Fire Up the Core

Be Strong
Be Strong 1103

Chances are that long after Bode Miller rides his skis off into the sunset, it won't be his medals that people remember. No, his lasting legacy will be the near-crash in the downhill of the 2002 Olympics combined that is still leaving his competitors cleaning their goggles. After losing an edge at 72 miles per hour, Bode wobbled, bobbled, and checked his hip on the snow, then instantly bounced back up like an inflatable punching doll. Most racers wouldn't have finished the turn; Bode finished the whole course in top-15 form.

Bode's superhuman display of athleticism was, at least in part, a result of a well-developed trunk. "I keep my core strong," says Miller during a break from teaching at his family's summer tennis camp. "You have to train it-it won't get strong enough for skiing on its own."

And he's not suggesting just extra ab-strengthening crunches. Your core is more than a six pack-it's a girdle of muscle layers encircling the spine and hips that connects the lower and upper body. It enables your upper body to withstand high-speed turns and also transmits those forces to your legs and skis. "Your core is the functional link between the lower body and the upper body," says Andy Walshe, the United States Ski Association's director of sports science. "It's directly related to the ability of the lower body to produce force."

This month Bode and Walshe-the man behind our three month preseason training plan-will take you through the final-we promise-regimen. Month one prepped your lungs for top-to-bottom runs at your highest sustainable heart rate. Month two got you strong and powerful with swami-deep squats.

This month Bode models 12 essential core exercises that will bolster any recovery.

Stick with the plan for just four more weeks and, come Thanksgiving, you'll hit the snow with little more to do than learn some new moves and enjoy the rush. Sallying out after lunch won't even be a fleeting thought.

Click below to view Bode's workout.