Shape Up for Ski Season!

August 25, 2016 // by: Stefanie Van Der Kar

19-3267527585-oWhenever you read this post, we are getting that much closer to Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Opening Day! 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 in ski shape? We’ve created a list of our seven favorite exercises, compiled from numerous different workouts. This routine is not only about getting your legs ready for the ski season, but it also focuses on strengthening and preparing stabilizer muscles, core strength and stretching. This creates an overall well-being that’ll keep you out on the hill longer and help prevent injuries.

Before we get started, read some basic instructional tips for most of these moves.

**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.

Here you go:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Aim to continue this rotation without stopping for one minute. Go longer if you can, and keep track of your progress! Add a dumbbell to hold across your chest or hips for additional strengthening.
  3. Downhill walking – Eccentric Movement, or “negative movement” helps lengthen the muscles. Downhill walking assists with lengthening your quads, which you may feel when you are downhill skiing and lean back. Be mindful of knee or other leg injuries and never keep pushing if you feel any sort of pain. Grab a backpack and put some weight (20 or so pounds) in it and go out for a downhill hike. Start with a frequency of two to three times per week for 20 minutes each time, and increase as you become stronger.
  4. Yoga – For a complete mind, body and spirit work out (and to stretch those achy muscles from all the squats), try yoga. If you don’t want to spend the money on a local class, there are plenty of at-home videos for you to try. Spend 20 minutes two times per week practicing, and I can almost guarantee that you will notice a difference after just a few weeks. Stretching prior to shredding on the mountain can reap huge rewards. If you are able to get 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.
  5. 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. If you are advanced, go ahead and place your free arm in the air and look up. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  6. Front-to-Back Lunges – Stand in the middle of your mat, floor, field, or wherever you feel comfortable! Place your hands on your hips or reach them out in front of you to keep yourself stable. Lunge forward with your right leg and then, without putting your foot down, bring it to a back lunge. Repeat the process on your right leg for 10-12 reps. Switch legs. Repeat if desired.
  7. Agility Training – To gain agility, balance and explosive power, there are a few different ways you can practice building agility. If you are at home, place four X’s on the floor in a square. Start at the back of your square and jump forward with one foot to the right and hold. Now jump back. Now cross. Switch feet. Get the idea? This training encompasses it all. Want to get outside? Lace up your sneakers (preferably with proper tread) and go rock-hopping in a shallow stream. Or, get creative and pin your jumping points on a trail. Keep moving forward, left, right and back. Switch up your pace to get your heart rate up.

So, there you have it; seven of the best exercises to get you ready for ski and snowboard season. Choose three or four 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 on, will be beneficial. Train hard; ski hard. We hope to see you on the hill this winter!