What off-season? When the last bit of snow melts away, yes, it’s sad, but it also means it’s time to out-train and outperform the competition. Summer training is vastly important when it comes to improving for the coming season. Here are 4 of our favorite exercises to get you in tip-top ski racing shape.
(Safety note: start slow and build up with all of these. Don’t risk injury. Ask your parents or coach before trying any of these exercises, and always have a spotter/trainer. Form is most important in these (and any) exercises, so perfect that first)
We wrote a full post on squats a while back, and you should read it. But here’s what you should know: squats are a ski racer’s meat and potatoes in the gym. They’re the ultimate way to build leg strength and core stability. Here’s a nice video on how to do them correctly:
Deadlifts are one of my favorite exercises. Why? Because they’re hardcore! They are probably the most functional lift you can do in the gym, and they probably hit the largest amount of muscles for one exercise. They’re a great way to build a strong core and back while also maintain hamstring strength. Here’s a video on how to do them:
3. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are kind of the secret weapon of fitness. They work a crazy amount of muscles simultaneously, and they do so in a dynamic, functional way. Careful, though, because they are fairly complicated form-wise when you first begin. I suggest you go back and read our full article on kettlebell swings. If you don’t have time, though, here’s the basic formula (a la Tim Ferriss):
• Stand with your feet 6–12 inches outside of shoulder width on either side, each foot pointed outward about 30 degrees. If toes pointed straight ahead were 12:00 on a clock face, your left foot would point at 10:00 or 11:00, and your right would point at 1:00 or 2:00.
• Keep your shoulders pulled back (retracted) and down to avoid rounding your back.
• The lowering movement (backswing) is a sitting-back-on-a-chair movement, not a squatting- down movement.
• Do not let your shoulders go in front of your knees at any point.
• Imagine pinching a penny between your butt cheeks when you pop your hips forward. This should be a forceful pop, and it should be impossible to contract your ass more. If your dog’s head gets in the way, it should be lights out for Fido.
75 total reps, 2-3 times a week, is the recipe.
For balance, your best bet might be – and you’ve probably guessed it – slacklining. No longer just for hippies, slacklining is an amazing workout for ski racers, or any athletes whose sport requires balance. Here’s how your do it: find two trees about 20-30 feet apart and string your about two feet (.5 meters) off the ground between them. Then you just walk slowly across the rope. It requires a lot of concentration and balance, so start slowly and over time you can move the rope a little higher and start doing single-leg squats on the rope. Bonus: slacklining is actually fun.