Some tips for the first day out
December 5, 2003
First run – skis awfully slippery.
Second run – quads lobbying for lunch.
Third run – miraculous cure.
Fourth run – bring on the bumps and powder.
Such are the rituals of first day out … if you’re in shape. If not, well, you can always crawl home, try to soak or couch-potato away the damage, then look for another sport.
Or you can grit your teeth and ski your way through about two or three weeks of pain and vow that next year you’ll go to that preseason conditioning class.
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But there is another option. You can do a little catch-up conditioning while you continue to ski and, if not lessen, at least shorten the distress.
The following are examples of the kinds of conditioning exercises you need for the strength, lateral and dynamic movements of skiing. They take only a few minutes each and can be done at home.
Try to do three sets of 15 reps, with brief rest periods in between, for each exercise. If you complete three to five of these workouts a week, skiing yourself into shape will go a lot faster.
n Lateral steps: Bend your knees slightly, keep your toes pointed straight ahead and step sideways in small lunges for the length of the largest room you have.
Return across the room, facing in the same direction. To increase the difficulty, put an elastic band (i.e., a bike tube) around your ankles.
n Lateral lunges: Start with your feet together, then lunge out to the side with your right leg, keeping your left foot stationary. Then, push off your right foot to return to the original position.
Next, lunge to the left and then push off your left foot to return to the original position. Keep repeating on the alternating sides. To increase the difficulty, stand on a step stool and lunge down to the floor.
n Tuck squats: Place your feet shoulder-width apart, and flex your knees and hips to assume a ski-tuck position. Rest your arms on your thighs. Pulse gently up and down continuously at your hips and knees. To increase the difficulty, hold your arms out in front as you pulse up and down. Again, be sure to keep it gentle so you don’t injure your knees.
n Forward lunges: Start with your feet together, then lunge forward onto your right foot. Do not bend your knee past 90 degrees when coming forward. Then, push off the right foot to return to the original position.
Repeat the sequence. When your right leg is fatigued, lead with the left leg. To increase the difficulty, stand on a step stool and lunge onto the floor.
To increase the training effects for all of these exercises, hold weights in your hands.
Next year, you will start this ritual before the first day out. Won’t you?
Elizabeth Eber is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Vail.
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