Before you hit the slopes this year, try some of these exercises to get you into tip-top shape.
Unless you’re out on the water surfing all summer or out on the streets skateboarding, your ski legs will feel a little shaky after the first day on le piste. So now would be a good time to hit the gym and dedicate some pre-season training to get those legs into shape.
If you already work out on a regular basis, try switching this routine out for your leg training day. It will hone your legs so that you’ll ski like a pro when everybody else is winded by the first run of the day.
The best type of training for strong ski legs is plyometrics. This explosive style of training will challenge even the most ardent athlete. But once you master the art of adding spring to balancing exercises, you’ll notice a difference in your reaction time on the slopes. If you’re an aggressive skier, this is important. This type of explosive training teaches the muscles to fire faster and with more strength, resulting in a more powerful and agile skier.
Plyometrics also help to improve balance, which is the key to being a good skier. It is a skill that can be developed with the use of a balance or wobble board. Having good balance for a skier means that your upper body is free to launch into those powerful push-offs coming out of turns and off moguls. Balance will add confidence to your game and give you better grip in the snow and a more intuitive approach to the terrain. It goes without saying that a strong core is a must-have for high-performance skiers.
Plyometric Training for Powerful Ski Legs
If you don’t have a wobble board or BOSU ball, then try using a pillow. Practice standing on the board on one leg without falling over. Make sure you maintain proper alignment, keeping your core muscles flexed, and focus on your breathing.
Round the Clock
These are like lunges that improve the balance of your standing leg and the strength of your lunging leg. Working your way in a clockwise direction, power out as far as you can into a lunge, landing delicately and with control on the foot. Hop back to center again. Work your way through all the numbers, starting with 12, moving in a clockwise direction. When you’ve completed the circle, start again with the other foot.
Exercise 1: You’ll need an exercise ball and a medicine ball for this exercise. While kneeling on the exercise ball, hold the medicine ball in both hands at the chest. As you try to secure your balance, focus on your breathing and keeping your core tight. Hold for 30 seconds.
Exercise 2: To add difficulty to this exercise, press the medicine ball out from the chest.
Exercise 3: Next, drop the medicine ball and try to stand on the exercise ball. Use extreme caution with this exercise.
Exercise 4: Practice jumping from the ground up onto a chair or stair, holding your crouching position for a count, then propeling back up and down to the floor.
Exercise 5: Repeat exercise 4 but use an exercise ball instead of a chair of stair.
Hold each exercise for 30 seconds.
These are squats with a spring jump. Squat down and touch the ground, then propel up as high as you can, landing delicately and back down to a squat to repeat. Perform these for a timed set of 30 to 60 seconds.
Lay a ski pole on the floor and stand sideways to it. Next drop down into a squat and jump over the pole with feet together and back again, side to side for a timed set of 30 to 60 seconds. Use your hands to help with balance and speed. To add difficulty to this exercise, change the ski pole for a hockey bag or bench to add height to your jumps.
Standing on a step, chair or bench, drop down into a one-legged squat, then spring up as high as you can, landing on the same foot. Do this exercise for a timed set of 30 to 60 seconds, then switch to the other leg and repeat.