Trust us, we don’t like lunges and squats either. We do them because we know they’re some of the best training moves for skiers. But they’re certainly not the only moves that whip skiers into slope shape.
If you’re bored running through your litany of traditional workout moves, take a leaf out of pro skier Johnny Collinson’s Instagram playbook and start getting creative. Mixing new or different exercises into your usual routine can help keep workouts fun, engaging, and motivating. The other big payoff is that you’re likely to see results in different muscle groups that weren’t challenged with the old moves.
“The best way to get strong ski legs is skiing itself, but training some of the smaller stabilizing muscles alongside the big muscle groups like quads and hamstrings is a good head start,” Collinson says. “Balance and single leg work is awesome for this.”
To that end, you won’t find an exercise on Collinson’s Instagram page that doesn’t challenge balance and multiple muscle groups all at one time. Having gone through extensive knee surgery rehab for the past year-and-a-half, there’s good reason for that.
“I’ve learned to look at the core as not just abs, but basically everything from mid-thigh up to sternum and on the front, back, and side of the body,” Collinson explains.
“It’s also good to work agonist and antagonist muscles—think biceps and triceps, or quads and hamstrings. These muscles need to work together for proper movement. We want to look at our body holistically and consider how everything interconnects with pieces benefiting each other.”
Instead of doing a single move for every body part, Collinson likes exercises that challenge the entire core and the big muscles skiers rely on all at once. Try three of Collinson’s favorites and you’ll get the picture.
4-Way Shoe Push
Targets: Stabilizer muscles of the leg and quadriceps
“This is a good example of working the stabilizing muscles along with a main muscle group,” says Collinson. “The biggest focus is the quad, but by shifting the weight into four different planes, you force your body to compensate in different directions. That gets the little muscles around the knees and hips to work in ways they might not in a normal two-legged squat movement pattern.”
Targets: Adductors and deep core
“The Copenhagen plank works the adductors—the muscles inside the leg—while also engaging the core,” Collinson explains. “A normal side plank will work the abs and obliques, but helping strengthen that inner leg with the core just gets more of the body working together at once. As skiers, our legs are adapting to terrain separately, and skis can go two separate directions, so training all sides of the leg is important, not just focusing on front and back (quad and hamstring).”
Targets: Glutes and abductor muscles of the hip complex
“I’m sure someone has a better name for this, but we call it the Glute Starfish,” laughs Collinson. “It’s a great move for targeting the glute and abductor muscles on the outside of the hip. Having strong glutes and abductors is a great way to maintain hip health. And good hip health/mobility is good for your knees because everything in our body is a chain. An issue with the hip can travel down the chain into our knee.”