Fine-tune workout to rule slopes
Folks, ski season is coming. And more than a few of you have asked questions about getting in skiing shape.
Even when we're in great shape there are things we can do to help improve our ability to ski better and, if you ski as badly as I do, prevent backache, burning thighs and sore abdominal muscles.
Contrary to the folks who think coming out of the womb marked their first double black diamond, it takes time and work to get the body ready for skiing or boarding.
Skiing and boarding primarily involve lower and core body muscles, but most of us will use every muscle group on the slopes. They also involve dynamic, sometimes explosive, movements. Our exercises must prepare us for that.
Stick with your fitness routine, and add a few of these exercises to get ready. To see proper form, visit my blog at milobryant.blogspot.com.
• Dynamic flexibility exercises: walking forward lunges, side lunges, fanny kicks, high knee raises, trunk rotations, forward/backward leg swings, side leg swings, backward running, side shuffles, skipping, carioca, power skips. Ten minutes of these would be a great warm-up.
• Speed squats. Folks, the fitness god created this exercise! It is similar to a regular squat except you do them fast - try to get more than one per second - and you do them without any weight. Speed squats will help increase the muscular endurance in your thighs, particularly your quadriceps. And that increases your ability to maintain proper knee alignment and control when skiing. Start out with two or three sets of 10 reps, and work your way up to four sets of 20 reps.
• Duck walks. Go to the blog to get a better idea of this exercise. Essentially, get in an exaggerated athletic stance (a lot lower butt than normal) and walk forward, backward and sideways while maintaining the posture. Increase the intensity by doing the same movements with an exercise band.
• Quick and stick. Again, hit the blog for an explanatory video. Start the exercise in a good athletic stance. You can even exaggerate the crouch. Now bring your feet together and spread them apart as fast as you can for 15 seconds - while remaining in the crouched position. When your feet are spread apart, keep them flat but push on the outside edge of the feet with as much force as you can and hold that position for 15 seconds and repeat the process until two minutes have elapsed. Rest a minute a repeat for three or four sets.
• Core body work. Sit-ups and crunches are great exercises, but we need to add trunk rotation and lower body movement to our core body workouts. Having a stronger core helps improve balance, strength, power and endurance.