preseason training for the slopes, skiing training, snowboarding training Preseason Training for the Slopes Part 4

Here we are at the final week of our preseason training program for the slopes!  By now those legs of yours should be starting to feel stronger and are getting less tired…..and make a skootch sore!  If you haven’t started yet, what are you waiting for?  You still have plenty of time so get started now because before you blink you’ll be standing in a lift line!

Whether you ski or snowboard, starting your preseason training for the slopes now will improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility in time to improve your overall performance and decrease your chance of injury on the slopes.  You ever hear anyone come back from a week of skiing or boarding complain that they miss having trouble walking after their trip because their legs are so sore?   Yeah, me neither!

Preseason Basics

Cardio: When it comes to cardio, pick your poison. You can do something as cheap as running, enjoy the fall foliage on your road or mountain bike, or you can spend the money to get a ski trainer. The type of cardio is not as important as the fact you are doing cardio.

Stretching: Stretching is an important component for the slopes. With greater flexibility, you can improve your overall ability and prevent significant injuries. There are various types of stretching techniques; static versus dynamic, to foam roll or not, and various types of yoga. Ultimately, everyone is different and flexibility is just as different between different types of people. Therefore, the key is consistency. Whatever method you feel improves your flexibility the most, utilize it on a consistent basis to get the greatest gains you can.

Preseason Training for the slopes

Over the past three weeks we have covered four basic exercises and two advanced exercises that will be instrumental in strengthening your legs help you stay on the mountain longer.  This week we are going to finalize the more advanced exercises.  As we progress through the eight exercises attempt each three times a week as we build your program, either as a stand alone exercise program or as a part of your regular exercising.   As always, before you start any type of exercise program, make sure you are healthy enough to start it safely. If you have any questions, doubts or any medical conditions, you should check with your MD first before you rock and roll.

Here are the final two Advanced Exercises!

180-degree run stance squat jumps

The third exercise is the 180 degrees run stance squat jump.  It is an excellent exercise for the slopes in that it effectively targets your hip abductors, hip adductors, quadriceps, gluts, hamstrings, and trunk in one use.   This one is especially good for snowboarders who love to nail any jumps with backside 180s or 360s.

180 degree split stance squats from BeneFIT

The Set Up:Find an open area in your home to accommodate this exercise, preferably in an area with enough space to accommodate variations in your jumping and landing.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart but with the back leg slightly behind your Front leg and your toes remaining parallel to each other.  This position should look like you are about ready to take off and run.

 

The Exercise:  For this explanation, we are going to assume your right leg will start as your back leg. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart but with the right leg slightly behind your left leg and your toes remaining parallel to each other (start/end position).

Again this position should look like you are about ready to take off and run towards your left.  You are going to slowly bend your knees to lower your body into a squat position; back flat, butt sticking out behind you, hips bent while maintaining your back leg, in this case, your right leg, behind your front left leg.  At the same time slowly bring both of your arms back behind you fingers pointing towards the ground.

Once you lower your body down as far as you can while maintaining proper form, you should pause before swinging your arms forward in front of your body towards the ceiling as you jump as high as you can in one motion, both arms and legs going at the same time.   In mid-air, you are going to spin 180 degrees towards your back shoulder (in this case your left shoulder).

You want to land on your toes while maintaining your feet shoulder length apart and immediately bend your knees to lower yourself back down to the start/end position while swinging your outstretched arms behind you in an arc.  Now you should be standing in the exact opposite motion you just were in (your Back right leg is now your front leg, and your left leg is now the back leg).  You should now look like you are about to take off running to the right.

You will repeat the jump from this position utilizing the same form, but now in mid-air, you will again spin 180 degrees towards your back shoulder (now your right) landing in the original start/end position.  That is one rep.

Perform ten times to make one set.  Try to perform three sets of 10 reps

The Cues: Some things to watch out for:  1) You Must maintain a straight line from your hip to your knee to your foot.  Do not allow your knees to go in towards each other, or your hip to stick out to the side especially when landing or jumping up as these two times require the most significant force production in your legs.  2) Hinge at your hips to ensure a flat back to maintain good posture.  3)  Keep your butt back to prevent loading the knees when going into the squat.  4) Keep your knees ‘soft’ when landing.  This means your legs should not be held rigid or straight on landing but that you should immediately absorb the landing and be in control back to the start/end position.  Think of your legs like a spring that needs to be loaded (when you absorb the landing and squat down) before springing up into the air (when you jump back up).  5). Depending on your ceiling height you may not be able to swing your outstretched arms overhead.  In that case, keep your elbows bent and swung them to shoulder height while jumping instead of overhead.  6). Be mindful of not over rotating when spinning in mid-air.  A helpful hint when spinning towards your back shoulder is to spin your head around first and site a spot with your eyes while in the air to better assist your stabilization when landing.  Remember where your eyes go your head will follow and so will your body.  At home, you can place on objects on the floor away from your exercise area on either side of you to help train your eyes to “sticking” your landings.

The Mods: Some modifications you can use to reduce/progress the exercise:  1) Change the jump height.  If this exercise is challenging, in the beginning, a quick modification would be not to jump as high to decrease the force production and maintain better control/form on the landing.  Attempt a distance that makes you feel like you’re working but not so high that you feel pain.  2)  Stand and rest between each half rep of the set.  This will allow you time to ensure you are in proper setup form before each rep.  3)  To make the exercise more challenging you can attempt to jump as high as possible, the higher you jump, the greater power and control you will need.  4) Link your jumps.  Instead of pausing after each rep in the start/end position you can immediately jump up into the ensuing reps, turning the exercise into one constant fluid arc of motion throughout the ten reps.  5)  Once the 180-degree spin is no longer difficulty, you can attempt a backside 360 spin landing on the same side as you started.  If you do this make sure you do ten reps spinning 360 in both directions.

The Issues:  There are a variety of issues that people can experience with this exercise, but a few of the more common are:  Weakness in the hips can contribute to the knee pointing in on the landing leg creating more pain in the knee both when landing and when pushing off to leap.  Weak quadriceps can increase pain and pressure along the knee cap into the patella tendon just below the knee.  Decreased mobility in the ankles can lead to all the aforementioned issues while reduced ankle stability can contribute to laterally rolling the ankle upon landing.  Decreased glute strength can lead to greater use of the lumbar spine muscles potentially creating low back soreness.  Vestibular issues can increase dizziness when attempting to spin in the air and this exercise should be avoided if you do or suspect you may have a vestibular issue.

 

Burpees

The fourth exercise is burpees.  It is an excellent exercise for the slopes in that it effectively targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluts dynamically just like descending the uneven hills.  Additionally, it will target your chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles which will help you push yourself back up from the slope in the event you have fallen.

How to do a Burpee! from BeneFIT PT on Vimeo.

The Set Up: Find an open area in your home to accommodate this exercise, preferably in an area with enough space to accommodate variations in your jumping and landing.  Extra space is required for this training so make sure the open space is long/wide enough for you to lie down flat.  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

 

The Exercise:  Standing with your feet shoulder width apart (start/end position) toes parallel to each other pointing forward.  You are going to slowly bend your knees to lower your body into a squat position; back flat, butt sticking out behind you, hips bent.  At the same time gradually bring both of your arms back behind your fingers pointing towards the ground.

Once you lower your body down as far as you can while maintaining proper form, you should pause before swinging your arms forward in front of your body towards the ceiling as you jump as high as you can in one motion, both arms and legs going at the same time.  You want to land on your toes while maintaining your feet shoulder length apart and immediately bend your knees to absorb your landing.

From there, you want to immediately reach down to the ground to place where outstretched arms into a push up position while simultaneously kicking both of your legs behind you to land in a high plank position (think of being at the top of a push up—arms slightly wider than shoulder width, elbows extended, hand on the floor under your shoulders, back straight and flat, glutes tight, hips and knees locked straight with your toes on the ground about shoulder width apart).

From this position, you are going to lower your body down to perform one push up.  Upon returning to the high plank position you will jump both of your feet underneath you, bringing your head and shoulders up, rocking up towards the original loaded squat position where you will finish the rep off by again swinging your arms forward in front of your body towards the ceiling as you jump as high as you can in one motion, both arms and legs going at the same time landing on your toes with your knees slightly bent to absorb the landing.  That is one rep.

Perform ten times to make one set.  Try to perform three sets of 10 reps.

 

The Cues:   Some things to watch out for:  1) You must maintain a straight line from your hip to your knee to your foot.  Do not allow your knees to go in towards each other, or your hip to stick out to the side especially when landing or jumping up as these two times require the most significant force production in your legs.  Be mindful or your knee position when jumping your legs backward to the high plank position and again to get them underneath you again, many people will tend to flare their knees out during these phases.  2) Hinge at your hips to ensure a flat back to maintain good posture.  3) Keep your butt back to prevent loading the knees when going into the squat.  4) Keep your knees ‘soft’ when landing.  This means your legs should not be held rigid or straight on landing but that you should immediately absorb the landing and be in control back to the start/end position.  Think of your legs like a spring that needs to be loaded (when you absorb the landing and squat down) before springing up into the air (when you jump back up).  5). Depending on your ceiling height you may not be able to swing your outstretched arms overhead.  In that case, keep your elbows bent and rotate them to shoulder height while jumping instead of overhead.  6). Maintain tight gluten during the plank and subsequent push up to not lift your butt to the ceiling or allow your low back to sag to the floor.  7). Keep your hands under your shoulders for greater stability when performing the push-up.

  • The Mods:  Some modifications you can use to reduce/progress the exercise:  1)  Change the jump height.  If this exercise is challenging, in the beginning, a quick modification would be not to jump as high to decrease the force production and maintain better control/form on the landing.  Attempt a distance that makes you feel like you’re working but not so high that you feel pain.  2)  Stand and rest between each rep of the set.  This will allow you time to ensure you are in proper setup form before each rep.  3). Do not jump at the end of the exercise, instead just stand up.  4)  Change the depth of the push-up.  If the push up is too challenging, just do not lower yourself as far or just maintain a high plank without performing a push up in the beginning until you get stronger.  5).  To make the exercise more challenging you can attempt to jump as high as possible, the higher you jump, the higher power and control you will need.  6)  Link your Burpees.  Instead of pausing after each rep you can immediately drop back into the high plank position after performing the jump squat, turning the exercise into one constant fluid arc of motion throughout the ten reps.  7)  To make the push up harder you can place a rolled up towel on the floor and make your chest hit the towel with each push-up.

The Issues:  There are a variety of issues that people can experience with this exercise, but a few of the more common are:  Weakness in the hips can contribute to the knees pointing in and creating more pain on the inside of the knee.  Weak hip muscles will also allow the hip to shoot out to the side.  Weak quadriceps can increase pain and pressure along the knee cap into the patella tendon just below the knee.  Decreased mobility in the ankles can lead to all 3 of the aforementioned issues.  Ankle instability can lead to unevenness when landing which could contribute to rolling the ankle.  Weak core and glut muscles will increase the stress through the trunk and lower back to maintain proper plank position.  Tricep and chest weakness can limit the ability to perform a push up with good form.

 

If you are having difficulty figuring this exercise out or are experiencing pain that you would describe as being more than just out of shape give us a call, and we can give you a free screening to see if there are some underlying muscle imbalances that may be contributing to your issues as well as further education to make sure you are performing the exercise correctly.

 

Thank you for reading our weekly Preseason Training for the Slopes series over the past month.  If you have any questions on any of these exercises or want to learn other exercises we use to get ready for the slopes just call our office or hit us up on social @benefitptnj.