Planning to ski yourself into shape this winter? This is a tactic we have all tried at some point over the years, likely without much success. Part of the reason is that ski season should actually start during this time of fall transition. Think about it: Vail Valley residents spend endless hours in the summertime enjoying recreational pursuits like hiking, biking, running and paddling. These activities are great for priming our aerobic engines, but not necessarily for developing muscle groups. Then the season changes to fall and our gaze shifts upward toward the high peaks.
Now is the time to build upon the foundation of summer activities by hitting the gym in order to improve winter fitness. Training facilities across the Valley will offer specific ski-conditioning programs to get participants working on strength patterns that mimic the demands of skiing and riding. Dogma Athletica is no exception. Starting the week of October 13, trainer Brendan Finneran will lead a six-week program that is focused on lateral quickness, “instability” exercises and cardiovascular training.
Lateral quickness is the ability to move easily from left to right. While skiing or riding, the force of gravity pulls a rider downhill and the rider must be able to navigate terrain accordingly (and efficiently!). Brendan’s class will build oblique and core muscles in order to strengthen and stabilize the rider’s ability to adapt to changing terrain. Thus, enhancing the safety and control of the rider.
One of Brendan’s favorite exercises for building lateral strength and body awareness is called a Side Plank. To perform the exercise, start off on your left forearm with your left hip on the ground and your flexed feet stacked on top of one another. Now slowly raise the hips off the floor by engaging the left oblique muscles and pressing down on the knife-edge side of your left foot. Think about elevating the hips by reaching your top right hand straight up to the ceiling. Hold on one side for 30 seconds before switching to the other side and holding for 30 seconds. This very basic core pose, when done regularly, will increase overall core strength and improve posture.
Another important piece in any ski conditioning program is pelvic stability. This is the rider’s ability to control the rate of compression while descending. When going downhill at rapid speeds, it’s imperative for a rider to maintain control of the pelvic region, which includes the glute muscles and greater posterior chain. Isolating this region with targeted strength exercises will be a big gym component in Brendan’s program.
No matter what program you choose, participating in a tailored ski conditioning program will guarantee you a great winter season with higher levels of fitness, safety and fun.
Brendan Finneran’s six-week ski conditioning program starts on Tuesday, October 14. Please call (970) 688-4433 for more information.