Ski season is here, and your legs can take a beating on the slopes. Prevent injuries and help to minimize sore muscles after your snow day with a few basic exercises to get you ready for the slopes.
Begin with at least ten minutes of cardio and then try this routine for strong, beautiful, ski-worthy legs.
Plié Squat for Inner Thighs
Target your inner thighs with the plié squat. Start with feet more than shoulder width apart, feet at a forty-five degree angle. Hold a dumbbell between your legs. Keep your back straight and your chin level with the floor. Bend your knees to squat down, while keeping your weight centered on your heels as you bend down. Remember to keep your knees about your ankles and stop when your thighs are parallel with the floor. Squeeze your glutes as you return up to the starting position. Repeat fifteen times.
Leg Extension for Quadriceps
Adjust the machine according to your height, and alter the weight as necessary. You should be able to complete 10-12 repetitions, tiring by the time you reach the final 2 or 3 in each set. Extend your legs straight out in front of you, without locking out your knees. You can mix it up by halving your normal weight and doing single leg extensions. Just be sure to do an equal number on each side.
Leg Curls for Hamstrings
Again, check the machine for the setting appropriate to your height. Bend knees to bring heels toward your bum. Return to starting position, without locking out your knees, or hyper extending them, at the bottom.
Calf Raises for Gastrocnemius and Soleus Muscles
Your calves are comprised of two muscles, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Strong calves are essential for skiing. Just like with the muscles of your upper leg, your calves bear a huge burden when it comes to getting in and out of ski boots, as well as maneuvering the hillside. Using a machine (or with weights in hand on a step), hang your heels off the ledge and rise up onto your toes. Hold for a count of one at the top and return to your start position. Repeat three sets of ten.
Deadlifts for Core, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, and Glutes
You can do this exercise off a bench to maximize your range of motion, or by simply starting from the floor. Using a weighted bar in front of you with palms facing thighs, begin with feet shoulder width apart and keep your legs straight as you bend from hips and lower bar toward ground. Your back should be slightly arched as you lower. Stop when your back becomes parallel with the floor. As you return to your starting position, keep the bar close to your body, almost grazing your legs as you return to the top. Squeeze your glutes on the way up.