Ah, skiers, I can spot you a mile away. You're the ones with your noses in the air, sniffing for that first whiff of the white stuff.
In order to take full advantage of your compulsion, you need to pay attention to more than your skis or boards. You need to remember your heart, lungs and muscles, too.
In addition to skill, skiing and snowboarding require stamina, muscular strength, power, balance and flexibility. Plyometrics, or explosive types of exercises, can greatly improve agility and reflexes and should be included with cardiovascular and strength training. Do these exercises in between trips to the mountain to make the season both safe and satisfying.
(A) Walking lunge:
legs, glutes, balance
Tip: Keep torso upright. Lead knee should point in same direction as foot throughout lunge. Long step emphasizes glutes, short step emphasizes quads.
1. Stand with dumbbells at sides.
2. Step forward with first leg, landing on heel, then forefoot.
3. Lower body by flexing knee and hip until knee of rear leg is near the floor.
4. Stand on forward leg with assistance of rear leg for balance.
5. Lunge forward with opposite leg. Repeat by alternating lunge with opposite leg. Work up to three sets of 15.
(B) Lateral squat:
glutes, hips, balance
Tip: Keep hips and shoulders in line; don't allow knees to drop forward over toes.
1. Start with feet about a foot wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. Keeping back straight, drop to side in squat position; opposite leg is straight, foot flat.
3. Push up off the bent leg and then squat down to the opposite side and repeat. Work up to three sets of 15.
(C) Lateral hops:
builds explosive power in legs
Tip: Maintain tucked position to keep tension in quads.
1. Stand sideways to marker on floor; assume tucked ski position.
2. Using explosive power, hop sideways up and over marker; keep both feet together.
3. Increase speed, height and distance hopped to the side.
4. Start with 20 to 30 seconds, building to one minute. Use 1-to-1 ratio of work to rest. Build to four sets.
(D) Squat thrusts:
great for legs, core, chest and shoulders
Tip: To make these easier, try them with hands on a step or slight incline (facing uphill); to make them harder, face downhill, hold dumbbells.
1. From standing position, crouch to a squat, palms on floor in push-up position.
2. In one smooth motion, kick both feet behind you, legs extended straight, landing on balls of feet; using core muscles, keep back straight, body level.
3. Explosively push off balls of feet, tucking knees back underneath, and return to squat position and stand.
4. Start with one set of 10 and build up to three sets of 30.