As the head volleyball coach at a local high school in the Vail Valley, I often think about the importance of both physical and mental preparation. Our team just finished the volleyball season last week and with winter being just around the corner, I’ve been considering the best ways to prepare my own body, physically, for this ski season. In order to start your ski vacation strong this winter, I encourage you to try these 5 simple, preseason ski conditioning workouts to experience the most out of your days on the mountain.
As you train, keep in mind:
- Pace yourself. Stay within your ability level but try to push yourself toward progression.
- Modify as needed.
- Warm-up and activate your muscles with a light jog or jumping jacks.
- Remember to rest for 30 seconds between each circuit exercise.
SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFTS: This movement will improve balance, increase strength within the hamstrings and glutes, and emphasize core engagement.
- It is optional to use either a kettlebell, dumbbell, or no weights during this exercise. If you choose a weight, hold it on the same hand as the leg that is raising up off the floor.
- Begin by standing straight up & slowly remove the placement of one foot from the ground. Let this leg push backward and allow your upper body to move forward as your hip acts as a hinge.
- Keep the supportive leg straight, with the exception of a slight bend in the knee. Move your hand, with the weight, toward the ground. Raise back up with the support of the muscles in your core, hamstrings, and glutes.
- Keep your back flat as you raise and lower your upper body along with the floating leg.
- Try 5 deadlift reps per leg before moving to the next exercise.
THE PLANK: Emphasizing the core is so important when training. This exercise focuses on your lower back and abs simultaneously and is very effective in building the muscles skiers and snowboarders use while navigating technical mountain terrain.
- Rest your elbows on the floor with your back facing the ceiling. Push your hips off the floor and hold your body parallel to the floor with only your elbows and toes supporting the weight.
- Hold yourself in this position for 60 seconds, maintaining a straight core and hips.
SQUATS: While on the ski hill, skiers and snowboarders are depending on quad muscles and are functioning nearly every moment. Simple front squats are incredibly helpful in efforts to prepare.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and push your hips back as your squat in the air until you are in a chair position. Do not allow your knees to overlap your toes. Once you have bent your knees & pushed your hips back far enough to be in a seated position and your quads are parallel with the floor, raise back up and repeat.
- Try 3 sets of 20 in this circuit.
LUNGES: Lunges not only increase the strength and stamina you carry in your core and legs, but also help with overall balance.
- Begin standing straight up with feet together and step one foot forward. Allow that leg to bend at the knee, to the extent that your front leg is creating a right angle. Your back leg should be nearly touching the floor. Make sure your front knee does not press beyond your toe.
- Stand up and alternate which leg leads the exercise. Focus on keeping your core engaged within the movements.
- Try 3 sets of 20 lunge steps in this circuit.
LATERAL SIDE JUMPS: This exercise will also be of great benefit to your balance on and off the mountain.
- Chose a position on the floor to use as a midpoint, hold your body straight, and then jump sideways over your chosen floor placement. Land on the outside foot, plant and allow your hips to dip into the supporting leg, then return to the opposite side.
- This exercise mimics skiing movements, so it will prepare your mind and body, both.
- Try 10 lateral side jumps per landing leg, before moving to the next exercise.
Finally, attempt this circuit 3 – 5 times as you prepare for your winter vacation. It is so helpful to strengthen your body before skiing and riding to increase your fun experiences in the snow. We can’t wait to see you out there!