This Week's Balance Challenge
Weekly Free Challenge:
Each week we select one free balance drill video for your enjoyment
👉 Make balance practice a habit. Bookmark this page and practice daily or a few times a week. The link changes every Sunday at midnight. Currently there are 16 videos in the collection, all less than 2 minutes.
👉 These balance drills are free for everyone. Please share the link to this page with your ski friends and on your social media accounts.
👉 The full collection of balance drills is here: Balance Exercises for Nordic Skiers >>
Why is Balance Important for Cross-Country Skiers?
Cross country skiers are keen to improve their single leg balance because most classic and skate techniques have phases where the skier should be only have one ski on the ground at a time.
Balance is even challenging in double pole technique, where both feet stay on the ground, because the skier needs to bring her weight forward at the start of the pole push so more of the pushing force goes in the backwards direction.
The need to balance on one leg with your weight forward isn’t the only reason balance is challenging in cross-country skiing. The skis are narrow and flexed like a giant spring which raises your centre of mass and contributes to the instability.
Not only that, but the skis are sliding underfoot, challenging your balance in the fore and aft directions.
How to Improve Your Balance for Cross-Country Skiing
The Specificity Principle tells us that, to develop ski specific balance, you’ll need to ski or roller ski. Anything else will be different enough that it won’t have a direct benefit to skiing.
So rather than worrying about “ski specific” balance, think bigger and aim to build broad balance skills. Can you balance in a variety of positions with your joints at many different angles? Can you balance in static positions and while dynamically shifting your weight?
Pay attention to your posture and alignment. The measure of “good” balance is ease. If you have to consciously “engage” certain muscles, it is really easy and natural?
Your breath is a good measure of how well you are doing. If you can remain steady while breathing easily, you are working in a good range. If you find yourself holding your breath, make the drill a little easier.
About the Nordic Ski Lab Balance Drills
During the planning phase of this project we realized there’s no shortage of free balance exercises online. To our minds, the real challenge for most people is to make balance practice a daily habit.
That’s why our priority was to make these exercises fun, quick and easy to do – anywhere, anytime. You can do these drills in your street clothes and they need little to no equipment.
Regressions & Progressions
Most of the exercises offer options to make balance easier or more challenging but you can apply the following principles to make most any balance drill easier or harder.
Options to make a balance exercise easier:
- Do some light stretching before starting, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time sitting.
- Broaden your base of support by lightly holding a chair or touching down one foot.
- Fix your gaze on a point on the horizon.
Options to make a balance exercise harder:
- Stand on the ball of your foot.
- Scan the horizon with your eyes.
- Close your eyes.
- Stand on an unstable surface, like some folded towels or a cushion.
- Any combination of the above.
What’s Your Favourite Balance Drill?
If we can expand this collection of drills, they won’t repeat as often, keeping things fresh and fun for everyone.
Do you want to contribute a video or favourite drill idea? Review our current collection of balance drills to make sure you aren’t repeating something that’s already been done, then contact Kim for more information on how to contribute.