Ski and snowboard season are just around the corner. Planning the winter resort getaway with families and friends is half the fun. Keep the other half truly fun and make sure you come back whole and injury free by changing up some of your workout now to get yourself in shape specifically preparing for the slopes.
Winter sports require agility, flexibility, and strength. If you take the time now in the weeks before the season starts, not only will you prevent injuries, but you will have more fun as you will find yourself able to push it all day long and go your limit.
We have come up with some exercises specifically targeting hamstrings, knees, low back, quads, and glutes. But before targeting those areas, make sure you are beefing up your cardio and not just focusing on the muscle groups. Hitting the slopes or trails all day is taxing, so make sure you are challenging your whole body, including your heart.
- Single leg Squats: Not only does this great exercise build your knee strength, but it does so specifically to each knee individually as you will put those demands on them on the slopes. As you squat on one leg, extend the other straight out in front of you, until the weight bearing thigh is parallel to the floor. Take care that you are squatting back and so your knee doesn’t push forward over your toe. Repeat 15-20 ties and then alternate legs
- Back Extensions: these target your last in your lower back and are really critical to prevent back strain after a day on the snow. Lying face down on a mat, place your hands behind your head. Start with your abs contracted and squeeze your back so you lift your chest off the floor. Focus on lengthening your torso as you lift for good form. This exercise is done slowly, holding at the top and then lowering for one rep. Repeat 15 times. For a greater challenge, lift your feet off the floor at the same time.
- Hamstring curls: Using a weight machine or resistance bands, lie face down on the bench with your legs extended straight behind you, bands attached to your ankle. Curl your legs one at a time, drawing your heel toward your butt, taking care not to arch your back. Repeat 10-15 times on each leg, alternating legs for 3 sets each.
- Dead lift: Using either dumbbells or a barbell, start with the weights in your hands, arms extended straight down in front of your thighs. Start with your knees slightly bent and keep the weights close to the front of your legs as you lean forward from your hips and back straight. Lean/lower the weights to the floor slowly contracting your glutes as you come back up. 15-20 reps, 3 sets.
- Wall sits: This challenges your quads and knees with your own bodyweight and conditions them to handle the turns on the slopes. Stand next to a wall with your back, placing your feet about a foot out. Slide down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this with your knees directly over but not in front of your ankles. Try to hold each time for 30 seconds, repeating 3 times or more.
Do the above exercises 3 times a week for at least 3 weeks prior to your ski or snowboard trip and you will be amazed at the difference!
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