Step 1: Upper-Body Strength - Ski Mag

Step 1: Upper-Body Strength

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Can you keep your upper-body quiet? When people think of ski fitness, they think quads and glutes, not pecs and lats. But if your top half isn't strong, your form will fall apart on the mountain.

The Test: Push-Ups and Twist-Ups

How to Do It
For push-ups, place your hands on the ground, a little wider than shoulder-width. Keep your body straight, lower it until your chin is two to three inches off the ground (place a pair of rolled up socks or another soft item on the floor under your chin to measure) and then push up to the starting position. Keep your abs tight, and exhale with each push-up. Continue until you are unable to hold the proper form, and record how many you did.

For twist-ups (above), lie on your back with your knees bent and your thighs perpendicular to the ground. Pull your upper-body toward your knees, twisting it slightly to the left until both shoulder blades are off the ground. Lower to starting position; then pull up again, this time twisting your body to the right. Continue for a minute, alternating right and left. Use your abdominal muscles, rather than momentum or your upper-body, to pull yourself up.

Boost Your Score
Do three sets of 15 push-ups or knee push-ups two to three days a week. Bench-press exercises can also strengthen chest muscles. To stay balanced and injury-free, you must work your back muscles as well. Try exercises such as lat pull-downs and seated rows. As with push-ups, doing three sets of 15 to 20 twist-ups or stomach crunches two to three times per week will help strengthen your upper abdominals. To target your lower abs, lie on your back with your knees bent. Keeping the knees bent, lift your legs into the air until your thighs are perpendicular to the ground. Holding your legs in that position, use your abs to lift your lower pelvis off the ground. Then, slowly return your pelvis to the floor. Be sure to keep your hips still and use only your abdominal muscles to raise your pelvis. Strong abdominal muscles can help prevent lower-back pain.

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