For the last post of our series on the Winter Olympics, we visited with the staff at The Backpacker for tips on ski trips or other winter excursions. What we found was that on top of being a really cool, local store, they were also extremely well-equipped to help with every step of the process from booking a trip to preparing with the appropriate gear and exercises!
Backwards Treadmill Walk (Suggested 3 sets of 1 minute; build up to 3 sets of 3 minutes)
Start walking very slowly on the treadmill. increase the incline as high as it goes, and very carefully, turn around so you’re facing backwards - your toes should be pointing toward the end of the belt, like you’re walking backwards uphill. As you walk, drop to a squat so that your knees are at nearly 90 degrees - similar to the tuck position of skiing.
Squat Jump (Suggested 4 sets of 4)
Sart with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down so your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump high in the air. Try to land softly on your feet.
Medicine Ball Pump Squat (Suggested 3 sets of 1 minute)
Hug a heavy medicine ball (15 to 50 pounds) to your chest and lower into a squat position. Staying low, doing short pump squats (pulsing up and down about an inch or so) without coming back up to start. Your muscles should always be contracting.
Romanian Deadlift (Suggested 4 sets of 8)
Grab a light barbell (you can increase the weight as you up the intensity). Bend your knees slightly, keeping your back straight, pusch your hips backward as you lean forward with the barbell, hinging at the hips. Push your hips forward and return to a standing position. Emphasize keeping your back straight and your core tight.
Single-Leg Eccentric Leg Press (4 sets of 4 on each side)
Load the leg press with about 60 to 40 percent of what you can lift with both legs. With one leg, lower the plate down for six seconds. When you’re at the bottom, push up with both feet. Go slowly, resisting the weight coming down on you to keep the movement smooth and in control.
These exercises are at the suggestion of Alex Moore, high performance strength and conditioning coordinator at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. They’re designed to build endurance in the Quads and Glutes, which are used constantly in skiing/snowboarding, and to build strength in the Hamstrings, which is essential in the prevention of ACL injuries. ACL and other knee injuries are quite common in skiing/snowboarding; so, if you plan to go on one of these trips, you should take your physical preparation very seriously!