Most of us would ideally spend our free time doing the sport(s) we love and leave the gym to folks doing rehab and working on their biceps, but putting in a few hours each week in the gym can leave you with tremendous benefits on the slopes or the trail. In addition to allowing you to ski harder and longer, developing a consistent strength training routine will increase your mobility, build lean muscle, and works wonders for injury prevention. Below you will find 3 exercises to help get you ready for ski season!
Squats are one of the best strength training exercises. They primarily target the quads and glutes but require a lot of core strength and stabilization as well. Depending on your level of experience, incorporate squats once per week for 3 sets of 8-20 repetitions.
How to squat:
- Start with feet hip distance apart
- Think about externally rotating the knees so your feet make full contact with the ground
- Brace your core and squat down till your hips drop slightly below the level of your knees
- Keep chest up and core braced. Gaze should be neutral.
- Drive knees out as you stand up out of the squat
- It’s very important you weight your feet evenly and don’t round your lower back!
Beginner: Airsquats (body weight squats)
Intermediate: Goblet Squats
Few movements replicate skiing more than the lunge. You will strengthen your quads, glutes, and hamstrings as well as work on core stability with lunges. Perform once per week for 3 sets of 10 lunges on each leg.
How to lunge:
- Step forward and bend knee down until it almost hits the floor
- Bent knee should be roughly at 90 degrees and knee should be stacked over the toes, not in front or to the side of your foot!
- Push up off your whole foot and alternate legs
Beginner: Bodyweight walking lunges
Intermediate: Suitcase lunge (hold a weight in each hand)
Advanced: Overhead walking lunges (hold a plate or dumbbells overhead and make sure arms are straight)
Windmills are an excellent core strengthening exercise that simultaneously work on shoulder stability and hip mobility. These can be done as a bodyweight exercise or by adding weight with a kettlebell or dumbbell. Perform once per week for 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps on each side.
How to do a windmill:
- Start with feet double shoulder width
- Lift one arm straight overhead and shift your weight onto the foot opposite the raised arm
- Keeping your arm fully raised, slowly bend at the hips and lower your non raised arm down your shin until you can tap your laces or the ground. You should be looking at your raised arm as you lower your upper body.
- Brace your core and raise back up into your standing posture. Your raised arm should stay straight and above your head for the duration of the exercise.
- If you cannot reach the ground without bending your knees, lower until you can’t go any farther. You will find your mobility will improve dramatically if you do this exercise regularly!
Intermediate: Weight in raised hand
Advanced: Weight in both hands
Bekah Rottenberg is CSAT’s head mountain bike coach and works as a personal trainer at the Power Station in Hood River. She specializes in strength training routines for mountain bikers, but loves to work with anyone from young and fit to older and wanting to get fit. She is currently taking clients and you can find out more about her on-line programs at: www.BravEndeavors.com