Focus on Fitness: Three aspects for a pre-ski season workout
Thanks for joining me for my three-part column outlining a ski-specific fall workout.
Last time, I wrote about cardio, which should ideally be done for 30 minutes per day. After your cardio portion, plan to spend about 10 to 15 minutes on either plyometric or strength exercises. Alternate plyometric and strength exercises each day.
Plyometrics aim to increase power by working on both speed and strength. Plyometrics are a great match to skiing, since they are done for short intervals followed by a rest period, just like taking a run and then sitting on the lift.
All the following exercise should be done as quickly and explosively as possible. Complete as many repetitions of each exercise as you can for 30 seconds. Then rest for 30 seconds before moving to the next exercise. At the end of all five, rest for a longer interval, about one to two minutes. Then, repeat the whole group two more times. As you get stronger, you can either increase the amount of time you perform each exercise or increase the number of sets that you complete.
Part 2: Plyometrics
• Squat jumps: Move into a squat position. Push off the ground and jump up, fully extending your arms above your head. When your feet touch the ground, move immediately back into the squat position.
• Lateral jumps: Find a vertical line or think of an imaginary line. Start with your feet together with both feet on the right side of the line. Then hop back and forth over the line as quickly as you can.
• Box jumps: Find a solid object approximately one to two feet tall that will support your weight. Certain park benches and bleachers work well for this. If you’re at home, you can use the bottom stair in a staircase. With feet shoulder width apart, jump up onto the box and land in a semi-squat position. Step back down and repeat. Even though you’re exploding off the ground, use the hang time in the air to land as softly as possible on the box.
• Square jumps: Create an imaginary cross in front of you. Think of the top left section as No. 1, the top right section as No. 2, the bottom right section as No. 3 and the bottom left section as No. 4. Jump from No. 1 to NO. 2 to No. 3 to NO. 4. Once you reach No. 4, jump from No. 4 to No. 3 to No. 2 to No. 1. Repeat as quickly as possible.
• One-leg lateral leaps: Stand on your left leg with your arms centered in front of you and your right leg at a 90-degree angle off the ground. Leap directly sideways onto your right leg. Gain complete balance on your right leg, then leap back to your left leg. Start with short leaps, and as you become stronger, increase the distance of each leap.
Be sure to check back in for the final column, which will deal with some strength exercises pertaining to skiing.
Valerie Powell is swim lesson coordinator at Old Town Hot Springs, competition services administrator at Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation and assistant Alpine ski coach at Steamboat Springs High School.
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