Some years, ski season sneaks up on me. I know the snow is flying and I know the lifts are about to open, but I’m in denial. Not because I don’t want to ski. That’s never the problem. The real problem is that I don’t want to face getting in shape for skiing. So I let the season sneak up behind me and then I pay — in sore muscles.
Living in Colorado, I figure I can fake it and get in shape for skiing while I ski. That works, kind of. I’m very active, biking and running year-round. But the problem is while I may in great shape for biking and running, I’m not in great shape for skiing.
But just to mix it up, I’ve got a new all-in-one 15 minute workout that’s good for any snowsport. Do this one faithfully, or combine it up with the others. You’ll get your season off to a stronger start with more endurance and fewer sore muscles. And since it only takes 15 minutes a day, 3-5 times per week, it can help you sneak up on the ski season.
The BSM 2011 15 Minute Preseason Conditioning Workout
Equipment Needed: Large Exercise Ball (around $20); Stretchy resistance bands, with handles (looks like a super-stretchy jump rope, around $20)
1. Abdominal Leg Reaches/Rotation. Start by lying flat on the ground. Give your body a full stretch. Take a couple of deep breaths. Relax.
Pull your knees up and keeping your back flat on the ground, reach your legs outward at about a 45 degree angle. Tighten your tummy as you reach, but stop when you can no longer keep your back flat. Pull your legs back in and repeat 10 times.
Next, with your legs pulled in, put your arms out to your sides. Keeping your knees together, and your back flat on the floor, rotate side-to-side, 10 times. To make it more challenging, extend your legs further and then do the rotations. Again, tighten your tummy to keep your back flat.
2. Bridging. Lie on your back with your feet on the exercise ball. Raise your body off the floor so that you are in a plank position with your feet on the ball. With your arms extended out to the side, slowly raise one leg at a time while keeping your body in a straight line. You’ll need to shift the weight on the ball to maintain your balance. It’s a matter of feel, but you want to be as stable as possible. Repeat 10 to 30 times per leg.
3. Side Hops. Attach the resistance band to a chair or table leg (slide strap through handle). Holding the other handle, pull the band behind your back and hold it at your waist. Move away from the chair or table until the band is at a challenging tension. Pulling against the band, hop on your inside leg. Switch so that the opposite leg is the inside leg and repeat. 10-30 times per leg.
4. Single Leg Squats. Stand on the resistance band with one leg. Keeping your knee over your foot and with your arms down by your sides holding the band handles, flex your knee into a squat. Repeat 10-30 times per leg.
5. Bent Row. Keeping the resistance band around the chair or table leg, flex your knees into a skiing position. In this position pull back on the band handles, rowing. Keep your back straight and both feet on the floor. To make it more challenging, try rowing while standing on one leg. Repeat 10-30 times.
Let’s face it. No one really likes stretching. But whether you need to stretch after this workout, or after a day of skiing, these stretches will quickly help you revitalize.
2. Lower Back Rotation.This one feels great but is a bit complicated to explain. Think of it as wringing yourself out. Lie on your right side with your right hand under your head. Put your left hand on your left hip. Your knees should be bent, with the top leg pulled higher than the lower leg and the top foot tucked in behind the lower knee. Twist your trunk in opposite directions (hip to the back, shoulders to the front). Hold 10-30 seconds.
Many thanks to Bryan Whitesides of SOAR Physical Therapy for putting this workout together. Bryan is a skier and a runner. You can find him online at betterrunner.com.
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