Hitting the slopes is a total blast and will be best enjoyed when you are in good "ski condition." Skiing requires skill, athletic endurance, balance, and strength. An exercise routine with combining plyometric, isometric, stability, strength, and core exercises will make your ski experience so much better! Don't forget to spend some time "foam-rolling" and completing dynamic stretches before you jump in!
The following are some of my top exercise choices for getting yourself into ski shape. I chose exercises that require little equipment so you can complete most of them in the comfort of you own home.
The Lateral Jump - Stand with your chest up and with your hips thrust back. Dip your knees slightly, then explosively push off your right leg and move horizontally to your left. Land on your feet, and stick the landing so that your body stops moving. Wait for a moment, and then push back off your right leg, landing on your left one.
The Wall Squat - The basic wall squat is great because of the squat like position you are in as you descend the mountain on your skis. Lean your back against a smooth wall. With your feet shoulder-width apart, slide your back down the wall, making sure your thighs are parallel to the ground and your shins are perpendicular. Cross your hands over your chest. Use all your strength and push against the wall. Continue pushing as hard as you can for as long as you can. As your muscles tire, slide down the wall and rest before repeating the exercise. By actively pushing against the wall, you make this exercise far more challenging than just leaning against the wall and holding the squat position for an extended period of time.
- Pistol Squats - Not only do you need balance to ski, you need to build single limb strength. Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg off the floor and hold it there. Flex your right ankle so that your toes are higher than your heel. Your right leg should be straight. Brace your core. Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. As you lower your body, raise your right leg so that it doesn't touch the floor. Pause, then push your body back to the starting position. Keep your torso as upright as possible. If this is too challenging for your first try your body to a bench or grab a set of TRX straps and use them for support.
- Hip Bridges / Hip Thrust- simple, classic, relatively easy and a good way to develop strength in your hamstrings and gluteus. Position your feet so that they are flat on the floor and close to your butt. Place your hands next to your hips, palms facing up. Push through your heels and lift your hips as high as you can towards the ceiling. Hold this position for as long as possible. Alternatively, lift and lower your hips for a predetermined number of repetitions. If you find this exercise too easy, hold a weight across your hips or use one leg at a time while holding the other leg out straight.
Now go exercise and enjoy the slopes this season!