Lets get fit for ski season

Get fit for the next ski season with Michelle Ford´s Pre Season Training. Michelle is a former professional snowboarder and work full time as a personal trainer in Vancouver. When she's not on the gym she's out in the trails running with her two dogs or with the FSRC running club. Follow her at @peak_power.
Her Pre Season Training program will make you ready for the ski season. She will make sure you manage the quick turns, the drops and the full-on speed down the slopes without the legs burning. Be smart and start in time! The program includes 7 exercises and just so you know - there’s no time for whinging, only time to get fit. 

1. Lateral Bounds

Lateral Bounds are great explosive movement to help with quickness, balance, core stabilization, and activating of the glutes. This makes it a great exercise for skiers to help strengthen and activate the muscles needed for carving; whether it be sharp cuts on ice, quick responsive turns on moguls or long/steep carves in the back country.

- Start by loading your weight onto one leg, dropping the hips down into a single leg-quarter squat, ensuring your hips remain neutral.
- You’ll than bound laterally to your opposite leg, absorb the landing by engaging your core and landing in that single leg quarter squat.
- Once balance is found in the landing position, proceed to bound back to the other leg making it a plyometric pattern.

2. Plank Knee Drives on Suspension Trainer

When we talk about ‘core’ we want to make sure we are thinking about all the muscles that keep our spine strong in that neutral standing position, not just our ‘six pack abs’ but the muscles underneath them as well, such as the ones around our spine, back and pelvic floor. Suspended plank knee drives are an excellent exercise to build on this core strength, as well as shoulder stability and coordination.

- Start in a plank position, ensure your shoulders, back and hips are inline.
- Your shoulders will remain over your wrists and elbows locked throughout the entire movement.
- As your drives your knees towards your armpits, allow your hips to raise.
- Return into starting plank position

3. The Deadlift

The deadlift is one of the most important functional movement patterns for any athlete. It works your entire posterior chain, as well as your explosive hamstring/glute strength and neuromuscular stimulation. No matter what your sport is, the deadlift, when done properly and safely will give your more strength and power.

- Begin with the bar on the floor. Your feet hip width apart and hands thumb distance from your hips on the bar.
- Bring bar into your shins, shoulders should be slightly higher than your hips and weight should be in your heels.
- Spine must be flat and engaged by squeezing your shoulder blades together throughout the entire movement.
- Lift bar off the ground by bring knees back, once bar is at knee height drive hips forward straightening the legs. Remember to keep bar gliding along legs the entire lift.
- When bringing bar back to ground, send hips back slide bar down thighs and once bar is at knee level squat down.

4. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

The Single leg RDL is an exceptionally important movement for skiers in developing strength through the posterior chain: the glute and hamstrings, while also challenging hip strength and balance. This strengthen is key for athletes in sports that are prone to ACL injuries.

- You’ll begin balancing on one leg, maintaining slight knee bend on that supporting throughout the movement.
- Place dumbbell or kettle bell in opposite hand than the balancing leg.
- Ensure your back remains engaged and neutral as your send your hips back into an airplane balance.
- Do not reach for the ground with dumbbell/kettle bell, but rather engage shoulder blades and use the weight as a counter balance
- Drive hips forward as your stand back up to natural position

5. Back Squat

The squat is one of the best exercises for any athlete. Back squats, although are primarily leg movement, is in fact an full body exercise that helps not only build leg strength and power, but also aids in strengthen the core, building stronger bone density, increasing leg power and force which are all excellent benefits for skiers,

- Begin with bar on shoulders. More important than the width of your hands (which will vary from athlete to athlete depending on shoulder mobility) is position of the elbows and wrists. Elbows should point directly to the ground and wrists should remain neutral.
- Feet should be slightly further than hip width apart.
- Engage shoulders and core throughout the entire movement. Knees should track over your toes, do not allow than to collapse inward.
- Send hips back as your squat down.
- The depth of your squat will often be dependant on your ankle and back mobility.
- Ultimately, to increase your powers and strength your hamstrings to their full potential you want to have a deep squat.
- Make sure body weight remains in your heels and you do not rock forward on to toes during the movement. 
- Push the floor away as you stand up.

6. Box Jumps

Box jumps are a great plyometric drill for aiding in explosive powers and leg strength.

- Begin with your feet hip width apart.
- Send hips and arms back and load hamstrings as you take-off maintaining your chest up and flat back
- Explode through legs and hips on takeoff and drives knees up after your initial explosion.
- Land with feet hip width apart and absorb landing with bent knees.

7. The Lunge

The lunge is a great leg exercise that also aides in building stability, body awareness and can improve speed and power through your lower body, all very important elements for skiing.

- Whether you are doing a walking lunge, forward lunge or back lunge you want to make sure you perform the exercise with neutral hips and straight posture.
- Use your core and stabilizers maintain good balance and avoid collapsing forward in the lunge
- Front knee should not bend past 90°
- Weight should remain in the front heel as your drive back up to standing position

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