Even with this mild Winter, we've still seen our fair share of snow in the mountains. And while Spring is just around the corner, late-season storms around the country have given us the gift of fresh powder. If you're planning a snowy mountain weekend anytime soon, here's a circuit workout that works your core, lower body, and balance — courtesy of Erick Northrup, a district fitness manager at Crunch and avid skier — to keep in your workout rotation before you head to the slopes.
Get the workout after the break!
Start with this move to warm up. "It's a great total-body warmup and use of rotational stabilization," Erick says. "Skiing and boarding require strong stabilization in the transverse plane. This rotation hits this."
- To start, stand straight, then hinge at the hip, bending until your hands are on the floor.
- Walk hands out to plank position directly under shoulders. Keep your core engaged with belly button pulled in and shoulders down (see below).
- Rotate to one side and lift your arm up, making a "T" with your body (see below).
- Lower raised arm back to basic plank position. To add difficulty, add a push-up here.
- Change sides by rotating to the other side and lifting that arm.
- Lower raised arm back to center, walk hands back to feet, and stand up.
- Do 10 to 15 reps.
"This is a great single-leg action, designed to emulate side-to-side movement on the snow," Erick says.
- To start, stand with both feet touching. Swiftly lunge out to the side with one leg, keeping your stable leg straight with foot flat (see below).
- Lower your pelvis until your knee is bent to approximately 90 degrees (also shown in first picture).
- Push off the foot of your bent leg to come into a standing position, but don't put your foot down. Bring the knee so it is in line with your hip. Balancing on one leg adds difficulty (see below; you can also add a medicine ball to make the move even more challenging).
- Do 15-20 reps on each side.
This basic plyometric move is perfect for skiers or snowboarders. "All snow sports are eccentric sports requiring the ability to fight gravity," Erick says. "This exercise will prepare the lower body and core for the forces placed on it moving slowly or ripping your favorite snowy terrain." You'll need a plyometric box or raised surface higher than a normal step but low enough so you can jump on it (around 12 inches is a good height to start; use the weight bench at your gym if it doesn't have a box).
- To start, position feet hip-width apart, drop into partial squat position (below), hold one count, and "explode" jump on top of the box. Make sure you land softly and absorb your landing by keeping your knees bent (see below).
- Jump forward off of box, landing softly with knees bent. Finish in partial squat position with arms extended forward.
- Hop 180 degrees to face the box again and repeat.
- Do 15-20 reps or 45 seconds to one minute each way.
Perform these exercises in a continuous circuit lasting anywhere from 20-30 minutes.