A total-body workout for the slippery slope of winter adventure.
By Jeff Csatari
Whatever your preferred mode of snow travel, everyone learns one universal ski lesson the hard way: You’ll be sore if you’re not already in shape.
So build up your aerobic capacity with brisk walking, running, or bicycling. Do interval training, where you alternate between, say, 30 seconds to a few minutes of higher-intensity effort and longer, slow-paced recovery periods.
“Even in recreational skiing you have to work hard for a couple of minutes down the mountain followed by rest on the chairlift back up,” says Erik Fisher, a member of the U.S. Ski Team and an Eagle Scout from Boise, Idaho. “Teach your body to go hard and recover, so that after you’ve taken 10 runs, your legs won’t be too tired to react if you catch a little bit of a ski edge.”
Fisher and his teammates ramp up their conditioning in the summertime doing lactic threshold training on stationary cycles. Weight training, plyometrics (explosive jumping), and balance drills are also part of the preseason prep.
Build a functional workout into your weekly exercise plan. In addition to cardio training (walking, running, cycling, etc.), do these ski-specific strength moves three times a week. Do two to three sets of each for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Jeff Csatari wrote The Belly Off! Diet and co-wrote Norman Rockwell's Boy Scouts of America with his father, Joseph Csatari, official artist of the BSA.
STABILITY BALL LEG CURL
2. Lift your hips off the ground and bend your legs to roll the ball toward you until your feet are flat on the ball. Straighten your legs to roll the ball back to the starting position.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
HAND WALK PUSH-UP
STRENGTHENS THE ARMS, BACK, AND ABDOMINALS AND STRETCHES THE LEGS
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
2. Bend at the waist to place your hands on the floor.
3. Walk your hands forward until you are in a push-up position. Do a push-up, and then walk your feet up to your hands.
That’s one rep. Do 6 to 10.
BALANCE AND REACH
STRENGTHENS THE TINY MUSCLES SUPPORTING THE ANKLE AND KNEE
1. Stand on your left foot, raising your right foot off the floor. Place an object such as a rolled-up gym towel on the floor in front of your left foot.
2. Bend at your waist and left knee as you reach down with your right hand to touch the object. Stand up straight and repeat. After 10 to 15 repetitions, repeat the exercise, this time while standing on your right foot.
To make it more difficult, try this while standing on a foam pad or pillow to increase instability of the foot.
LATERAL SKI JUMPS
BOOSTS OVERALL LEG STRENGTH AND TEACHES BOTH LEGS TO WORK POWERFULLY IN TANDEM (PLYOMETRIC)
1. Place a yardstick, rope, or strip of tape on the floor. Stand to the right of the line with feet hip-width apart. Hold your hands out, keep your head up, and bend slightly at the knees.
2. Explode upward off both feet and jump laterally over the line.
3. Bend your knees as you land to absorb the impact. Quickly push off to jump laterally across the line again.
That’s one repetition. Do 8 to 15.
WORKS THE BUTT, QUADS, CALVES, AND HAMSTRINGS
1. Stand in front of a workout bench, box, or chair that’s high enough so that your legs form a right angle when you sit on it. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
2. With your feet spread shoulder-width apart, bend your knees to squat. When your butt hits the bench, stand up, pressing up through your heels.
Do 12 to 15 repetitions.