Avid skiers and beginners share one thing in common: there’s nothing worse than pulling a muscle or getting injured on one of the first few runs of the season. Discover how to successfully prepare for the ski season this winter by conditioning important muscles to become prepared for a winter full of injury-free fun.
Your quads, calves, and glutes all play an important role in handling the various types of terrain you’ll encounter on the slopes. Get fully prepared for the season by trying the following three exercises so you don’t end up sore after your first trip out!
Your quads play an essential role in skiing, so it’s crucial that you pay attention to them and condition them on a regular basis. One of the most effective ways to target your quads is by doing squats. Additionally, since squats are a complex movement, they hit difficult and hard-to-reach muscle groups. Since squats mimic the actions of skiing, they can also help improve balance. Here’s how you can effectively do a squat:
- Stand upright with your legs shoulder width apart while looking straight ahead.
- Gently ease your hips back.
- Slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the ground.
- Pay close attention that your knees do NOT go in front of your toes. If this happens, readjust by pushing your hips back slightly more.
- Stand back up and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 20 repetitions with a minute in between sets.
Looking for a way to increase the difficulty of your squats? Consider trying a balance board. This will add an additional element of difficulty that will surely get your quads burning. Due to the inherent instability provided by the balance board, you’ll activate even more muscles.
Lunges are an excellent exercise to condition your legs and buttocks region. Since your weight is often transferred between one leg and the other during skiing, lunges provide a great opportunity to identify and strengthen any strength inconsistencies between your legs. Follow these steps for proper technique:
- Begin with both feet together
- Step one leg backward
- Bend down so your front leg makes a 90-degree angle. Your back leg should *almost* be touching the ground.
- Aim to do 3 sets of 20 with a minute break between sets.
Want to stretch even more muscles? Try incorporating the use of a foam wedge underneath your front foot. The angle from the device will allow you to activate and strengthen your calves as well.
Ab exercises are one of the most overlooked exercises for skiers. Since you spend most of your time hunched down in a flexed position, your back is put into overdrive— your abs assist in maintaining that position while also supporting your spine. Don’t miss out on a key opportunity to exercise this important muscle by following these steps:
- Lie down on your back
- Position your hands behind your head
- Bring your knees toward your chest while lifting your shoulder blades off of the ground. Be sure *not* to use your hands to pull on your neck.
- Rotate sides by the left elbow towards the right knee and vice versa.
- Try and do 2 sets of 15 with a short break between sets.
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