For those who live for the cold and crisp action of the mountains during ski season, the proceeding months in anticipation can drag on forever. With the hot weather and summer activities, followed by the fall and its signaling the initiation of a new school year and work quarter, its easy to fall back on exercises and wind up with legs that aren’t ready for the intense skiing and snowboarding you have planned.
Those who practice a sport of any kind know that the warm up is as as integral as the sport itself. Keeping muscles stretched and building up mass throughout the year helps build up endurance, reduces the risk of injury during sports and is also just plain good for you. “Burning legs” syndrome is reported by many skiers, both novices and pros with years of experience. The burning sensation in the thighs is caused by the extreme stress placed on several muscle groups while skiing, so its important that you work out various parts of your legs throughout the year in order to best prepare yourself for the slopes. Even performing these exercises for ski season two to three times a week can help improve your endurance and next ski experience drastically.
Skiing utilizes a variety of muscle groups such as the quads, hamstrings and calves. It’s important that your leg workout includes exercises that will work all of these areas and help build up strength. The squat targets the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, as well as the areas that make up the calves. You can do three reps of ten for a decent workout and an advanced skier can try one-legged squats for an additional challenge.
Lunges help tighten the thighs and strengthen the hips, which is important given how intensively they work to help you turn and maneuver the paths during ski season. You can do three sets of six to eight repetitions, or combine the lunges with squats and aim for two reps of six to eight repetitions of each move.
The Single-Leg Leg Press is a great strength building exercise that can be done at the gym a few days a week or at home if you have the equipment. You should place 60 to 70 percent of what you can normally lift on a single leg, lift and hold for six seconds before repeating on the opposite side. Four sets of four on each leg is recommended. You should go slowly as you lower your legs, as doing so helps mimic the same pressure your legs experience from gravity and inertia when you’re going downhill. If you aren’t able to lower the weights slowly, then decrease the amount you’re lifting and work your way up.
Single-leg Lateral Jumps
This exercise works the inner and outer thighs as well as the lateral strength in the knee and overall coordination that is required for nearly every facet of skiing. Perform 20 reps on each leg for the best conditioning.
Single-leg Ventral Hops
Instead of working the thighs, this exercise targets the glutes and hip flexors at the front and rear hip sockets. It can also build up knee strength. Building control and coordination is critical, so you want to perform exercises that don’t just stretch and work muscle but also help you gain better control over your body. This exercise should be done according to what your body can handle, so choose a set of repetitions that works well for you and work up to a higher number as your strength increases to avoid any muscle strain or injury.