Vail Today: Chair Pilates a useful tool for winter sports conditioning (video) |

Vail Today: Chair Pilates a useful tool for winter sports conditioning (video)

Sometimes less is more when getting ready for the winter sports season. Instead of lifting heavy weights, use your own body weight and the resistance of the springs on the Pilates chair and feel the burn.

The Pilates chair is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment providing different exercises that not only work the larger muscle groups, but also focuses deep to target smaller muscle groups while also engaging the core. “There’s no way to muscle your way through it, you have to engage your core and balance on the chair,” said Michelle Kenney, group fitness coordinator at Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.

The conditions on the slopes are always changing. When there is hard-packed or heavy, wet snow, the limits of your body will be tested. Visibility can also play a factor. Chair Pilates prepares the body for the unexpected bumps, rollers and off-camber positions you may encounter.

“On the Pilates chair you are in many different positions, so you develop better body awareness. When you are falling and you are used to having your head down from your feet in chair class, you are able to use your core muscles to help you to stand back up on your skis or snowboard and not be as fearful of a fall,” Kenney said.

Chair Pilates also focuses on the breath. “While you are inhaling and exhaling, you are actually engaging your core muscles and using the lungs and the contraction of the rib cage to help with the exercise, so that translates to being outside on the slopes and breathing with every turn rather than holding your breath and stopping and being out of breath,” Kenney said.

So round out your pre-season work outs with a chair Pilates class to get your large and small muscle groups, core balance and breathing in check. “Definitely come and try it, it’s a very enlightening class where you will learn your strengths and your weaknesses,” Kenney said.

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