'Superman' strength can improve your cross-country ski technique

It takes strength to cross-country ski.

In a four-part, weekly series, Stephanie Howe demonstrates important exercises that cross-country skiers can do at home. The exercises target muscles groups that are specific to cross-country skiing and that don't get used much in other activities. Strengthening these muscles before and throughout ski season can improve technique and help prevent injury.

Howe has a Ph.D. in exercise physiology, coaches running and cross-country skiing and is an elite cross-country skier with XC Oregon.

Week 4: Superman

Start by lying on your stomach, arms and legs outstretched.

For beginners or anyone with back problems, lift the head, the right arm and left leg toward the sky, engaging the back muscles. (For more of a challenge, lift both arms and both legs simultaneously.) Slowly raise the lower body to the point of fatigue, rest, and repeat two more times.

This will strengthen core and lower back muscles that help power the double poling action in cross-country skiing, as well as protect the back from common injuries.

— Anne Aurand, The Bulletin

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