Skiing, especially downhill skiing, may be highly dependent on strong leg muscles but overall conditioning builds a routine that burns calories, increases metabolism and can target muscles important for skiing but not usually concentrated on. For example, the inner and outer thigh muscles don't get a lot of work hiking or biking.
However, building and strengthening these muscles is important because they surround and stabilize the very, very important knee joint.
The most efficient and thorough strength workout is on Nautilus type exercise machines. "Nautilus" has become a generic term for any brand of exercise machine that isolates individual muscle groups. These machines are usually grouped so that moving from one machine to the next is a progression, or circuit of working related muscle groups.
These circuit machines have become very popular and you will surely find them if you belong to a YMCA, or most any modern health or fitness club. At first the machines may seem a little complicated or torturous looking, but be assured after a short while you will get the hang of bouncing from machine to machine for a some good strength training.
A Typical CircuitGenerically speaking, a circuit may typically be set up to work muscles in the following sequence:
- Leg muscles - A leg press for upper quads, a leg extension for lower quads, a leg curl for hamstrings, a calf press and hopefully a machine that works the inside and outside thigh muscles.
- Upper body muscles - A rowing or pulling motion for upper back, a chest muscle press and/or pulldown.
- Arm muscles - Curls for biceps, reverse curls for triceps and a flying motion for pecs and rear deltoids.
- Core muscles - an abdominal resistance and lower back resistance.
Strength Training = Weight ControlIt may not sound logical, but it is a fact that a strength training routine will help maintain your desired weight and pants size. Using the circuit machines to keep strong somehow kicks in a faster metabolism that can burn calories for a long time after a workout. So, when you are pumping iron (in moderation) and it's 90 degrees outside, think snow.
Strength Training Tips
- Ask for a demonstration. Every facility has a trained staff so be sure to ask for a Certified Trainer to demonstrate each machine in the circuit and watch you do a few repetitions to be sure you are doing the exercise correctly and getting the most out of each machine.
- Don't overdo it.] You certainly don't need to bench press or leg press 5 times your weight for better skiing. Don't push yourself to the point of risking an injury.
- Warm up first. Do some gentle stretching to start, then maybe add 10 minutes or so of a cardio exercise to raise the heart rate and break a little sweat. Elliptical or stair machines can be an alternative to treadmills and saves the knees.
- Keep a record. Many facilities provide a file with sheets listing all the machines that you can use as a log. Again don't overdue it but if you progress comfortably with weight increases you can see it is all worthwhile.