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Step 2: Strength

Step 2: Strength

Fitness
By Kellee Katagi
posted: 09/18/2000

Can you handle the force of a ski turn?
You don't need tree-trunk thighs to enjoy skiing, but pencil-thin legs won't cut it either. This test, which works the quads and glutes, will assess where you fall on that scale.

The Test: Step-Ups

How To Do It
Find a sturdy Bench or stair that comes to your mid-shin. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Skiers in average shape should select dumbbell weights that add up to 25 to 45 percent of their body weight (see chart to right). Lean your upper-body forward slightly from the waist, letting your arms hang straight down. Step onto the bench with your right foot. Bring your left foot up to the bench, and transfer all your weight to that foot. Then step down with your right foot, letting it touch the ground, but keeping your weight on your left foot and your left heel on the bench. Bring your right foot back up to the bench, and transfer your weight to that foot. Then step down with your left. Continue until you have stepped onto the bench six times with each foot.

Boost Your Score
To get your muscles ski fit, target your hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves. Step-ups, step-backs, squats, lunges, leg curls, leg presses and calf raises are all effective exercises. For each, select a weight with which you can perform three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. Watch your form: Improper technique leads to injury, which leads to sitting at home while your buddies hit the slopes.

Rate Yourself

Step-Ups Men <35 Men >35 Women <35 Women >35
World Cup Champ 85 percent 75 percent 65 percent 55 percent
Black-Diamond Ripper 65 55 45 35
Weekend Warrior 40 30 25 20
Lodge Lizard 15 10 10 5

Numbers are percentages of your body weight you're able to lift (for six repetitions with each foot).

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