Yes, we’re halfway to winter. Perhaps more than half way in some places, and it’s time to get serious about working out. No doubt, you’ve probably been mountain biking, hiking, and maybe some climbing mixed in there, but there’s always more that can be done to ensure you’re strong and injury-free this season. Read on.
Bands and Foam Rollers
Elastic bands and foam rollers are used religiously by physical therapists to turn tight tendons and muscles into supple powerhouses while also rolling out any knots or aches. These items are inexpensive and can typically be found at your gym, so there’s no excuse for not utilizing their healing abilities.
Try to incorporate stretching and rolling into your daily workout routine and pay close attention to your IT bands, glutes, quads, and the areas around your knees.
Balance, core strength, and stability are extremely important for skiers (and boarders). A nifty little device, the Bosu Ball (also found at most gyms) is an excellent way to train for the slopes.
Try routines consisting of two-legged squats, one-legged squats, and lunges.
Trail Running and Hiking
To gain stability and stamina, hiking and train running are excellent activities for skiers. Particularly, the downhill hiking or running simulates some of the same movements and stances found in skiing and help to build ankle, quad, and glute strength. Just be sure to take care of those knees, as they can take a major beating on the downhill.
Yoga and Swimming
These two exercises are particularly amazing if you are coming back from an injury. Both are low-impact, regenerative, and, simply put, they just feel good.
Skiing requires considerable cardio, which is where swimming can help. Yoga strengthens, stabilizes, and helps work out any persistent kinks in your body: all important for floating in powder. Not to mention, your body can really take a beating during the winter months, so participating in restorative exercise is a must.
Many outdoor enthusiasts scoff when you mention weight-training. Their logic? The wilderness provides them with all of the exercise they need. Fair enough, but don’t be too quick to dismiss hitting the indoor gym. There are plenty of machines that can dramatically enhance your strength, including the seated leg-press which is excellent for your quads, glutes, and can help build knee strength and stability.
Alright, so here’s something to try. Instead of mountain biking or running every day, why not incorporate all of the above into your routine for two weeks and see how it feels: Yoga and swimming one day, weight training and the Bosu Ball the next, a good hike or trail run mid-week, then rip it up with your favorite sport(s) throughout the weekend. Be sure to foam roll and use elastic bands throughout.
If you incorporate all of these exercises, there’s no doubt you’ll be healthier and stronger come season ski.