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How to build up for the bumps.If your core is weak, bumps will make your body bend, flail and fall. Lesser known to mogul skiers is the importance of stable shock-absorption in the hips and the supporting muscles around the knees. “If you looked at Jonny Moseley and other elite mogul skiers in the last Olympics, you saw quick pole flicks and knees moving almost independently from their quiet upper bodies, Laskowski says. Couple that with research showing that ACL injuries can result from knees turning inward on hard landings, and you have a great case for a mogul workout with single-knee bends, lateral jumps and lower-back stretches. “The knee-bends work your quads and hamstrings and also improve balance for greater stability in the bumps, Laskowski says.
STRENGTH Single-knee bends
Take a large step forward with one foot. Shift your weight to your forward foot and use your rear leg mostly for balance, resting only the ball of the rear foot on the floor. Bend both knees and dip slowly until both the forward thigh and rear shin are parallel to the floor. Keep your hips square and your forward knee aligned above the ankle of the forward foot. To build the shock-absorbing fibers of the quads, lower yourself slowly over a five count. Do one set of 10—12 reps on each leg three times a week. If the last rep leaves you fatigued, one set should be all you need.
FLEXIBILITY Lower-back stretch
Lying on your back with your knees bent, slowly lift one leg at a time toward your chest. Hold the two together there for one minute. Pull gently, enough to feel a light stretch in your lower back but not so much that you cause your pelvis to tilt forward at the bottom. Breathe deeply, then release slowly.
AGILITY Lateral jumps
Put a line of tape across your floor. Stand beside it and drop into a high crouch with your arms out in front of you and your weight on the balls of your feet. Spring with your feet together to the other side of the line. Be sure that both your jump and landing are as controlled as possible, keeping your feet together and your upper body stable. Spring back, and repeat the sequence three to five times. Work up to 10 to a set, three times a week. After four weeks, aim for two to three sets. To make the jumps more mogul specific, turn your feet at a 45-degree angle in midair, landing with your feet turned but your body pointing somewhat straighter, as if pointing down the hill. Since you need to be fresh to avoid turning an ankle, do these at the start of the workout. To develop shock absorption in a frontal plane, you can also do these exercises front-to-back.