By Daniel Berlin
DHAC Exercise Physiologist
As the winter season approaches, many people will be heading towards their favorite mountains or ski resorts. Whether you engage in downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, or snowboarding, the body needs to prepare for that type of movement. Often times a person will find themselves too out of breath to endure the first day of winter sports, and too sore in the legs to enjoy the second. Adhering to a specific training program ahead of time will better prepare the body for the season. Training will also provide more stability in the knee joint and prevent injury.
Sports specific training involves exercises that focus on the various skills needed for particular activities. Skiing and snowboarding require cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. Here are a few lower body exercises that may help increase your performance ski and snowboard season.
SQUATS: Squats are a great sport specific exercise because they engage the muscles used to maintain the legs in a crouched position and provide postural stability while tearing down the slope. Start with just your bodyweight, progress to dumbbells, then add the Olympic bar for added resistance. Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions.
LUNGES: Lunges engage the muscles used for snow sports and also assist with increasing balance. Start with just a stationary lunge using only bodyweight. Progress to dumbbells, then for a greater challenge perform walking lunges with added resistance. Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions for each leg.
WALL SITS: This exercise will promote muscular endurance in the legs. Start with your back against a wall and slide your butt down until your legs form a 90 degree angle. The knees should be directly over the ankles. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Perform 3 sets for 30 seconds then progress to 1 minute.
Perform these exercises 2-3 times per week for 4 weeks before the start of your snow sport season.
Also, for cardio-respiratory endurance it would be a good idea to incorporate one cardio class per week such as Spinning.
Stay tuned for the next installment of SNOW SPORTS CONDITIONING. I will discuss some good exercises for the core to incorporate in your program. What are your favorite ways to get ready for winter fun?