By Connor W. Davis
Short on time and out of shape? Connie Sciolino, mountain-fitness trainer extraordinaire and owner of the Alpine Training Center in Boulder, Colorado, recently let us in on three little-known, yet incredibly effective pre-season exercises.
Through a childhood of skiing in Vermont and Europe, 17 years of post-college ski bumming at Jackson Hole, and the past six shredding Colorado, Sciolino knows what it takes to prepare for the best season ever, every season. A National Strength and Conditioning Association certified trainer with a masters in exercise science, she helps all types of skiers both at the Alpine Training Center and online. Here, she shares three exercises you should start now to be fit by the time you click in. They don’t require any weights or equipment, and take just a few minutes to complete.
So whether you’re a backcountry badass or humble resort-goer, strengthen up for the winter ahead with this trio of exercises.
Exercise 1: Russian Twist
Targeted muscles: interior core, posterior core, and obliques
Sit down on the floor or an exercise mat and raise your feet at least six inches off the ground. Then rotate your upper body left and right—back and forth—with your feet remaining airborne the whole time. Touch your hands to the floor with each rotation to make sure the core is twisting completely, not just your arms. Do as many of these twists as possible in a 30-second period or choose the easier option of doing ten twists on each side (twenty total) without a time constraint. Aim to repeat the set three to five times. Once you get stronger, hold a weight and straighten out your legs to increase difficulty.
Exercise 2: Side Plank with Leg Raise
Targeted muscles: glutes, interior core, posterior core, and obliques
Lie down on your side. Prop yourself up on one forearm and lift your hips off the ground so both legs are stacked on top of each other. Keep the other arm either at your side (easier option) or extended up in the air. Then lift your upper leg towards the ceiling so it forms a Y with the leg that’s still on the ground. Hold this position for 20 seconds per side and repeat this set three to five times. Down the road, increase the holding time to 30 or 40 seconds.
Exercise 3: Jumping Lunge/Squat Hold Series
Targeted muscles: hamstrings, glutes, quads and calves
This exercise series involves jumping lunges and squat holds—both real leg-burners. Start out with 30 seconds of the jumping lunges: begin in a lunge with your front leg bent at a 90-degree angle and your back leg extended behind you. Jump into the air, switch into the same position but with the other leg in front, and do it again, transitioning back and forth—like running in place but in a lunge position. After you’ve done as many repetitions as you can for 30 seconds, hop into a squat position. Keep your heels flat on the ground—staying off of your toes—and squat down until the crease of your hip is just below that of your knee. Hold your arms out straight for increased balance and stay in this position for 30 seconds.
Once you get a hang of these two exercises, complete this series: 30 seconds of jumping lunges, 30 second squat hold, 30 seconds of jumping lunges, 30 second squat hold, 30 seconds of jumping lunges and one last squat hold for as long as possible.