Step up for the Ski Season

July 27, 2004

Cardiovascular training: One of the best preparation for skiing is bike riding, either stationary, road or mountain. Not only does it give you aerobic exercise, but it specifically works your leg muscles. Try a few sprints, followed by some more endurance biking to build up the intensity a day of skiing can have. Cardiovascular conditioning will give you a base level of muscular endurance so that your body won?t fatigue as quickly on 10-20 minute ski runs repeated throughout the day. Once the leg muscles begin to tire, mental alertness goes, and accidents are more likely to happen.

Leg Strength: Turning and twisting on the mountain can be a killer for legs muscles and knees that aren?t used to working hard. Try a one third knee bend ? stand on one leg with the knee slightly bent (stand near a table or chair for support) then go down and up on the single leg. The motion should be smooth and performed without a pause on the way up or down. Try doing the exercise until your leg is fatigued ? around 2 minutes. Full squats, deadlifts, lunges or dips are also great for the legs, but resist doing your training on a machine ? they don?t provide the three dimensional training you need for the mountain.

Another good strengthening exercise is walking backwards upstairs or uphill in a semi-squat position. You will use a lot of the same muscles as in skiing, such as the bottom and the backs of the legs. You may look like a bit of an idiot, but think how much easier it will be on the ski fields!

Power: Plyometric exercises are a great way of helping your legs prepare for absorbing the impact of jumps and ramps on the ski field. Plyometrics are basically performing one movement pattern that puts a muscle in a state of stretch and followed immediately by an explosive move that contracts or shortens the same muscle. Place a jump rope or short sports cone on the floor and then jump sideways over it, back and forth, with feet fairly close together as they?d be in your skis.

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