sweat for the slopes: a pre-ski season workout
Skiing is just plain awesome. Where else can you fly down a 45-degree slope strapped to a couple chunks of wood and plastic at 30 or 40 mph? The skier's high is on another level of thrilling. It doesn't matter whether you're a weathered ski guide or a recreational novice, the first day on the slopes is always brutal though. The legs burning, the next-day walking funny, not too mention the increased risk of injury. I've been on the slopes since I was 4 and I still feel sore every Day 1. Most people feel their quads sore after a day of skiing. Typically, this means their hamstrings are weak, the technique is a little off, they just plain weren't ready, or a combination of 'em all.
There's loads of evidence out there that fatigue and lack of knee stability cause the most injuries in skiing. More specifically, ACL injuries top that list. Muscle fatigue alters the skiing stance. It modifies the way the legs, back, and arms are supposed to work in unison to create that smooth, euphoric turn. Once the hamstrings get exhausted, we tend to stand up in our skis and veer away from the ideal, athletic, leaned forward stance. That's when you really start feeling that fire in the front of your legs.
This workout will focus on building equal and stronger knee stability. The quads and hamstrings work together to protect the ACL. The best approach to ski training is unilateral moves focusing on the eccentric, or negative, a portion of the move. Being on the slopes can feel like a marathon for your legs. So, we'll keep the sets a slow, controlled, tempo with high reps to imitate the real deal. Each set should last at least a minute. If not, then slow that negative down.
Warm-up- As with any workout, we have to get the body warm and some blood in those joints and muscles. Get in 10 minutes on the stair-master or bike. Something that requires the legs to start getting prepped is ideal. Once your starting to feel your shirt getting a little wet, let's roll!
Exercise 1. - Front Squat.
This move encourages that forward-leaning stance while getting the whole leg involved. 5 sets of 25. 3-second negative. You can use a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, or bodyweight.
Exercise 2. - Back and Forth Lunge.
This is a twist on a common leg exercise. One side always tends to be stronger, so keep the tempo the same throughout the whole movement. Do 4 sets of 16 reps per leg. Back and forth is one rep.
Exercise 3. - Nordic Leg Curl.
Now the real burn begins. This is a pure eccentric focus. You can make it as hard as you want from hand position. I dare you to try it with your hands above your head. Do 4 sets of 10 quality reps.
Exercise 4. - SUPERSET - One leg deadlift/Wall Sit.
Stretch, Foam Roll- I like to finish every leg workout with some foam rolling or stretching for 10 minutes. There's scientific evidence that rolling your legs out post-exercise reduces delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and enhances recovery. Yes, it feels like someone is stabbing your legs, but it hurts so good!
Enjoy the workout! Even getting this in once or twice before ski season will greatly enhance your shred time and more importantly lower injury risk.