The best dryland workouts: Harald Østberg Amundsen

The best dryland workouts: Harald Østberg Amundsen

The foundation for success is built well before the snow flies. Check out U23 World Champion Harald Østberg Amundsen’s favorite dryland workouts.

The 23-year-old was named to the Norwegian national A Team after delivering solid results from start to finish last season, including a medal in the 15-kilometer skate at the 2021 FIS Nordic World Championships, his first at the elite level – and the first medal ever won on Madshus’ revolutionary transparent green bases. In 2020, Østberg Amundsen earned no less than four medals at the FIS U23 World Championships, including two gold medals.

Truly an allrounder, Østberg Amundsen is considered one of the hottest candidates for a spot on the team to the 2022 Winter Games, as well as future Tour de Ski champion.

Madshus caught up with the talented young racer about his favorite dryland workouts. A common denominator: Østberg Amundsen likes hard workouts that resemble racing and allow him to work on both tactical and technical elements, and preferably with others who challenge him. In that respect, one type of workouts stands out: Interval sessions on race course-like roller ski trails.

What is your favorite dryland workout?
“I love hard roller ski sessions. One workout that I’m particularly fond of, is a group workout where we do two 35-minute intervals, which means a total of 60 to 70 minutes at higher intensity.”

Why is this a useful workout for cross-country skiers?
“Group workouts like this are really specific both in terms of technique and tactics. If you do them at threshold intensity, you avoid accumulating too much lactic acid and you are able to get a lot of time at higher intensity. That’s why this workout is one of the core sessions in the Norwegian national team training program.”

What is the specific training effect from this workout?
“This workout helps develop muscular endurance and strength due to the amount of time at a higher intensity. Depending on how many intervals you do, you’ll end up at between 50 and 75 minutes of intensity. I used think that 50 minutes was a lot, so this one is challenging my endurance too.”

What does the workout look like, start to finish?
“I start with a solid 30-minute warmup before I start the intervals. I prefer to do the workout as a group, which makes it easier to work on tactical elements and I can practice skiing in a pack at high speed and high intensity. I also like to do these workouts on roller ski trails that resemble the race courses we compete on in the winter. But you can also do the intervals on uphill roads. I usually have very short recovery between intervals, just enough to get sip of my drink belt. After the last interval, I do 20 to 30 minutes of cooldown, which makes the total time for the workout about two hours, start to finish.”

Are there ways to vary this workout?
“Yes, for instance, you could vary the length of the intervals. Instead of my standard 2 x 35 minutes, you can do 6 x10 minutes or 3 x 20 minutes. Either way, I always do the same warmup and cooldown, and about the same 2-minute recovery between intervals.

How often do you do this workout?
“Usually at least once every two weeks, but more often during training camps.”

Harald Østberg Amundsen. Photo: Madshus