A casual pre-ski exercise routine...
February 13, 2012 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Casual Pre-Ski Daily Exercise Routine: I'm going Skiing for 3 days in March, (Italy, Dolomites yea!) and thought perhaps I should at least do some kind of exercises over the next 3-4 weeks to try and increase my stamina on the slopes.

Last year I was pretty sore and tired at the end of the day so thought perhaps there was something simple I could do for 30 mins a day that might help a little. I"m 36 male and use a bike as my primary transportation around town but don't jog or go to the gym or any of that. I'm not 'over-weight' but have a little middle-aged 'spread'.

Looking for something simple I can do at home to add some endurance, enjoyment, stamina in March.

Oh and I don't really know gym / exercise jargon; what exactly are 'lunges'? 'quads' are just the thighs right?
posted by mary8nne to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah, lunges are definitely the go to thing to build up a bit for skiing. And yes, quads are your thighs.
posted by Grither at 8:45 AM on February 13, 2012

Bike is a pretty good exercise for ski, maybe bike more than usual.
and stop using elevators too :)
posted by anto1ne at 8:50 AM on February 13, 2012

Lunges and lateral hops are great for getting in shape for skiing. Here's a little video working in both.
posted by mrgoat at 8:59 AM on February 13, 2012

The chair pose gets to the same stuff, for me, that downhill skiing does. Really enhances the ability to stay in that semi-crouch.
posted by Danf at 9:41 AM on February 13, 2012

It's actually reasonably hard to work your quads under eccentric load. It's this type of loading that results in the thigh pain the day after skiing. One way to do it, other than running down long (measured in miles) hills is to run down the steps in a tall building. Do that several times, you can even take the elevator back up, and you're thighs will let you know the next day. The good news is that even one session like this can substantially improve your ability to use your thighs eccentrically without trashing them. You have time for several sessions between now and then.
posted by OmieWise at 9:49 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

FWIW: I teach skiing full-time in the (North American) winter.

Bicycling is the classic cross-training sport for skiers. A lot of us cycle extensively off season.

I've never heard Omie's advice before about running down stairs but I like it a lot.

Lunges, lateral hops, and general plyometrics are great, but don't overdo it. Unless you're skiing very dynamically/energetically it may be throwing too much at the problem.

Chair pose and wall sits: Very good, BUT, keep it easy at first to save your knees. Although most demos show the knees at a right angle, you don't need to get to 90 degrees for them to work; even 120 is fine. If you feel any pain, or even the hint of pain, back off. This caution comes not from me, but from a friend who has raced downhill mountain bikes on the World Cup circuit, so if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me.
posted by Opposite George at 9:57 AM on February 13, 2012

A question for OmieWise: In running down stairs, should you focus on landing on the ball of the foot, or somewhere else?
posted by Opposite George at 10:17 AM on February 13, 2012

I agree with Opposite George, wall sits in front of the telly would work really good. Agility drills, like hopping, a couple of times a week isn't necessarily a bad idea, you could look into dot drills
posted by P.o.B. at 12:54 PM on February 13, 2012

Oooh, I just did this. And it TOTALLY WORKED. I am in not great shape, I'm a little older than you, I don't walk anywhere EVER, and I'm a rather devoted smoker, so I was like "Uh oh, I am going to be at 12,000 feet in a month and also skiing I guess?" So I sprang into action, and the things mentioned above are all great. But you know, tailor to fit:

• Yes, absolutely start watching TV or whatever while standing against the wall with your knees bent, flat of your back against the wall, and RIGHT, absolutely don't go for the straight 90 degrees. THIS WORKS. And how. I was doing this up to five times a day, until it burned, and then I'd stop.

• "Lateral hops," yes, that's what they're called. Um, I put a stick of gum on the floor and jumped over it side-to-side 100 times, then ate the gum. Then put a cigarette on the floor, jumped over it side-to-side 100 times, then smoked it. Jumping over anything taller was a recipe for injury.

• I also jumped rope till I got tired, pretty much every day. (That was not for very long.)

• Lunges are... fine. Do not lunge that deep, as in the video above! You're trying to strengthen your quads and your knee ligaments, not tear yourself apart.

• Swimming and Stairmaster and a bit of yoga really helped too. Getting my hips and lower back loosened up probably saved me. I spent a lot of time preparing for skiing on the floor.

• So does low-resistance biking, stationary or otherwise.

• And we did the "running up and down a flight of stairs" thing with a trainer too. That just seems like an accident waiting to happen, so I didn't do that much, BUT I tried to take the stairs everywhere I went for a month beforehand, and that helped.

All these things conspired to: strengthen my abs and core, taking pressure off my back; preparing my knees for what could have been deadly strain; and preparing the lungs and heart. If I can go skiing and not injure myself and not die and have fun even, YOU CAN TOO!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 1:25 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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