Ski season’s here and tons of resorts in the Rockies are loaded with snow, so it’s time to dig out your snowpants and rally your friends to book your annual ski trip. But while he runs are surely ready, are you? Even if you work out daily, skiing for four or five days can be ultra taxing on your muscles. Trust us.
That’s why we checked in with Alex Moore, high performance strength and conditioning coordinator at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, for the five best gym exercises to get you geared up for ski season. Do these, and there’s no way you’ll wimp out after the first run this year.
Suggested: 4 sets of 8
Grab an 80 lb dumbbell (you can increase the weight as you up the intensity). Bend your knees slightly, keeping your back straight, then lean forward with the barbell, hinging at the hips. Push your hips forward and return to a standing position. “Hamstring strength is really important to prevent ACL injuries, which are prevalent in skiing,” says Moore. By working the hamstrings, you help stabilize the knee joint and prevent injuries
Single-Leg Eccentric Leg Press
Suggested: 4 sets of 4 on each side
Load the leg press with about 60 to 70 percent of what you can lift with both legs. With one leg, lower the plate down for six seconds. When you’re at the bottom, push up with two feet. Moore advises to go slowly, resisting the weight coming down on you to keep the movement smooth and in control. (If you are having to move too fast, then the weight is too heavy, says Moore.) About 80 percent of alpine skiing is eccentric, so this downward pressure helps mimic when you are going into a turn, with inertia and gravity pushing you into the ground.
Medicine Ball Pump Squat
Suggested: 3 sets of 1 minute each
Hug a heavy medicine ball (15 to 50 pounds) to your chest and lower into a squat position. Staying low, doing short pump squats (pulsing up and down about an inch or so) without coming back up to start. Your muscles should always be contracting. This exercise builds local muscular endurance in the lower back, glutes, and quads.
Suggested: 4 sets of 4
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down so your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump high in the air. Try to land softly on your feet. “This exercise develops explosiveness in the quads and glutes, which is necessary if you want to ski fast and push hard out of your turns,” says Moore.
Courtesy of Men’s Fitness