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3 exercises to get ready for skiing season


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Was flying back home last night from a vacation starting to think about the upcoming ski season and had a thought...

 

If you were going to do 3 exercises before your season started to get your body (hands, back, shoulders, etc...) ready, which would you do? What are your favorite, or best bang for the buck exercises you do before you get out for your first pull and then realize "crap...I should have done more!"

 

For me, I'm thinking pull ups, lunges and squats

 

What do you guys think?

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I really believe in balance, not in doing specific areas, as e.g. having strong arms but a weak back/etc... might be worst than being weak in general, as you might be putting yourself up for more than you can handle...
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Pick 9 or 12 exercises and only do 3 or 4 in circuit, no rest fashion 4 times a week. Mix it up like overhand pull ups, push ups, curls. Then the next day squat, stiff legged dead lift, bent over rows......and so on....that way you hit everything within a week and get the balance that @ral alluded to.
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You asked for three so I'll give three - but I'm with @skibug in doing a variety. My three are Pushups, Pullups, and.....Yoga (with core work included). There are so many different varieties in the pushups and pullups that will have you beat after 4-5 rounds each. The Yoga includes chair squats/pose which works EVERYTHING. You get flexiblity and strength items with Yoga. Bonus: add in a roller for working out the kinks and you'll be good to go!
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I agree with using a variety of exercises, and I make sure to use some form of squats, dead lifts and pull ups on a regular basis. A great variant on squats is the one leg squat with a dumbbell in the opposite hand - it builds core strength and develops the muscles used for balance. This winter we added a set of rings hung from the garage ceiling. Good for a wide variety of upper body exercises - dips are killer on free rings!
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If you limit me to a grand total of 3 exercises, I'm gonna pick core, core, and core.

 

Definitely two exercises on a ball: 1) Hands on ground; toes on ball. Plank to pike and repeat. 2) Hands on ground; knees on ball. Slowly roll your knees all the way one way and then all the way the other way.

 

Those two build critical "connection" strength AND help prevent injury.

 

For the last one, I'd probably do some kind of twisting back extension to work the "other side" of the core. Or maybe a plyometric exercise like jumping over hurdles which works the core (from raising your legs up) and also sneaks in some leg explosiveness work.

 

Don't get me wrong: I like squats, lunges, rows, and even bench press* as fundamentals. But if you really are saying "You can only do three exercises ever" then those don't make my list.

 

*About a month ago, I bench-pressed more than somebody at the local gym. He was probably 12 years old and mostly bone, but I'M COUNTING IT! :)

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All great Ideas! Just happens that in less then a month myself and Skiers Pier ( waterford , MI) are putting on a few hour course on strength / exercises that skiers need. It will be a hands on class. It will be March 29th in the AM. So if you are local try to make it. Further info will be out soon, " Spring into Ski Shape"
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Interesting no one mentioned the Abductors. If you came in to the PT clinic; I would emphasize core With abductors as a co-contraction. So 3 could be planks, side lunge with t-band around knees (or feet =harder) to keep an Abduction drive, And because wall squats are easy to replicate anywhere I would add that as a 3rd with you guessed it; T-band around the knees for an abduction co-contraction!
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Can I reverse the question:

First sets of the season, what parts of your body are most sore?

I know for me, it's usually:

- last inch of my biceps before the elbow (I've always been fascinated as to why it's not the whole bicep?)

- all across the shoulder blades (delts?)

- butt-to-lower back

 

...and when I try to ski too many sets in too short a time at the beginning of the season (I took 7 short sets in 4 days on a trip to FL last month), I also find:

- forearms

- hands

 

Is it different for others?

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I just started adding some kettlebells into the normal mix of push/pull/etc. Mostly just swings and turkish getups for now. I have to think all the posterior chain work on the swings as well as holding onto the thing (packed shoulder, grip, etc) has to translate to helping me feel better after skiing. Guess I'll see.
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1) Kipping Pull-ups - The ballistic style of the pullups will really help with the bicep soreness that accompanies those first few sets. 2) Heavy Hang Cleans - the returning of the weight from the front rack to the hang position will do a number on those traps. Plus this is just a great movement for waterskiers. Dynamic Pulling movement. 3) Squats - Just because you should always be squatting. Best core exercise there is.
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Bench press (light weight, high reps), Lat pull downs (ceiling too low for pull ups), bicycle crunches, military press, bent over rows, flutter kicks, deadlifts, walking lunges, biceps curl, hand/forearm curls. I do this as a circuit most mornings and once more during the day. It takes about 20-25 minutes to run through three times. Each set to failure.
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@andjules I claim there's a set of muscles that you can "ski into shape" -- and a set that you can't.

 

So for this thought exercise, I'm very focused on stuff that has to be strong, but is hard to GET strong from the skiing itself.

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p90x3 hey it does have a 3 in it.

In just 30 minutes I'm getting a great workout in. Most people think it takes more time than that but it doesn't. Push ups, pull ups,squats,lunges,yoga,core,core,core,core,cardio. It has it all. I'm getting ready for the best ski season of my life!

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My go to has been rope climbing and undulation rope work outs.

 

You can crank out some climbing - toughens up the hands and gets those pesky forearm muscles. Also does shoulders, and core, and can really bring the legs in.

 

Then undulation rope - and get a squishy mat to turn up the legs.

 

 

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I agree with Than - no matter how hard I try, I can merely reduce but never eliminate my level of soreness when the season begins. If I had to boil it down to three, Pull-ups, squats, and hanging leg raises go a long way in aiding the reduction
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@Texas6, I think we all get sore at the beginning of the season. But think about it. When you start skiing, you are loading your arms, shoulders, back, legs with multiple times your body weight. Not many of us walk into the gym and just pick up 600+ lbs. There's not much you can do to prepare for it. You're gonna be sore!
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@webbdawg99, we agree completely. And I deliberately lift heavy - but it's never any match for the leveraged body weight behind the boat at the beginning of the season. Always sore. Always. But I like to think lifting all year drastically reduces the risk of injury while affording me the ability to feel balanced and strong behind the boat. I use the word balanced loosely
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Agreeing with everyone: My thought has always been that if I found something that could simulate the dynamic forces required for slalom skiing, it would necessarily be too dangerous to be valuable training! So I just accept being sore at the beginning, realizing that my off-season work will pay off later.
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Meanwhile, I'm missing something: While I agree that squats do use the core, I would consider that to be distantly secondary after butt, hips, quads. I've never considered it a "good core exercise." Can someone change my mind?

 

Fwiw, I do them all winter long, and it's one area where my bar weight is slightly less embarassing than most other freeweight exercises. I definitely see the value; I just don't see the "good core exercise" part.

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@Than_Bogan

 

An excerpt from an article in Men's Fitness:

 

"Since squats are typically loaded from top to bottom, either in the form of a barbell or a dumbbell, your core has to work double-time to prevent injury and maintain an upright posture. In terms of building your six-pack, heavy compound exercises like squats should be a staple. Include front squats which involve a barbell held in front of your body for an increased core demand and to build insane midsection strength."

 

There are tons of other resources that also list squats as a valuable core exercise. I'm sure @klundell can expand on it much better than I can. But when I think about core, I think about stabilizing. If proper squats don't do this, I don't know what does. You mention butt, hips, quads....but the weight is actually loaded on your shoulders. So what supports that load between your shoulders and your hips etc?

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@Than_Bogan I am with @webdawg on this. The first thing I think about when I do squats is focus on stabilizing my core. The key for me to increasing weight isn't the legs but how much my core can stay stable. Given that I am focused on building strength for water skiing I always do my exercises without a weight belt or any other stabilizing help because I am not going to have those when I ski. Frankly deadlifts are similar in that stabilizing the core is key.

 

If I had to pick just three I would probably go with either deadlifts or squats, pullups and hanging knees to elbows or toes to bar.

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Core Strength = The ability to maintain neutral spinal/pelvic position under load and through dynamic ranges of motion. This is why "core strength" is so vital to waterskiing, we take tremendous loads from the boat and have to dynamically transmit that load through the ski using various ranges of motion. If you cannot maintain a neutral spinal/pelvic position then you will lose force or, worse, get hurt trying to produce force form a bad position. Glutes, hamstrings, and quads (to a lesser extent) are all vital parts to core strength because they all support and stabilize the pelvis.

 

If you are going to move a load in a squat that is 80-100% of your max the most important thing you have to do is maintain a neutral spinal position so that you can transmit the force to the prime movers efficiently. This requires a tremendous amount of activation from your core (erectors, abdominals, psoas, quadratus, as well as the deeper spinal supporters like multifidi and rotators). Thus squats are probably the best "core exercise" you can do because it uses the core in the way it will be used in life... to support and stabilize the spine/pelvis through a dynamic range of motion and under load. Deadlifts and olympic lifting are very good for this too.

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My guess would be that when done properly, you are engaging your entire core in unison as opposed to isolating a specific muscle group. Because of this shared load bearing, I expect that soreness would be greatly reduced. "Guess" is the key word in the above statement.
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You should feel sore in your butt, adductors, hams, and quads. Again these are all core muscles because they connect to the pelvis. Your trunk muscles won't feel sore because they are not the prime movers in a squat, they are the stabilizers. Trunk muscles (particularly the deep ones) are stabilizers in most of life's movements not necessarily prime movers, this is definitely true on the ski. Waterskiing is a great core exercise yet your trunk isn't sore from doing it.

 

I'm not saying never do another sit up or back extension. I just think they should be accessory work to your main bigger movements (squat, deadlift, standing press, clean) that will use the core for what it is designed to do... stabilize the spine/pelvis.

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I play ice hockey year round and feel that it helps during the ski season, but also my forearms always kill after the first few passes, I've been using an 2in diameter pipe with a rope tied to it and a 5lb weight tied on the other end, roll the pipe in your hands bringing the weight up and down, helps with the forearms.
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I have a friend who is a exercise science prof and I was asking why skiing causes more soreness than normal workout. He put a great deal of emphasis on the "negative". In hiking up a steep trail the soreness comes from the hike down not the climb up.
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@Klundell‌

I guess I disagree with the statement that back ext and sit ups are accessory? You are all right the core does have activation during squats . Your Core ( TFL to be detailed) has to contract before you do anything, it is an involuntary, ie your brain does it for you to stab your self. These accessory movements are the most important! unless you are strong in your erectors , obliques, lower / upper abs, tfl , spinal rotators you really should not be doing large movement exercises like dead lifts. Have to think of it like this , when you do mult mm exercises like squats , dead lifts etc. the strong muscles get strong and the weak stay week. This is the bodies natural way, ie compensation. Picking 3 ex is very difficult because as a skier or any other sports everything should be strong ie, every mm group should be worked. I would say that the most important is the "core" , hip abductors ( glut Med) and hip ext (glut max) and HIP ROT. But like I have stated everything is important! LOL.

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@34mph I could not disagree more. "Unless you are strong... you really should not be doing large movement exercises like dead lifts." How is grandma supposed to pick up a bag of kitty litter without doing a deadlift? Large movements when done with the correct form will inevitably fire the muscles from core to extremity building them to do exactly what they are designed to do and that is stabilize. Granted if you are a total couch potato and you try a max deadlift you are likely to get hurt but this is precisely because your stabilizers are not strong enough to hold a neutral spine. Does this mean you should do more back extensions and sit ups until you can do a max deadlift? No amount of situps or back extensions will prepare you to do a max deadlift or prepare you to take the kind of loads from the boat that are required to run shortline slalom. So what should you do? Stay within a weight range where you can maintain a neutral spine and pelvis so that you can build the stabilizers so that you can increase the weight safely.
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I guess your not getting my point, I'm not looking to change the minds of others that don't want to be changed. You should not have to practice functional things like squat down to perform them. you can not get full muscle contraction with out the full range of motion of a muscle, ie this will not happen with your core in a squat. FYi the dead lift movement even done right puts the most load on your lumbar disc so throwing that out their could potentially hurt others!

 

PS Klundell seems like you are pretty dead locked on your ideas which is fine , what ever works for you that is great! but were did you get this information from ie education / experance just wondering. Not trying to pick a fight just dont want others to get hurt .

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@crashman, surprised no one else has mentioned TRX. I never tried Automic push-ups with an indo board, that sounds like it increases the level of difficulty by a ton. The best thing about any TRX movement is that it involves the core.
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@34mph‌ I'm a Doctor of Chiropractic. I have also been avidly studying movement physiology for the last 4 years and I regularly train people at a local crossfit gym. I'm not looking to pick a fight either I just want to defend my position. And again I have to disagree with this statement, "You should not have to practice functional things like squat down to perform them." Having watched hundreds of people squat I can say that the majority of them cannot squat below parallel with a neutral spinal position nor can they deadlift even light weights with a neutral spinal position. Practicing these movements in a controlled environment is very important, after all we don't want grandma to hurt herself deadlifting the kitty litter.

 

As for loading the lumbar disc. There is nothing wrong with loading a lumbar disc in a neutral spinal position. They are designed to take extremely heavy loads. In fact discs are stronger then the vertebrae they separate. An extreme compression force will cause the disc to puncture through the bone before the disc itself will rupture, this is called a Schmorl's node. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roe-schmorl.jpg. Sheering force is a different story and that is why squats and deadlifts can be dangerous if done incorrectly. So get a trainer that knows what they are doing and have them teach you functional lifts. I believe this is one of the most important things I've done for my skiing.

 

@34mph what is your background?

 

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Got ya now I get were your coming from. Her is my back ground , I don't need a trainer, we just have a different education and thought process. Sitting in on one of Tom's RTS class would change your mind, or maybe not it you are stuck on what your doing. I have opened up my mind , dug deep into the human body to things pass what I have learned at school and now teach courses.

Masters in Health Fitness

Doctor Physical Therapy

Muscle Activation Techniques Specialist

RTS-Resistance Training Specialist

 

I would love to cont this debate, good stuff . If you live near il, I'm doing a course at a chrio school there on Muscle based rx , try to make it would be fun

 

 

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If anybody's take-home from this thread was "I haven't been to the gym in a year; I think I'll go do a max dead lift" then I cant imagine we can do anything to stop THAT person from getting hurt.

 

But for us folks trying to take another step in a crazy-dynamic sport, there are a ton of great ideas here.

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Lol ! Dead Lifts are not bad , as long as you are strong enough not to hurt your self. When I was young I use to do alot of these types of lifts& comp. as a bodybuilder and they really jacked up my body over time. I do and teach things diff now. Cheers guys and have a great year. Still looking at ice on the lake here can't wait for it to melt.
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