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Ski Conditioning for Slackers

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JUMP ROPE: Warm up with six minutes of steady skipping on a flat, forgiving surface (lawn, dirt trail, or carpet). Keep your body loose and let it warm up gradually. THE SLACKER WAY: “I turn it into a game by trying different tricks between jumps,” says slopestyle and superpipe medalist Peter Olenick.

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WALKING LUNGES: “We call this a muscle-exploitation exercise,” says trainer/Army staff sergeant Ken Weichert. “They take muscles to the point of failure so when you come back next time you can push even farther.” Weichert weighs down his recruits with 22 pounds of military body armor (a backpack full of beer works too) and sets them off to climb a 30 percent incline, slowly lunging with each step. “The extra weight of the body armor simulates the gear you’ll wear and carry if you’re a backcountry skier. It also squeezes your chest, which works your core and your lungs by making your diaphragm work twice as hard,” he says. When you top out, turn around and lunge-walk slowly back downhill. To avoid injury, make sure your shoulders are aligned with your hips, and don’t let your leading knee extend beyond your toes. Continue for 10 to 12 minutes. THE SLACKER WAY: “I think about how much easier it would be to get a hot girlfriend if I was in shape,” Olenick says. “That amps me up to work out.”

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SUICIDE INTERVALS: Suicides involve sprinting back and forth between marked points. Touch the ground at each point and explode back in the opposite direction. “This is good for ski season, because the bending technique – or the quick side crunch – is duplicated in skiing and snowboarding,” says Weichert. Mark your sprint distances using the lines on a football field. Continue sprint-touching (varying your distances to keep it interesting) for 10 to 12 minutes, or “until you’re good and clipped,” says Weichert. THE SLACKER WAY: “I used to eat two ice-cream sandwiches before workouts,” says Olenick. “That must have made intervals much harder.”

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STAIR WORK: For the next 10-minute segment, run steadily up and down a set of stairs. To challenge yourself, run every stair and then try skipping one or two stairs. You’ll increase endurance and strengthen the muscle tissue surrounding your knees, says Weichert. THE SLACKER WAY: “Make your friends work out with you,” Olenick suggests. “It’s easier to get off couch when you have someone you can crush.”

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SPRINT: For the next eight minutes, sprint all-out at a competitive pace – or as fast as you can without blowing a ventricle. If you’re training with a partner, race him/her. When you haven’t been training, says Weichert, short, intense cardio is the fastest way to whip yourself into shape.

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WALL SIT: A variation of the squat, a wall sit is tough because you’re holding a static position, but the upside is you can do it anywhere. “I do these all the time to make my quads strong,” Olenick says. “When I’m brushing my teeth or in the shower, I’m doing wall sits.” Stand about two feet in front of a wall and lean back against it. Now bend your knees and slide down until your thighs are parallel to the ground and your knees are at about 90 degrees, as if you’re sitting in an imaginary chair. Hold this position for at least 60 seconds, or until you can’t take it anymore.

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COOL DOWN: Wrap up the routine with some walking and stretching, focusing on your quads, calves, and core. Touch your toes. Twist from side to side, and walk until you’ve caught your breath and your heart rate settles back down.