As a University of Colorado student, I could always tell when ski season was coming. I ran on Boulder Creek Path or on trails in the Flatirons most days, and I would get lots of extra company around this time of year, after the first ski day of the year left students out of breath, tired and sore.
Ever since then, I’ve used the start of the ski season as a motivating force to work out, adding jumping lunges and other plyometrics to my regimen to prep for the season. It seemed like a simple choice to me: I could skip the squats and leg-presses, or I could ski a back bowl at Vail from top to bottom without stopping—but probably not both.
My first ski day of the year on Sunday, which consisted of six joyful runs at Whitetail after our CPR class, has got me thinking about my ski workout again. This year, I have two additional factors to consider: injury-prevention (though I feel like I’m still in college, my muscles beg to differ), and the ski-and-toboggan portion of ski-patrol training, which I’ll be doing just about every Saturday at Whitetail through the ski season.
This means I want to beef up all the little muscles around my knees to preserve my ACLs, and increase my overall strength to pull sleds, or generally feel able to tackle whatever the class throws at me. SKI magazine offers these injury busters to answer the former, as does this Women’s Health feature about knee-preserving moves. My answer to the latter is this part of my ski workout:
3X15 reps, leg press, with 300 pounds (or more, if 300 pounds starts feeling easy, which I don’t see happening soon).
3X10 squats with barbell. I’m just mastering my form on this one, so I’m only loading 20 pounds of weight onto the barbell for now.
Walking lunges with 15-pound kettlebell held out in front
Squats with 50-pound kettlebell, on top of BOSU (I do these with the round side down, standing on the black, flat side)
I’m keeping my plyometic/balance stuff, too:
A minute of mountain climbers, with elbows or hands on a BOSU
A minute of side shuffle with resistance band. If this gets too easy, put a band around your ankles AND above your knees. If that’s too easy, do as I just did, and tie another knot in both bands. Yeowch! Bonus: Skier and Olympic medalist Ted Ligety does these, too.
A minute of jumping lunges
3X15 jump squats
3X15 single-leg squats
3X 1 minute back extension holds
Plus, all my other usual stuff, like planks, and some other additional stuff, like pull-ups and Turkish get-ups.
Some other great workouts: Bad Ass Fitness offers this killer lower-body workout, which reminded me about mountain climbers (see above). Also, SKI magazine had a blog a couple years ago following a staffer who got in shape for the season with CrossFit.