The ski and boarding season are fast approaching, but maybe your equipment isn’t the only thing in need of a tune-up? It’s never too early to start training for the slope season and it’s
definitely easier to stay fit, than to get fit. Fitness is a whole body approach, but maybe your routine just needs that little something extra to take it to the next level.
We talked to local fitness experts from various disciplines to get their tips on the best exercises to take your workout from “everyday” to “snow day” ready.
For someone starting from scratch (i.e. skiing is the only exercise you get all year), Linda Scholl, Physical Therapist at University of Utah Orthopedic Center, says these three specific exercises are the best place to start: running or walking the stairs, any hamstring exercise and squats.
If you just need a new exercise to fill out your current routine, Chris Spealler, owner/founder of CrossFit Park City, recommends The Thruster. “It’s a great full body exercise helping to develop leg, midline and overhead strength. It’s basically a front squat into a push press…and can be done with lighter weight and higher reps as cardio, or heavier weight to develop more top-end strength.”
Janet Ivers, Certified Bikram yoga instructor and outdoor enthusiast, likes variety for staying fit year-round and suggests Utkatasana (Chair Pose) to strengthen quads, glutes, calves and promote ankle flexion.
With feet hips-distance apart, keep thighs parallel while slowly bending knees forward, keeping heels on the floor. Torso leans over your legs and back is elongated.
Trent Hickman, certified personal trainer and SUP instructor, likes to “stay fit using a variety of methods to achieve a functional approach to fitness.” As for a specific exercise, he says, “I like the Single Leg Forward Fold, which covers balance, strength and even cardio. It’s an excellent exercise to protect the knees as it keeps hamstrings, calves and glutes strong!”
Owner and instructor with yoga/lifestyle business, Elevate and Company, Nikki Rinck has taught many Yoga for Skiers classes. She says, “Warrior III is a wonderful pose to practice for ski season, as the pose helps with stability, balance, concentration and strength.
These are all key elements needed for skiers and snowboarders.”
Athlete and fitness trainer, Brian Frost, shares his preferred ski prep exercise called 1 ¼ Back Squats. He says, “Knee stabilization is super important for skiers; this workout really helps build your legs, plus there’s added focus on the VMO (medial knee). It is performed by doing a back squat to depth, then rising up five inches, back down to the bottom, then standing all the way back up.”
Laura Collier is founder/CEO of Laura’s Fitness Lab, fitness manager for Talisker Club, as well as a personal trainer and class instructor. She recommends what she calls Dorothy Jumps, “…because you jump up and ‘click’ your heels together. They are my favorite for leg strength, agility and interval training.” They activate inner thighs while working the glutes and quads.
Trainer, instructor and creator of Studio Shift online fitness, Kristi Attaway suggests Donkey Kicks with 2-4 pound ankle weights. Start on all fours on a mat, then keeping your core tight and right knee bent 90 degrees, flex foot and lift knee to hip level. Lower knee without touching the floor; lift again. She says, “The higher you lift your leg, the higher your glutes end up—it’s an anti-gravity exercise!”
Brandon Judd, DPT at Wasatch Physical Therapy, says training-wise “cycling and skate/cross-country skiing go hand-in-hand.” As for downhill skiing/riding, he suggests Lateral Box Jumps – a great pre-season exercise involving quick, explosive jumps and the added challenge of a change in direction.
To prepare or restore muscles, Trudee Sanbonmatsu of Yoga Kula Project says,“Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose is my favorite. It’s restorative, bringing relief to hips, legs, feet, lymph and sympathetic nervous systems—a must-do pose for athletes.” Th is very approachable pose increases circulation, soothes swollen or cramped feet and legs, stretches hamstrings and relieves lower back tension.
Finally, to prepare those legs for a full day on the slopes your first day out you can’t beat the conditioning you’ll get from the Skier’s Edge. Developed as a lateral non-impact conditioning machine the Skier’s Edge is used by World Cup racers, Olympian and pro athletes. Th e lateral motion focuses on weight transfer, balance and agility—building strength, endurance and flexibility. Your training will build muscle memory, allowing you to recall the motion and dominate the slopes to have your best season on the slopes.
Disclaimer: Consult your physician before beginning this or any exercise program.