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In sports-specific training, it doesn’t get much more efficient than exercises that serve as twofers, doing double duty by decreasing injury risk while improving your sports performance. In skiing, the top twofers may be predictable if you’re a veteran on the slopes — but ensuring you’re doing these moves properly can make or break your progress.
Whether you’re hitting the slopes for the first time or your 1,000 th time, take a moment to incorporate some of these top twofer skiing exercises into your cross-training days.
Pain on the front side of the hips and groin is a major problem that sidelines skiers. When your hips start pinching, you have to ski in a more upright position, which will compromise every element of your skiing technique. Often, this limitation is caused by overworking your front hip muscles. They compensate for weakness in the sides of your core and hips, but your core side muscles (like your gluteus medius and obliques) should be the ones to guide all of your ski direction changes.
While many skiers have tried clam exercises, they often perform them incorrectly. They bend their knees and hips to approximately 90 degrees — a technique error that overworks the fronts of the hips and decreases the work done by the gluteus medius. This is the exact opposite of what you want.
Instead, fix your alignment and increase core strength by doing side knee plank clams instead.
Perform these with a goal of working up to three sets of 20 reps on each side. Be patient, as building this kind of endurance takes time.
Advance the exercise further by adding a very light band just above your knees. Note: Stronger bands are not better. You know your band is too heavy if the band limits your range of motion.
As most lifters know, the gluteus maximus takes up all of the real estate on the hips’ backside. This powerful muscle often gets inhibited because we sit on it during the day. Therefore, skiing without activating your glutes can put stress your knees and low back, leading to injury or a plateau in your technique development.
While skiing may seem like an activity performed on two legs, it’s actually a continuous weight shift between legs. If one side is stronger than the other, imbalances in both your technique and knee safety result. The bridge march not only activates the essential glutes, but also helps decrease the right versus left hip muscle imbalances.
Work up to three sets of 20 bridge marches without allowing your pelvis to rotate or your hamstrings to cramp. Resist the temptation to add bands or weights to this exercise. If you’re properly activating the glutes and keeping your pelvis completely stable, three sets of 20 will take you a few months to achieve.
Ever wake up after a day on the slopes with your quads feeling so sore that you don’t want to walk? This is a common feeling, especially if you’re a new skier or are trying to increase your skill level. After all, your quads are responsible for holding your knees strong on every single run, and this demands great strength and endurance. The barbell front squat emphasizes the needed quad strength and endurance.
Once a week, try doing front squat supersets. Do your first set at a heavy load that you can perform for only 5-6 reps while maintaining form. Then, switch to a light weight where you can perform 10-20 reps until fatigue.
If you don’t have access to a barbell (or if front squats are new for you), do goblet squats with a dumbbell in front of your chest instead. Resist the temptation to try this on a Smith machine. The Smith machine changes your alignment, and this can present a knee injury risk.
Your capacity to develop technique and progress skiing levels depends on your underlying muscle endurance and strength, so take a moment to plan the side plank clam, bridge march, and front squat supersets into your leg cross-training day.
Stay attentive to the details shared in this article, as intentional movement, sets, and reps change the outcome. Prepare to step up to the challenge that these skiing twofers present as they build your capacity for your next skill milestones on the slopes.