For many of us, that winter chill in the air can only mean one thing — ski and snowboard season is right around the corner.
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced rider, the first day on the mountain can often be a humbling experience, leaving your body sore and exhausted. In our haste for fresh powder, it’s easy to forget the vigorous demands a day on the slopes brings. Why not make this the year you prepare for it?
While a traditional strength and cardio conditioning program is important for any sport, a solid ski-conditioning program should focus on improving core strength, power, balance and reactive components as well.
In conjunction with your current fitness routine, add these exercises into the mix two to three times a week, and you’ll avoid opening-day pain and feel more like master of the mountain this season.
▪ Single leg balance: Stand with tall posture and contract your core muscles. Slowly lift one leg 4-6 inches off the ground while maintaining balance and posture. Balance for 1 minute and repeat on the opposite leg. For more challenge, try a single leg squat.
▪ Bosu mogul hops: Hold onto a TRX suspension trainer or stable object. Stand on top of a BOSU ball with your feet together, pointing at 11 o’clock with your knees slightly flexed. Contract your abdominals, hop and rotate your body to 1 o’clock, sinking your hips as you land. Quickly hop back to 11 o’clock and repeat from the 11 to 1 position for 30-60 seconds. For more challenge, perform the exercise with no hands without compromising control.
▪ Ice skaters: Stand and balance on your right leg with your core contracted. Hop sideways to your left side, squatting down and touching the ground across your body with your right arm. Stay low with your chest out, and quickly spring back to your right side repeating the same move, touching down with your left arm. With control, continue this sequence for 30-60 seconds.
▪ Box jumps: Stand slightly behind a 12- to 24-inch box or platform. Squat down, and quickly jump on top of the box. Try to land softly by sinking your hips as you land. Step off of the box and repeat for 8-10 repetitions. For an added challenge, jump continuously on and off of the box for the same number of repetitions.
▪ Bench dips: Position your body perpendicular to a flat bench. Place your hands just outside your hips. Lift your hips up and slightly away from the bench, maintaining tall posture. Keep your heels on the ground and your legs straight. Staying upright, slowly lower yourself toward the ground until both arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back to an upright position. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions. For an easier option, bend your legs to a 90-degree angle and repeat the same movement.
▪ Landmine anti-rotations: Using both arms, begin by picking up the bar, fully extending your arms with your body slightly angled, facing the landmine, holding the top of the bar with one hand right above the other at chest level. Rotate the bar toward your right side using your arms outside of your center of your mass with little to no movement at the hips and torso. Alternate sides and repeat for 10 reps per side.
▪ Side plank: Lie on your side. Keep your body in a straight line with your legs stacked on top of one another. Prop your arm underneath your body. Position your opposite hand onto your hip. Contract your abs, and slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling until your body is positioned straight from head to toe. Hold for two to four seconds, and then slowly lower your hips to the floor. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions before switching sides. For an easier option, bend your legs at a 90-degree angle while performing the exercise.
Jason Wanlass is the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or championfit.net.