08 July, 2011
You may view skiing as a fun way to spend a chill morning outdoors, but it's also an intense workout that stresses your arms, legs and core. By improving these areas, you'll enhance your skiing strength, endurance and stamina. Get your body fit with ski-specific exercises and stretches that help prepare you for your best day on the mountain yet.
Box jumps strengthen those muscles that play such a big role when you're pivoting and leaning on your skis. Position yourself in front of a log or bench that's 24 inches high. Separate your feet so that they're approximately your shoulders' width. Bend your knees and move your buttocks toward the ground so that you're in a squatting position -- you'll feel your abdominal muscles and glutes straining at this moment. From the squatting position, jump into the air and land on the log or bench. When you land, immediately sink back into a squat. Repeat the movement to jump back to the ground.
These specialized squats strengthen your legs so that you have better skiing control. Grab a ski pole in each hand. Stand straight on one leg with your other leg in front of you, hovering just off the ground. If you need help balancing, use the ski poles. Bend your back leg all the way down into a squatting position while keeping your other leg in front of you so that it's parallel with the floor. Stand up and repeat for the other leg, aiming for 15 squats for each leg.
Ankle drops come recommended by ski coach Warren Smith, who says they will help improve your ankle strength and flexibility, which can make you more agile on the slopes. Stand so that your back and your heels are against a flat surface, such as a wall. Let your arms dangle at your side. Bending just your knees and your ankles, drop toward the ground as low as you can while keeping your arms and heels pressed against the wall. Once you can't go any further, raise yourself back up.
Trunk Rotation Stretch
This stretching exercise helps work your core while also improving core flexibility; so you can twist and turn on your skis with less injury risks. Lie on your back on the floor with your arms outstretched to the sides at shoulder height. Bend both legs at the knee and drop them together to the right as you exhale. Turn your head slightly to the left. Pause for a few seconds. Inhale and bring both legs back up and as you exhale, drop both legs to the left. Turn your head to the right. Carry on with this maneuver, up to 15 times on each side.
Push-ups work your arms -- specifically your biceps -- and your core. Better upper body strength can help fight muscle fatigue from leaning and propelling yourself on your ski poles. Get into the correct pushup position with your legs straight and resting on your toes, and your arms straight with the palms on the ground under your shoulders. Bend your elbows into a 90-degree angle as you fall toward the floor, pause, then push yourself back up.
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