Save Your Body

Ski season is right around the corner and now is a great time to train for improved performance. Entering the ski season fit and flexible will increase your enjoyment and decrease the risk of injury. The following exercises can be accomplished with little or no equipment and can significantly improve your performance.

Wall Sit
Place your back against the wall and slide down until you’ve created an imaginary chair. Keep knees aligned over ankles. You should be able to see your toes throughout the entire exercise. Begin with three to four sets of 30 seconds to a minute in duration. Increase time and/or add weight as exercise becomes easier.

Stationary Lunges
Place your legs in split stance position—right forward, left back. Slowly lower your body by flexing both knees, not beyond a 90 degree angle, and slowly rise up. Be sure that your forward knee stays behind your toes. Lunge down and up for three sets of 15-20 repetitions per leg. Add repetitions or weight or even try
walking lunges for increased intensity.

Lateral Hop
Begin by standing on one foot in a partial squat. Hop laterally (sideways) to the opposite foot and maintain balance. Continue lateral hops for up to two minutes. Be sure to maintain partial squat position throughout exercise. Add resistance and/or speed as exercise becomes easier.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, with knees flexed in partial squat. Place arms slightly forward as if holding ski poles. Jump straight up off the balls of your feet and land with knees soft, not locked, for shock absorption. Let arms lift naturally as you jump. Continue for 30 seconds to a full minute. Direction change or resistance may be added as exercise becomes easier.

Partial Squat with Reach
Standing on one foot, knee bent and behind your toes, flex forward from waist and reach with opposite hand toward floor. Your hand should reach slightly forward of opposite foot—left foot on floor, right hand reaching. Maintain bent knees throughout the exercise and drive your body weight through your standing heel as you come to a balanced standing position. Switch legs after 8-10 repetitions. Add weight, speed, or upper body mobility as exercise becomes easier.

Basic push-ups are a great way to increase upper body and core strength and stabilization because they activate so many major muscle groups. However, form is key to a great push-up. Begin with one set of 8-12 repetitions and increase to three sets of 20 or more. Push-ups only get easier with practice.
Resistance bands, weighted (medicine) balls, foam rollers and pads, stability discs and balls, wobble boards, BOSU domes, and Reebok Core Boards are just a few tools that can be added to the aforementioned exercises to increase intensity, balance, and stabilization/coordination. Perfect the exercises in their basic form before adding any exercise tools. I also recommend getting some assistance from a fitness instructor who is educated in using this equipment.

Have a great ski season!

Cheryl Mcdonald is a Personal Fitness Trainer and certified Health/Fitness Instructor at Gold’s Gym in Bozeman. Call her at (406) 580-0284 or email [email protected].