Train strength like Anders Aukland

Ski veteran Anders Aukland shares his best tips on strength training for skiers.

At the time of writing, there are several major ski races just around the corner, among them Vasaloppet and Birken.

Therefore, it was appropriate to invite long-distance skiing veteran Anders Aukland to the podcast Skisporet, to get tips and advice on how to go far and fast on skis.

Practice combination sessions

Among other things, Aukland talks about how he incorporates strength exercises in combination with skiing and roller skiing sessions.

This is something he believes exercisers can also benefit from doing.

Read also: Northug's training tips

– You don't have to spend an hour and a half in a gym to ski fast. If you have had a full working day first, and then have to choose what you have time to train, a couple of specific strength exercises just before – or right after – a cardio session, a couple of times a week, will only take an extra quarter of an hour but give a lot, says the skier who among other things has victory in Vasaloppet on his merit list.


Veteran: Anders Aukland has said that the 22/23 season is his last as an elite runner. He is then 50 years old. Photo: Nordic Focus.

Also check out the Swix Triac 4.0 Aero, the ski poles preferred by Anders Aukland and the rest of the ski elite.

Train strength like Anders Aukland

When it comes to strength training, he focuses specifically on two exercises: straight arm pull-downs and hangups.

If you drop these, it will be a tough day at Vasaloppet or other long races, says the ski legend.

"Whether you're going to go on blank skis or not, you get a lot in return for staking well. And if you then struggle to take ten hangups, then it goes without saying that it stops in the musculature. That's why you have to train strength," he points out.

Read also: Why staking sessions must be included in the training program.

Don't forget to train your legs

Although the veteran stands for hours with stationary legs in the Swedish forests, he also focuses on classic strength exercises such as deadlifts and squats. 

"The point is not to get very strong at these exercises, but to get the whole system going. In squats, you use both abdominal and stabilization muscles, among other things," he says.


Set prepared: Vasaloppet can be too heavy for most people without proper training beforehand.

Anders Aukland's tips for strength training against Vasaloppet

Aukland says his own strength training looks pretty similar throughout the year. From May and until the season begins in the fall, he trains strength 2-3 times a week.

Then there will be more focus on certain drills when the fall comes, which he runs heavily. Max 5 repetitions. 

Read our guide to cross-country jackets and trousers.

Before Vasaloppet, his advice for anyone who wants to go fast is to prioritize the exercises sit-ups, hangups and drawdowns.

"Then I would do a round of slightly different sit-ups exercises, like hanging on a pole and lifting up my legs to activate both abdominal and hip flexors.

Next, I recommend heavy series of deadlifts and squats. 

Hangups as the big test

Plus, he puts in what he calls super-pump sessions. Where the focus is on breaking down the body. Then he takes as many hangups as he can spread over 10 series. Where each new set starts every minute. 

"It's going to be pretty hard to do 100 hangups in 10 minutes. At the same time, it is important not to overload the musculature.

If you manage this, you have a greater prerequisite for being able to stake the whole of Vasaloppet without cracking because of your arms. If you crack the third, fourth series, you'll probably crack in the Vasa as well," he said.

Listen to the full episode with Anders Aukland in the podcast Skisporet here or watch it on Youtube: