that's what's important!" With this in mind we recommend what is called a ski circuit. We would recommend doing this at least once a week. If you want to get really tough then do one of your distance days double poling on roller skis/roller blades.

The way a ski circuit is done is to do each exercise for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds then do it again and then move to the next exercise. This circuit can be done anywhere and the exercises can vary but the format should stay the same. Following is the order that the exercises should be done in. If you change the exercises try to alternate the arms, legs and the stomach. You go through each exercise twice and the whole circuit twice. For example pull-ups 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, pull-ups 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, crunches 30s, rest 30s, crunches 30s,......... You continue this way until you finish the leg lifts then you start again at the beginning with pull-ups.

  1. Pull-ups- it is important to try to do quantity (do it for the entire 30 seconds) so it's very helpful to have a friend to hold your feet so you can do more with better quality. If you are strong enough to do these for the whole 30 seconds on your own then you don't need a partner.
  2. Side-to-side Jumps- Make sure you are balanced then concentrate on kicking off quickly. Try to use your arms like you would if you were doing double-dance (V2)
  3. Crunches- don't come all the way up, to a sitting position, remember to keep and orange under your chin, and don't get in a hurry (it's actually a lot harder to do these slow than fast). Rachel is up as far as you need to go!
  4. Side Doggies- Start on your hands and knees. Now take your right let and move it straight up at the side, like a dog peeing on a hydrant!. Do this for 30 seconds on the right and then 30 seconds on the left.
  5. Push-ups- Try to keep your elbows next to your body, this uses more of your triceps (poling muscles). Once again being able to do the exercises for the entire 30 seconds is important so if you need to do push-ups on your knees that's alright.
  6. Back Doggies- These are a little complicated: start on your hands and knees. Now take one arm and touch it to the opposite leg, then extend your arm and your leg. You just want to lift them until they're flat, don't arch your back. You can do the first 30 seconds on one side and then the second on the other or you can do 2 touches in a row and switch sides.
  7. Side Rubber Bands: Get your exercize bands and attach one end to a stationary object, like a bar. Stand with one side facing the bar and place one had on it. Take the opposite leg (if right hand then use left leg), attach the band to this foot. Then pull that leg sideways away from the wall. The band should be tight enough that it provides some resistence.
  8. Bench dips: Nothing too exciting here, just put your feet in front of you and lift your body weight up and down. Your legs can be bent or straight.
  9. Classic Lunges- make sure you balance on each foot and then concentrate on driving your foot forward and balancing on that foot.
  10. Side crunches-same as the crunches except facing sideways
  11. Exercise bands or excergenie- Try to get an appropriate ski motion.If you ar using an excergenie (below) you have to do your arms separately, if you get exercise bands (giant rubber bands) you do both arms at once but DON'T bend at the waist and use your stomach, this is an arm workout! If you don't have these be creative, anything that simulates ski poling is fine. It is possible to buy the giant rubber bands at a hospital supply store (there's one in town)
  12. Over Bench- Find a bench or a stump or rock. Put one foot on top of the bench. Jump up onto the object. While on the bench switch feet and go down on the other side of the bench. Use your arms as you would in double-dance (V2)
  13. Parachuttes- Lie on your stomach and then try to pick up your head, arms and legs (don't bend your legs at the knees) Just like the crunches don't get in a hurry, do these slowly.

  14. Side to Side and leg lifts- do the first 30 seconds side-to-side and the second with leg lifts

For more information contact: uwski@yahoo.com

University of Wyoming

UW Club Sports

University of Wyoming
Nordic Ski Club
Christi Boggs
Dept. 3274
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071

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Last Updated: June 29, 2007

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