On Top of the World: Lower Body Strength

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Fitness
Side Lunges C

If world Super G Champ Daron Rahlves can't whip you into shape, no one can.To make these exercises ski-specific, Rahlves focuses on the "eccentric" phase, in which the muscle being worked is lengthening rather than contracting. To do so, he moves slowly as he lowers the weight, then moves quickly upward. "Skiing is one of the few sports that mainly uses eccentric movements," Lundstam says. "At least 60 to 70 percent of a GS turn is eccentric." For all lifts, start with a weight bar, and add weight as you improve.

Side Lunges (A) Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart and abs and glutes contracted. Hold a weight bar across your upper back. (B) With your left leg, step forward at a 45-degree angle. Keep the left foot flat, and bend the left knee, keeping it directly above the ankle. (C) Smoothly drop your right knee, until it almost touches the ground. Then explode up to a starting position. Do eight reps with the left, then eight with the right, for three sets. Doing the lunge to the side mimics the lateral movement of a ski turn.
What it works: glutes, hamstrings, quads.

Also try: FULL-BACK SQUATS not shown Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and hold a weight bar across your upper back with an underhand grip. Keeping your back straight and your core muscles tight, drop as if you're sitting into a chair, until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Don't let your knees go in front of your toes. Take four seconds to drop down, hold for two seconds, and then push back up quickly. Do three sets of eight to 10 reps.
What it works: quads, hamstrings, glutes.

For complete coverage of Rahlves' exercises, check out the slideshow.