Improve Your Snowboard and Ski Fitness in 8 Weeks: Phase 1

It might be ski season already, but don't assume your body is fully geared up to perform optimally on the slopes after a long offseason. Trying to ski or ride yourself into shape at the beginning of the season isn't the answer because your risk of injury goes up significantly when your ski fitness is lacking.

So for the next four weeks, as you're getting back into ski season, build your fitness base like any other athlete before you perform more challenging exercises for the final phase. You'll find that your performance will improve well above last year.

More: Avoid Ski Injuries

Basic Strength

Lower Body: Get real strong, basic leg exercises first, then you can add some jumping exercises. Leg press, step ups and squats win the strength versus time battle. Basic strength forms the basis for effective jumping exercises. Hamstring curls are really effective at maintaining muscular balance in the legs and should be in every resistance training workout. Right now, twice per week with three to four sets minimum of 8-12 repetitions.

Upper Body: It's more important than you would think—we've ignored it in the past but now we know that it helps with balance more than we had previously thought. Basic presses and pulls first, then shoulder exercises like frontal and rear deltoid raises. One key to integrating shoulder exercises is to perform those first on a regular floor, then try to perform the same weight and repetitions on a balance board.

Core: The core connects the upper and lower body, so right now basic movements are king, such as back extensions and diagonal crunches. About 30 percent of your training time in this area should involve hip rotation while the core is stable, like diagonal jumps holding a medicine ball just in front of the body. Remember, the core is composed of endurance muscles, so they respond best to lots of repetitions rather than heavy weights. For example, when performing crunches, try three sets of 25-30 repetitions.

More:  Strength Training

About the Author

Neil Wolkodoff, PhD, is Medical Program Director for The Denver Center for Health & Sport Science, www.denverchss.com, a medical testing and exercise center located at Rose Medical Center in Denver which provides physiological assessments and training programs for a wide variety of athletes. A former competitive skier and ski coach, he is author of the soon to be released book, Physical Skiing.

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