Ease Into Shaping Up For Snow Sports With Five Basic Exercises.
[Editor Note: It’s time to focus on strengthening legs and hips for snow sports. This year, we are going to offer three “flights” of exercise with increasing challenge and intensity for the same group of muscles. We’ll publish these about two weeks apart, so get started now. We asked Rick Silverman, a physical therapist and ultra marathon athlete from Ipswich, MA, to suggest which exercises to focus on and to demonstrate them for you. Rick is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with an MS in Physical Therapy. He’s also a 25-year telemark skier, climber and kayaker. As with all activities like this, you may want to check in with your physician if you have any questions or complications.]
Please don’t start the snow sports season without toning up your muscles. If you don’t get into shape, you’re inviting strains and sprains at the the very least. You’ll tire more easily and, at the end of the day, you’ll be risking more serious injury.
Here are five basic, get-started exercises that you can do with minimal time, equipment and space. This exercise series will just focus on hips and legs. There are other resources online for core, lower and mid-back and shoulders and arms. We will add intensity and variation to these basic exercises in a couple of weeks.
Do at least two sets of eight reps of each for starters.
Quad Wall Squats
Either use an exercise ball or just slide up and down a smooth wall. Squat down so your thighs are 90 degrees to your lower leg, and no further.
Leg Straight Raises
The key with this one is keeping the leg you are raising straight and your lower back flat on the floor. Feel that hamstring! Raise to 45 degrees and down, not letting your heel touch the floor.
Here’s one that focuses on hips and quads. You can put your back leg on a chair or on the floor. Great one for balance, too.
Keep your butt off the floor. If you don’t have an exercise ball, use a desk chair with rollers.
Outer Hip Abductors
Tight hips can cause mischief if they are not strong and supple. These muscles run up to the central back and down to your knees. If you have back problems, strengthening hips and core might help. This exercise is for the outer hip abductors. We’ll work the other hip muscles in a few weeks. Try to keep your toes pointing straight ahead. A variation is to lift your leg with toe pointing down and lowering with toe pointing up. Then reverse the pattern.
In a couple of weeks, Rick will show you how to notch up these exercises to the next level. Right now, get some of these started. And Just Do It!