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Written by Lachy Exelby for Snowcentral
Planning on going away this winter for a sneaky shred? Remember how you felt at the end of the day on your last trip? Remember ever having to slow down, stand up, and rest your legs for a moment while you recover. Meanwhile that ski school you were stuck behind earlier has caught up and is in front of you again.
Remember kids, the key to skiing is to take up as much of the hill as you can (Photo: Tourismusregion Alpbachtal)
Whatever your reason, whether to get that extra pop or press, help stomp landings, improve endurance, or reduce your likelihood of injury, strength and endurance training is a great way to improve your time on the slopes. Here are a few exercises we’ve found are sure to put you in the right direction for this season, and what better time to start than now. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a gym, we’re going to recommend exercises that you can do in your living room (while watching Season 5 of Game of Thrones dun dun dududun dun…).
Lunges can either be done on the spot, or along a straight line.
- Start in a standing position, hips forward and take a long step.
- Slowly lower yourself so that your front leg bends around 90 degrees and your back knee nearly touches the ground. Remember to keep your hips forward and look straight ahead
- Spring back up to your standing position, and lunge with your opposite foot. Alternatively, spring into your next step without pausing at the top. This helps to make your stabilising muscles work harder.
The key is to lower yourself slowly and explode back up. There are a few variations you can add into your lunge. Try holding some weight either side of you to increase difficulty, or over your head to engage your core. Don’t have any weights? Keep some empty milk bottles and fill them with water. Take 10-20 steps for 3 sets, depending on your level of fitness.
Feel the burn (Photo: Men’s Health)
Squat jumps, a great to train explosive strength for more pop, stomping landings, and absorbing the lumps and bumps you’ll inevitability find at every resort.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, arms stretched out front.
- Push your hips back, keeping your back straight, and squat down till your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Hold this position for 2 seconds then jump as high as you can. Swinging your arms down will help you balance.
- Land with both feet, absorbing your landing with bent knees
- Duck back down into the squat position for 2 seconds before launching into another jump. Aim for 3 sets of 10 as a starting point, increase the repetitions as required.
Similar to lunges, concentrate on lowering yourself slowly and exploding upwards
Try turning your squat jumps into Burpees! At the bottom of your squats, jump into a push-up, then spring into your squat jump. This really gets the heart rate going and is a great way to balance your workout, targeting your upper body as well as your lower.
(Photo: Men’s Health)
For this exercise, you’ll need to find yourself a stair. You can do these using two feet at a time or one.
- Position your feet hip width apart (or on the one foot), resting the back of your foot off the edge of the stair. You should be resting on the balls of your feet now. Keep your back straight, brace yourself on the hand rail if you need for balance.
- Raise yourself up on to the balls of your feet, then lower yourself so your heels are below the edge of the step and repeat.
Again, concentrate on lowering yourself slowly, building up tension, then bounce up onto the balls of your feet. Calf muscles are notoriously hard to train, so do as many repetitions as you can before burning out. Then repeat two more times. You can add difficulty to these ones by adding weight, or by using one foot at a time.
(Photo Men’s Fitness)
Finally, an exercise that sounds easy. Which it is… in a sense.
- Find yourself a wall and lean against it
- Slide down the wall so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, like a sitting position.
Hold this position for as long as you can, keeping track of your time so can set yourself newer and harder targets each time.
Your thighs make a perfect platform to rest the popcorn on (Photo: Men’s Fitness)
Last but not least, we’re going to end with bridges for a killer core. Find a stop watch (phones work too) and a nice spot of the floor. Again, there are many variations to this exercise, but a good one to start with is the side plank and front plank.
For the side plank;
- Lay on the floor on your side, resting on your elbow and forearm with your shoulder sitting above your elbow. Your upper arm should be vertical. If you have a hard floor, I recommend grabbing a towel to place under your elbows.
- Lift your hips off the ground so that you are resting on your feet. Rest your free hand on your hip, and keep your legs and back straight. Doing this in front of a mirror will help to keep your correct form.
For the front plank;
- Lay on the floor, resting on your toes and both elbows, facing down.
- Lift your hips off the ground, keeping your back and legs straight.
Similar to wall sits, hold these for as long as you can maintain straight legs and back. Keep track of how long you can do them for and keep increasing your targets. Try starting with a side plank resting on your left elbow, then roll into a front plank, followed by a side plank on your right elbow.
(Photo: Men’s Health)
In addition to these exercises, try to plan a balanced exercise routine. Throw in some dips and push-ups for the upper body, and cardiovascular exercises like walking/jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. Keep these tips in mind and you’re sure to leave ski school far behind.