Shape Up for the Ski/Snowboard Season
September 24, 2018 // by: Stefanie Van Der Kar
The 2018/2019 Breckenridge ski season is just around the corner! You are probably thinking about getting your ski pass and whatever new gear you might need that didn’t make it through last season; BUT, what about getting into ski shape? It’s OK if you hadn’t thought about it yet. A few weeks of ski-based exercises can decrease your chances of getting injured and avoid strained muscles and achy joints. Remember, something is better than nothing.
We’ve created a list of our six favorite exercises, compiled from numerous different workouts and resources. These exercises are not only about getting your legs ready for the ski season, but also focusing on strengthening and preparing stabilizer muscles, core strength and stretching. We hope to help you create an overall well-being that’ll help prevent injuries and keep you out on the hill longer (especially on those powder days).
Add a Challenge (Hover over the exercise to find out HOW!)
Balance Exercises – Make it more challenging: Close your eyes and see how you do!
Single-Leg Eccentric Squats – Make it more challenging: Add a plyometric jump instead of just squatting!
Wall Sit – Make it more challenging: Add a dumbbell to hold across your chest or hips for additional weight!
Stretching – Make it more challenging: Sign up for a local yoga class – you might be surprised at how you feel afterwards!
Planks – Make it more challenging: Go ahead and place your free arm in the air and lift your top leg while holding a side-arm plank. Don’t forget to look up!
Cardio – Make it more challenging: Talk while you walk – an aerobic base takes time, but you should be able to converse during your training!
- Balance Exercises – Make your own balance board or use a Bosu Ball. Stand on your Bosu Ball, squat down and see how easy it is. If this feels too easy, try one foot at a time. Want to make it even a little harder? Try single-leg squats. These balance exercises will help both your balance and your core. You’ll feel these balance exercises in your quads, abs and calves, for sure. Take a few minutes every day while you’re brushing your teeth or watching TV to stand on one foot, with your other foot raised just barely above the ground. Sounds easy, but if you haven’t been maintaining your balance it can be hard! Once you’ve mastered that, add some arm circles into the mix (maybe not while brushing your teeth…).
- Single-Leg Eccentric Squats – Eccentric movement increases tension on a muscle as it lengthens, creating more strength than just a normal squat. With or without weights, stand straight and hold your right leg out in front of you. Squat with your left leg while keeping your chest and eyes up. Count down 3 seconds and then pop back up. Go as low as you can. Do 15 reps on each side. Repeat if you need more.
- Wall sit with leg lifts – Stand up against a wall and slide your back down until you are at a 90-degree angle (or “sitting”). Lift your left leg up for 15 seconds and then switch to the right leg. Repeat switching legs every 15 seconds and aim to continue this rotation for one minute without stopping. Go longer if you can, and keep track of your progress!
- Stretching – The dreaded stretch. Who has time for that? Does it really do anything? Fortunately, and unfortunately, yes! Stretching really is a complete mind, body and spirit work out (and also helps those achy muscles from all the squats). One particular stretching routine we love is Tony Horton’s Dynamix workout (30 minutes, once a week!). If that doesn’t strike your fancy, aim for two 20-minute sessions that incorporate straight leg hangs, glute pulls, hip flexor/quadricep pulls, and chest and oblique stretching. Stretching prior to shredding on the mountain can reap huge rewards. If you are able to wake up 20 minutes earlier than usual before heading to the hill, warming up your body can help prevent injuries, often caused by throwing cold muscles into a workout.
- Planks – Although we know we need to strengthen our legs, there is something to be said about having a strong core to get you through those powder stashes. Start on the ground in a push-up position, lower down to your forearms and hold for 15 seconds. Push back up to your push-up (or plank) position. Repeat this for one minute (or as long as you can), while switching from plank to forearm-plank every 15 seconds. If you are feeling good, incorporate a side plank: Start in plank, move to forearm-plank, and then open to the left or right while stacking your legs. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Cardio – This sounds so simple. Cardio. Duh. Everyone knows we need this to keep our lungs pumping. But it’s super important and one of the most daunting exercises. Choose a training method (hiking, biking, swimming, power walking, etc.) and try to commit to three times a week. Depending on your fitness level, strive for 20-90 minutes per session.
So, there you have it. Our favorite exercises based on experience and research to help you get ready for ski season. Choose two or three of these to create your own 30-minute workout. Strive to get these done two to three times per week and increase to four or five times weekly as your body progresses. If you are getting a late start in the training season (like most of us), have no fear. Start tomorrow. Or the next day. Anything you can do prior to the first time you put on your ski or boarding boots will be beneficial. Train hard, ski hard. We hope to see you on the hill this winter.
**Always consult a physician before performing any sort of physical activity, especially if you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
- Keep your chest and eyes up for squat jumps/leg squats.
- Keep good form – if you need to modify, do so!
- Add weights if you want! Feel free to grab some dumbbells to increase weight.
Partial Sourcing: Ski Mag.com