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Roller skiing for beginners

Roller skiing for beginners

Roller skiing activates the entire body in a way that only cross-country skiing on snow can match.

You strengthen your arms, stomach, back and legs while training endurance. Here are the best training tips for beginners who want to go roller skiing.

If you are completely new to roller skiing, we recommend that you get equipment that matches your level of activity. Whether you’re going classic or want to try skating roller skis, it’s important that you have the right skis for the right activity.

Classic roller skis have smaller, wider wheels than skate roller skis, and they also have a lock so that they don't roll backwards. This is usually fitted to the rear wheel.

Skate roller skis have a bigger wheel and no lock. Meaning, the wheel can roll in both directions.

Recommended rollerskis

How to start roller skiing

As a beginner on roller skis, it is important to start on asphalt surfaces without car traffic. This can be a flat and clear stretch along a walkway, but perhaps the best is a paved parking lot, schoolyard or similar. The most important thing is that the asphalt is as nice and even as possible.

Many roller ski tracks are too steep for beginners, but parts of the course, preferably in the stadium area or shortest runs, can also be suitable for beginners. Where there are biathlon targets, at least the penalty round will always be flat and well-suited to beginners.

After buying or borrowing the correct roller skis and poles with asphalt spikes, you are ready to find the right place to start roller ski training. There are special ski poles for roller skiing or the option to fit roller ski spikes on the winter poles. Winter ski baskets are not suitable for roller skis.

Keep the weather out

Whether you choose classic skiing or skating, it’s important to keep the center of gravity in the front part of your ski boot when starting up. We call it 'sharpening the knee', i.e. you push the knee forward and don't stand hard on the heel. This is especially important when you have chosen classic skis.

A typical beginner’s mistake is putting most of your weight at the back, which means you fall on your butt because the skis don't move backwards due to the lock. Once you've found your balance, just start moving. The same applies to skiing:

  • Shifting your weight from one leg and then to the other in a diagonal technique. All your weight should be on the front leg. With a ski lock, you will always have grip even without gravity transfer. However, please note that this should be training for the ski season and it is important to use the same technique as in the winter. With the buckle on your winter skis, it is the gravity transfer that gives you a grip.
  • It is then important to remember that your arms should not be too straight. This applies to both diagonal and double poling. Keeping your shoulders low as you push forward provides good pressure on the ground and also helps with gravity transfer.
  • Double poling or poling is the most commonly used technique on roller skis. Here, it's important that you put the spikes on the poles into the asphalt in front of the ski shoes and that you tighten your upper body at the start of the poling, a bit like a sit-up movement. This will activate your entire upper body and not just use the muscles on the back of your arms.
  • A double pole with kick is a great exercise on roller skis and is used when it is too steep to pole and too flat to move diagonally.
  • If you choose skating and skate skiing, the same basic principles apply with “sharpened” knees, bent arms and full gravity transfer. When skating, your nose and knee should always be directly above the ski you are on at all times. Also make sure that your hips don't tilt up and down and are as stable as possible.

Poles and ferrules

How to break while roller skiing?

It's the same principal as when you cross country ski, you plow. Before starting the plow movement, remember to have enough distance between the front wheels. Get as much wheel rubber towards the asphalt and press your heals and back wheels towards the middle.

A different technique is to put one leg 45 degrees behind the front roller ski and break by towing the rear leg behind you.

We recommend also testing and get somewhat comfortable with the emergency break, by riding down into the ditch.

Roller ski exercises for beginners

A great exercise on roller skis for beginners is to ride in a figure of eight in a closed area. Place your drinks belt or bottle and your jacket on the ground, leaving plenty of space on the surface where you are. Then move in figure eights between and around these two objects.

As you gain confidence, shorten the distance between the objects so that the figure eight becomes smaller, the turns become tighter and the technical challenge greater.


Roller skiing while being on busy traffic road can be dangerous. Here's some recommendations you should read before heading out:

  • Always use a helmet and protective eyewear
  • Use clothes with visibility as a reflective vest or clothes made for roller skiing
  • Choose roads with little to no traffic
  • Train in areas you know, with flat roads, few crossroads and no heavy turns
  • Go in the same direction as the traffic if there's no sidewalk
  • Use your body to give proper and understandable signals to others
  • Focus on your technique
  • Don't use headphones with music. Listen to the traffic.

Stay safe.