Winter will be here before we know it, and getting in shape for ski season means the difference between enjoying those deep December powder days and grimacing between muscle convulsions. For anyone looking for versatile exercises that don’t require dumbbells or a treadmill, give these drills a try. Get a few reps in during your lunch hour, during TV commercial breaks, or before you hit the trail.
Stand in upright position with knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Contract abdominal muscles to stabilize trunk and spine. Drop your body by flexing knees and hips. Rapidly explode upward. Land with control and quickly repeat. Complete 2 to 3 sets of 20 seconds each.
Double-Leg Lateral Hops
Stand in an upright position with knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Contract abdominal muscles to stabilize trunk and spine. Quickly drop your body by flexing knees and hips. Rapidly explode upward and to the side. Swing arms upwards. Land on the balls of your feet with control and immediately rebound by jumping in the other direction. Complete 2 to 3 sets of 20 seconds.
Split-Lunge Jump (aka, Jumping Lunges)
Stand in an upright position. Assume a lunge stance with one leg bent at the knee and placed forward, with the other leg behind your body. Contract abdominal muscles to stabilize trunk and spine. Lower your body and explosively jump off front leg into the air. In the air, reverse the position of your legs. Repeat and complete 2 to 3 sets, with 20 touches total.
Seated Oblique Twist
Sit on floor with knees bent and feet elevated at a 45-degree angle. Contract abdominal muscles to stabilize trunk and spine. Hold both hands directly in front of your body, and slowly twist torso from side to side, touching both hands to the floor. Repeat on other side. Complete 2 to 3 sets, with 40-60 touches total.
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on floor, hip-width apart. Rest your arms by your sides with palms down. Contract abdominal muscles to stabilize trunk and spine. Raise pelvis, mid-, and lower back off the floor by pushing through your heels while squeezing buttocks. Lower to the floor and repeat. Complete 2 to 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions each.
Lie on your side with hips and knees bent 45 degrees, and your legs stacked. Keep feet in contact with each other, and raise your top knee vertically as high as you can without moving your pelvis. Keep your lower leg on the floor. Pause, and then return to starting position. Complete 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions each.
Other activities to complement these exercises include trail running with inclines, hiking, and cycling. These exercises should be done at least 2-3 times a week with one day in between. To ensure you get the most out of your exercise, be sure to maintain proper form—quality of exercise is more important than quantity. Always be safe and listen to your body.
Ed Davila is Director of Fitness at the Ridge Athletic Clubs. He is certified as a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Health Fitness Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine.