Winter sports provide a unique challenge for participants. The playing surface is challenging, slippery, wet and cold, which can wreak havoc on movement mechanics, balance and overall movement control. A sound strength and conditioning program will help you deal with these challenges.
Before working out, always spend a few minutes warming up. In this particular case, using a foam roller or other mobility products to release the mid and lower back, quadriceps, calf muscles and glutes should be a priority. From here, doing some active mobility work and five minutes of light to moderate cardiovascular activity will get you ready for the workout.
One Leg Balance
2 sets, 12-15 reps
Beginner: Standing on one leg, balance for as long as possible without falling over. Aim to balance for 1 minute. Repeat on the other leg. (Avoid letting the knee collapse inward.)
Intermediate: Standing on one leg, hold TRX handles in both hands to assist with balance. Do a single leg squat.
Advanced: Sit on a bench or chair. Raise your right foot off the floor, and push up to standing with your left leg. Lower slowly back down and when your buttocks touch the seat, stand back up.
2 sets, hold 30 – 45 sec
Beginner: Lie flat on your back, with knees bent to 45 degrees. Place your hands at your sides with palms facing down. Raise the toes off the ground, driving the heels down. Now raise your hips up off the floor and hold at the top of the movement. Do not push your hips up too far – you might feel pain in the lower back.
Intermediate: Place a medicine ball or weight on your waist.
Advanced: Once in position, alternate lifting your bent legs off the ground, hands at your sides or even on your hips.
Box Step Ups/Box Jumps
2 sets, 8-12 reps each
Beginner: Use a box or a bench that is approximately the height of your knees. Place one foot on the edge of the box and the other on the ground beside the box. Stand up on the box using one leg. Slowly lower to the starting position. Complete reps then switch legs.
Intermediate: Hop over a low box, side-to-side, with one foot landing on top of the box and the other on the floor. Repeat the movement from right to left.
Advanced: Find a low box or hurdle to jump over laterally. Land into soft knees, and quickly repeat. Avoid letting the knees collapse inward on landing.
2 sets, 12-15 reps
Beginner: In the standing position, leaning slightly forward, gently bend both knees. Imagine you are holding ski poles. Now push your left foot away from your right foot, straightening the left leg at the knee as you do so. The right knee can bend a little further as your foot touches the floor. Now bring your left foot back to the starting position.
Intermediate/Advanced: Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell up on the chest, below the chin.
2 reps, hold 30 – 60 sec
Beginner: Imagine you are sitting on an invisible chair – with the wall as the back rest. Keep your head up, against the wall and hold your arms as if they were holding ski poles. Knees should be bent to 90 degrees throughout the exercise.
Intermediate: Hold for 60 seconds. Alternate raising and lowering heels off the floor in a controlled manner.
Advanced: Hold for 60 seconds. Alternate lifting feet up off the floor in a controlled manner.