7 exercises that’ll keep your body conditioned so you can play in the snow all season
Winter sports aren’t just fun; they can also be great exercise for your whole body. Unfortunately, because we usually only participate in these sports for a few months each year, we might engage our muscles in a way they’re not used to. This can mean getting tired more quickly, and putting your body at risk for injury. So, get your money’s worth out of your lift ticket and prepare your body before hitting the slopes. You’ll have more fun, more endurance and be less sore and tired afterwards. I recommend starting a training program four to six weeks before ski season,
but it’s never too late! Something is always better than nothing!
For overall endurance I recommend a cardio workout that raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated for 30-45 minutes, three to five days per week, PLUS one long, slow workout for 60-plus minutes per week. Here are some of my favourite exercises for building strength and balance in your legs and core. You can begin with three to six sets of 10–20 reps of each exercise.
This exercise works the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, strengthens stabilizer muscles and supports ligaments that help your major leg muscles work more efficiently, making you
stronger and less prone to injury.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width or more apart, arms at your sides or in front at chest
level, and contract your abs. Keeping your body weight on your heels, keep your back straight from your head to your tailbone, bend your knees and sit back, lowering your body as low as you can go. At the bottom of your movement, press through your heels and contract your glutes as you slowly raise your body back to the starting position.
This exercise builds lower-body strength, balance, flexibility and stability in your legs and hips.
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders back, looking forward. Contract your abdominal muscles to keep your spine straight and stable. Step forward with one leg, keeping your back straight and tall. Lower your hips until your front knee is bent at approximately a 90-degree angle. Your front knee should not extend over your ankle, and your back knee should be just above the ground. Keep your weight in your front heel as you push back up to starting position. Repeat, alternating sides.
Side Lunge Squat
This combination side lunge and squat exercise is good for stretching and strengthening your groin and inner thighs while also working your hips and thighs.
Stand tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, heels flat on the ground, toes pointed slightly outward. Initiate the movement by pushing your hips backwards. Bend your left leg, and lean to your left. The left knee should be bent, left heel flat on the floor, and right leg extended with your weight over the left side of your body. This is one rep. Return to a standing position and descend doing the same movement on the other side.
This exercise works the hamstrings, gluts, ankles, and core, building strength and balance.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, legs straight with a soft bend in the knees. Shift your weight to the right leg, keep your left leg straight and slowly lift your leg and foot behind you.
Simultaneously, slowly start leaning forward at the waist until your torso is parallel to the floor. Keep your arms straight, at shoulder height, and perpendicular to the floor at all times. At the bottom of the position, your body should be in a straight line from the top of your head to the bottom of your left foot. Return by bringing your left leg down, while keeping it straight, and lifting your torso up until you’re standing again. That’s one rep. Repeat all reps on one side, then switch legs.
Side Leg Lift
This exercise builds strength in the outer thighs and the hip abductors for better range of motion in the hips, body stabilization, and improved endurance. Side leg raises can also help prevent injury and pain in the hip, knees and lower back.
Stand with your legs straight, knees slightly bent, toes facing forward. Keep your torso and back straight throughout the exercise. Put your body weight onto your left foot and lift your right leg, foot flexed, up and out to your side. As you exhale, bring the leg back down to meet the left. Repeat all reps on one side, then switch legs.
This exercise works your obliques (your side abdominal muscles), to strengthen your core and stabilize your spine and torso.
Sit tall with your knees bent, feet in front of you, lean back slightly keeping your spine straight so that you are in a “V”
position. Tighten your abs and twist your body at the waist, to one side and then the other. Exhale as you twist, reaching back and touch the ground behind you. For added resistance, you can hold a hand weight or medicine ball. One twist to each side is one rep.
This exercise works your upper and lower abdominal muscles for strength and stability in your core.
Begin by lying on the ground with your lower back pressed flat into the floor and your head and shoulders raised slightly. Place your hands lightly on the sides of your head; don’t cross your fingers behind. Be careful not to pull your head with your hands at any point during the exercise. Lift both legs just off the ground, extend one out straight and the other and bend your knee towards your chest. Twist through your core so the opposite arm comes towards the raised knee. You don’t need to touch elbow to knee, instead focus on moving through your core as you turn your torso. The turn that brings the elbow closer to the knee comes from your core. Alternate sides, bringing together opposite elbow and knee, that’s one rep
Photography by: Richard Sibbald
Glasses: TrueDark • Clothing & Shoes: Asics
About the Author
Noreen Lange has a BS in kinesiology with a minor in fitness, nutrition and health. With over 10 years combined experience as a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and nutrition and wellness consultant, Noreen has worked with celebrities, high profile athletes, and professional sports teams including Tony Gwynn and the San Diego Padres. CommentsRead Bio Read Posts