Skiing not only gives the skier the adrenaline rush of speeding and slaloming down a mountain, but also provides a challenging workout. To get the most enjoyment from your time on the slopes, incorporate skiing exercises into your workouts to improve your skills for skiing. Aside from the obvious benefits of strength and flexibility exercises, improving balance will help you stay upright, and improving endurance will help you hold your tuck.
Improving balance is critical to keeping your skis on the ground as you rocket down the mountain, hitting moguls and avoiding obstacles. Olympic champion Bode Miller utilizes a variety of balance drills during his off-season training. Drills include rock hopping across a shallow creek for agility and slack-lining, which is tightrope walking on a rope tied between two trees. To set up a slack-line, tie a one-inch-wide piece of webbing between two trees about 20 to 30 feet apart, with the webbing approximately two feet off the ground. Focus your eyes on one spot in front of you and slowly walk the length of the webbing, using ski poles for balance. As your abilities improve, stop using the ski poles.
Coach Steve Ilg, author of "The Winter Athlete," recommends year-round strength training for alpine skiers that develops a general state of physical preparedness. Five weeks prior to the start of the ski season, Ilg says, skiers should concentrate their strength training on the following major muscles to help maintain the neutral position required in downhill skiing: quadriceps, anterior tibialis, gastrocnemius and peroneals. Exercises include squats; leg extensions; leg curls; and plyometrics such as jump squats, side hops and knee tuck jumps.
To improve flexibility, Ilg says skiers should give high priority to yoga and flexibility training: "It will come back to you a hundred times over in the form of injury prevention, mental focus, and spiritual development," he says. Ilg advocates participating in a yoga class at least three days a week. Specific yoga asanas would include the Forward Bend, Warrior Pose, Chair Pose and Recline Cobbler's Pose to work the hips and legs.
Since alpine skiing is generally fueled by anerobic energy pathways, not aerobic, the focus of your endurance training should be on developing muscular endurance. One exercise to incorporate in your training program is the ski crouch. Using only your body weight to start, descend into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Perform several reps with 10-second rest intervals between each repetition.
- National Geographic Adventure: Ski Like Bode Miller: Preseason Workout
- The Winter Athlete; Steve Ilg
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.