Crazy Forward Body Lean [Video]

Featured-Image-FBLIt’s Worse Than You Thought

You know forward body lean is important in cross-country skiing, but your mind plays tricks on you. It’s so worried you’ll fall, it makes you think you’re leaning in more than you really are.

We see this over and over again. There’s a huge gap between people’s perception of how far forward think they are and the reality.

It doesn’t just take practice to develop the forward body lean you see in expert cross-country skiers. It also takes the confidence of knowing you’re on the right track and aren’t leaning in too much. Sometimes having someone take a video of you skiing is all it takes to reassure you that you aren’t “too far forward”.

Your brain will need a lot of convincing that it’s the right thing to do. The best way to do this is to challenge yourself. Big gains are made when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and try new things. This is especially true when striving to develop a forward body position.

(Transcript provided below the video for our international visitors.)

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“Forward Body Lean” Transcript


We consider Forward Body Lean one of the fundamental elements that underlies expert or advanced cross-country ski technique. In the video I’m going to talk about what we mean by “forward body lean”, explain how it assists you in skiing more efficiently, show you some examples of forward body lean in action, then I’ll wind up with a tip or some advice abut how you can get some more forward body lean into your own skiing.


To should you what we mean by “forward body lean”, I’m going to tart by getting into the athletic position. I drop my hips straight down, press my knees forward over the balls of my feet, and kind of round out and loosen out my upper body.

So the weights on the balls of my feet right now, but I’m going to take it further forward by just leaning in. I want that lean to come from my ankles. I don’t want to come from the ankles. I don’t want it to come from bowing at the waist, because I want to keep my weight forward. By keeping our weight forward, you can basically just allow yourself to fall forward along the trail, which is a super efficient way to ski.


When you’re skiing, obviously, you need to be able to push with your legs. You can’t push off a straight leg. You need to have flexion in your legs. The other thing about keeping this stance, with this deep ankle flexion is that it’s a loose, comfortable, responsive, dynamic position that you can ski from.

You can respond to changes where you might lose your balance, or you want to push off a little harder. Whereas, if I was in a squat position, sitting back like this (which is something you’ll see a lot in skate skiers), then you can feel the difference. If you try this out, you’ll feel how your quads are stressed, and you’re not as responsive and able to ski as dynamically. That’s another one of the reasons that forward body lean and athletic stance are so important.


The last pint I want to make about forward body lean and why it’s so useful to incorporate into your skiing, is because when I’m in this position, this relaxed athletic position, and I’m tipped forward a little bit, I can basically extend y body and compress my body as I work my way through different strides.


You can do it especially in One Skate (V2). That’s where you can really see that extension and compression. But it’s an element that you’ll find in most cross-country ski techniques. What it allows you to do is add the weight of your body, of your entire mass, to either your leg push, and, or our pole push.

So you definitely want to get into that position and start to experiment with  that expansion and compression.


Here’s just a few short clips of race footage, where you can see Forward Body Lean in action and see how it’s important in both skate and classic skiing.


Hopefully now you’re convinced you of the importance of Forward Body Lean in cross-country skiing and you’re thinking you’d like to get a little more lean happening in your own technique. So the main message that I have for you regarding forward body lean is that it’s way more extreme than you think.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, just stand up and relax your knees so you’re a little bit flexed, close your eyes and just fall forward forward like a centimetre or two. Just let your weight shift a centimetre of two forward. You’ll notice that you have this feeling of being really far forward, even though it’s just a tiny movement.


The same thing happens when you’re skiing. Your perception of how far you’re forward compared to the reality of how far you are forward are like two different worlds. So go out, push yourself, really try to extend your lean. If you’re confused about how you’re doing, have a friend take a video of you and you’ll probably be surprised by how great you look as you try to lean more and more into your whatever technique you’re working on.


Hope that helps and if you want to learn more about cross-country skiing visit our website,

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