As the first measurable snowfall hits the resorts, those planning ski vacations need to think about getting in shape for long days floating through powder and lapping the terrain park. Here are five exercises to help jump start your ski season. These moves focus on lower body and core strength, which are necessary for balance, and cardio fitness for endurance. You can practice these moves at home or in the gym, and they can be modified as you get stronger.
Start with a stance slightly wider than your shoulders. Emulate your ski stance with bent knees and flexed ankles, upper body lifted, eyes looking forward, and hands out in front of you or at your hips for alignment. Lower slowly into a seated position until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your weight over your heels to ensure your knees stay behind your toes. Then, push through your heels to stand back up, keeping your core tight. Go for a designated amount of time or number of reps, maintaining proper form.
Begin in an athletic ski position with hands on your hips. Step your left foot forward into a lunge keeping your knee behind your toes and your thigh parallel to the ground, letting your right knee hover just above the ground. Power from the heel back to your starting position and repeat with your right leg. For an additional challenge, progress to adding in squat and lunge jumps increasing your cardio fitness.
Sink into a squat position, with your hands forward, your back flat and your chest open. Hold your legs parallel to the floor, focusing your eyes ahead. Start by holding this position for 30 seconds to one minute (challenge yourself to increase your time each session). From there, add a jump, pushing upwards from your heels, bringing your knees to your chest in the air, and softly landing and sinking back into a squat. Build your strength and endurance by increasing your squat hold time and number of jumps each exercise session.
Plank hold and burpees incorporate your core and upper body to increase cardiovascular fitness and overall body strength. Start in a high plank by squatting to the ground and placing your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Walk or jump your feet out so your body forms one straight line from head to heel, not sagging the stomach or lifting the butt. Hold for time and increase each session.
Add an increased cardio challenge by incorporating burpees. From a high plank position, lower down to a push up. Then, jump your feet to your hands, lifting to the sky and jumping in the air to land and return back to high plank.
Sit on the floor, bending your knees slightly keeping your feet on the ground, back straight. Put your arms straight out in front of you, folding your fingers or using a desired object for additional weight and resistance. Engage your core and oblique (side) muscles, and twist your entire upper body to the right lightly touching your hands or weight on the ground next to your right hip. Then, twist all the way to the left, touching your hands to the ground near your left hip. Go for a designated amount of time or number of reps, maintaining proper form.
Set a reminder on your phone to complete this ski-specific exercise session two to three times a week. After just one week, you will see improvement, and you will be able to increase your time and number of repetitions. The stronger you are headed into winter, the more confident you’ll feel. And the more you’ll be prepared to make the most of your well-earned ski vacation.