Ski Exercise Routines

Ski Exercise Routines
Alpine skiing is a dynamic sport. As such, it requires balance, agility and strength. A ski exercise program should be practiced year-round and incorporate exercises that resemble the movements of skiing. Stability balls, balance boards and a bosu ball are the most common ski fitness conditioning devices.

Dynamic Movement

All ski conditioning exercises should be dynamic in their nature. For example, a skier will get only minimal, if any, benefits from standing on one leg and practicing an exercise such as the yoga tree. The same is true of the classic wall sit, which involves leaning up against a wall with your knees bent at 90 degrees, as this will promote a static style of skiing.
"Transitional" is the buzz word in ski technique. As the skier links turns, she must us transitional balance as the weight moves from one foot to the other, and transitional strength as the legs flex and extend. Getting stuck in one position or with your legs perpetually flexed is an example of bracing, which is counter-productive to fluid technique.

Dynamic Balance Routine

In skiing, there is something called fore/aft balance and alignment. It applies to the way your weight transfers from the heel to the ball of the foot. Stand on one leg and slowly begin to shift your weight from the ball of your foot to your heel. The weight shift should be subtle, so your foot will remain flat at all times. When you feel proficient, try the movement with your eyes closed. You can eventually progress to performing this exercise on a balance board or bosu ball.

Strength, Endurance and Power Routine

Stand with your back against a wall and slide down until your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle. Then, perform small, rhythmic straightening and bending movements. Your legs should not straighten all the way, nor should they bend more than 90 degrees. Try to maintain the movement for at least one minute.
Intensify the exercise by moving away from the wall and performing a series of squats. Do two sets of 12 repetitions, and on the last set hold the squat and perform a pelvic tilt. This will put you into a skier's tuck position, which is used for ski racing. Hold the tuck and bend and straighten your legs as you did on the revised wall exercise.
You can make it more challenging by performing the exercise on a balance device and by holding a medicine ball. Toss it into the air and jump up, then as you catch the ball land in a squat. Since this is a high-impact exercise, do not do more than eight jumps at a time. Progress to practicing this on a bosu ball when you get good at it.

Edging Movements

The ability to perform fluid, carved turns is a milestone in a skier's education, as carving involves placing the ski on its edge. The action should always be initiated in the feet.
This off-slope exercise will help you memorize the carving sensation. Stand in bare feet in a skier's stance, with your feet no wider than hip-width apart and your knees slightly flexed. Begin by lifting the big toe of your right foot, which will make you want to shift your weight towards the right little toe, so do that. Your weight will then be on the little toe of the right foot and the big toe of your left foot. Then, flatten your right big toe, which should return your weight to center. Repeat on the other side.
Try to develop a fluid motion. As you gain proficiency you can practice this on two exercise discs or a bosu ball.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl Routine

Weak hamstrings will cause you to overuse your quads, which can in turn put you in a backseat alignment. The stability ball hamstring curl is one of the best exercises to correct this muscular imbalance, because it also involves the use of your core musculature.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ball, hip-width apart. Lift each vertebra from the floor until you are in a bridge position, then bend and straighten your legs for 8 to 12 repetitions. When you gain proficiency, try it on one leg at a time.

Article Written By Lisa Mercer

In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.

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