Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Check out Part Two of our Ski Boot Camp series.
Ah, fall. The crisp morning air. A slight crunch beneath your feet. And a surprise snow storm. What’s not to love?
However, while other regions get to revel in the giddiness of fall for at least three weeks (or however long this very tempermental season lasts), here in Colorado and much of the mountain west fall means one thing and one thing only: Winter. Is. Coming.
But if we know one thing, Jon Snow, it’s that Winter is a very — very! — good thing. Ski and snowboard season is almost upon us. And we can hardly contain our excitement.
But there’s nothing quite like an injury, or plain ol’ fatigue, to kill that first-tracks vibe. So we’re here with Adam Schafer, a trainer at Fitness in the City who has just the preseason training plan (hey, it’s never too early to start!) you need to get in shape now so you can shred as much as you want on Opening Day.
We recommend incorporating the following moves two to three times per week* into your regular exercise routine. Of course there’s no substitute for time spent on the mountain, but when combined with cardio activities like running, cycling or the stair climber, these moves will help build your strength and mobility in all the right places.
START WITH MOBILITY
Snow sports can put us into physically demanding positions. Splits on skis? No thank you. And while we might get pulled and stretched more than we want, we have to train our bodies to bend, not break. Working on both flexibility and mobility in our hips, hamstrings, quads and core is one way to help prevent injury. Start here.
Runner’s Lunge and Reach
This twist on the standard runner’s lunge simultaneous activates your hamstring and stretches your hip flexor, allowing for increased range of motion through the hip.
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- Begin in a plank position with hands directly below your shoulders.
- Step your right foot forward to the outer edge of your mat next to your right pinky finger.
- Shift weight onto your left arm. Bend your right elbow – hand on ear, elbow to food.
- Tap your right elbow to your right foot (or as close to the floor as possible). Pause for 3 seconds, sinking into the stretch.
- Twist open from your upper torso and reach your right arm all the way up into the air. Pause for 3 seconds.
- Elbow to the ground and twisting open to the sky counts as one rep. Repeat 8-12 times then switch sides.
Note: Feel free to go through this motion as slowly as you like, or increase speed as you start to warm up. There are no prizes for completing these moves quickly.
Dynamic Hip Twist
Anyone else feelin’ those high school gym class vibes with this move? It turns out, our PE teachers were onto something, despite the bad uniforms. Use this move to open your hips and stretch your groin and hip flexors.
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- Begin seated on the floor, knees upright, with your feet wider than hip-width apart.
- Let both knees fall to the right at a 90-degree angle. This is often called cheerleader position, or pretzel.
- Press down into your right shin to lift hips up. Come into a half, upright kneeling position on your right side.
- Really press your hips toward the right wall to open your hip flexors.
- Reach your left arm up and to the right to extend through the left side of your body.
- Pause for 3 seconds at the top.
- Slowly lower hips back down into the pretzel position.
- Return to center.
- Repeat on the left. That’s one rep.
- Complete 8-12 reps on both sides.
Note: The dynamic twist from side to side is specifically designed to open up both the inner and outer corners of your hip. However, there are definitely ways to motify. Come into a kneeling lunge and hinge back and forth to get a similar hip flexor stretch and activation. Reach the opposite arm of your knee up and overhead to stretch through the side of your body. Make sure to hit both sides!
Ankle Dorsiflexion (aka Ankle Mobility)
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If you’re lucky enough to belong to a gym with bands, or happen to own a few yourself, grab one now.
- Loop one end around a pole in your basement, a banister or a squat rack — whatever’s handy.
- Come into a kneeling lunge at the other side of the band at a distance where there will be plenty of tension.
- Loop your upright ankle through the band and lunge into it. Tip: Place the band right where the top of your foot meets your shin.
- Inhale and exhale to sink more deeply into the stretch.
- Repeat on both sides and hold for 30 seconds each.
*When it comes to increasing mobility, more really is better. Trying doing these moves as often as you can while you’re watching TV or waiting for your water to boil.
Check out part two of this series where we introduce moves that will get you strong for anything the mountain throws at you.
Want even more? Fitness in the City is offering a four-week ski and snowboard bootcamp so you can get mountain-ready with a group of awesome humans as motivated as you are. Check out the course and timing here. Register soon, though, because it starts October 20th!