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Performance

Workouts: Welcome to the Old School

Ditch your new fangled workout gadgets and test out these tried and true fitness methods

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The Old Move: Stand in front of a knee-high box with your hands on your hips. Place your right foot on the box and your left toes on the floor. Keep your right foot on the box and explode up with your right leg. Your left foot lifts onto the box to meet your right foot. Next, bend your right knee to return to starting position with your left toes touching the floor. After 10 repetitions, switch sides. Do a total of four sets.

Why It Still Works: “When you arc a turn, you need both eccentric strength to withstand the g-forces and concentric strength to power and unload the ski,” Gollner says. “Done correctly, explosive exercises like these develop both types of strength.”

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The Old Move:

Lie faceup on a mat with your knees bent 90 degrees, your feet flat, and your arms folded beneath your chin so that each hand touches a shoulder. Using your abdominal muscles and keeping both feet on the mat, slowly lift your upper body until your chin is almost at your knees. Do four sets of 20 reps. Too easy? Try 40 reps, or hold a 25-pound weight plate to your chest. “When I was young we did at least 50 to 60 sit-ups for each set,” Gollner says. “We were so sore we could not laugh.”

Why It Still Works: Unlike modern versions of sit-ups that isolate certain muscles, old-style sit-ups develop all three major ab muscles, which are crucial for maintaining control and balance through a turn. Gollner warns not to tuck your feet under the couch for support–you’ll activate leg and hip muscles and ruin the effectiveness of the sit-ups.

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The Old Move:

Stretch a jump rope between the legs of two chairs four feet apart. The rope should hang roughly two or three feet above the floor. Jump side to side over the jump rope 20 times. Do four sets of 20, working up to four sets of 40.

Why It Still Works:

This drill helps add reactive strength, according to Gollner. That means more juice in your legs for bouncing through the bumps, slaloming through gates, or just powering through cruddy snow. “Using jump ropes asa obstacles goes back 50 years,” Gollner says. “And we still use them today for creating ski-specific coordination.”

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The Old Move: Grip a pull-up bar with your palms facing outward. (A chin-up is when your palms are facing inward.) Try to do four sets of eight reps. “We used weight vests for chin-ups in the old days,” Gollner says. “It was probably 25 pounds of extra weight and we were able to do 10 reps. We were very strong.”

Why It Still Works: According to Gollner, the pull-up helps develop shoulder muscles for planting poles and surviving crashes. Plus, you can travel with a pull-up bar for hotel-room training. “Upper body strength is critical in balance support in skiing and for good pole plant work,” Gollner says. “Total fitness requires your entire body’s musculature working in concert for balancing on a carving edge in an athletic manner.”

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The Old Move:

Stand on a balance disc or beam with your feet hip-width apart. Grip a wooden dowel with both hands behind your neck to stabilize the upper body. Keeping your feet flat, bend your knees to as close to 90 degrees as possible without losing your balance. Stand up slowly and raise your arms overhead. Do one set of 25 reps. 

Why It Still Works:

Two feet of fresh on the mountain? This gives you the strength to charge through the powder and the coordination to handle the constantly changing terrain beneath your boots. “You might call these squats, but we call them knee bends,” Gollner says. “When I was training, I’d have a partner sitting on my shoulders while I did them.”