By Lisa Densmore Ballard
Whether you’re looking ahead to next NASTAR season, or just looking to get fit and have fun in the sun this off-season, these five exercises are a no-brainer for smart ski racers.
The U.S. Ski Team, various ski clubs, ski academies and personal ski trainers commonly prescribe them as part of any dryland training program. Start out modestly — one set of 15 reps, working up to 3 sets by next ski season.
1. Burpees with a Jump
Description: From a standing position, squat down, placing your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick both feet out simultaneously behind you into a push-up position, then kick your feet back under you. Spring into the air. Land and repeat.
Benefit: Improves coordination and explosive leg power. Also helps strengthen your core when your legs extend behind you and then contract back under you again.
Too easy? Wear a weight vest.
2. Side Lunges
Description: From a standing position, lunge at a 45-degree angle to the side, knees bending to a 90-degree angle, then return to a standing position.
Benefit: Builds eccentric leg strength similar to skiing.
Too easy? Hold a medicine ball.
3. Heel Walk
Description: Walk across the floor on your heels with your toes lifted off the ground.
Benefit: Strengthens the muscles in the lower leg and ankle that drive the knees forward and into the hill every turn.
Too easy? Alternate with heel raises (rising up on tippy toes, then lowering your heels back to the ground).
4. Forward Leg Thrusts
Description: Sitting on the ground, feet together and knees bent, rock back slightly placing your hands on the ground for support, slightly behind your hips. Balancing on your buttocks, extend your feet straight ahead about 3 inches off the ground, then to the left and then to the right.
Benefit: Strengthens abdominals while improving coordination.
Too easy? Keep your hands off the ground and just balance on your butt.
5. 3-Way Back Raises
Description: Lie on the floor face down, hands above your head. Lift both arms and shoulders off the ground. Next, keeping your hands on the floor above your head, lift your feet off the floor simultaneously. Then alternate opposite hand and foot off the ground.
Benefit: Strengthens back muscles for better core stability and to reduce back soreness.
Too easy? Do another set.
For more exclusive snowsport content, visit the Premium section of SkiRacing.com: www.skiracing.com/premium