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By Topper Hagerman
posted: 09/19/1998

It seems few people have enough time to train for the ski season. What's more, no matter how fit you might be, there are plenty of muscles important to strong skiing that get overlooked in standard workout routines.

But getting in ski shape is easier than you might think. First, set a goal, such as taking your first five runs of the season, top to bottom, without stopping. Next, start preparing right away. Do the following exercises three to five days a week, from now until the first day of the ski season. (To keep your ski body strong, continue the program throughout the winter.) The first three exercises are stretches, which are important in a workout because they increase the range of motion around your joints. The remaining five exercises are strengtheners, designed to build muscle endurance and power.

You can do these exercises anywhere and anytime, with absolutely no equipment. If they become too easy, increase the frequency or repetition. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

John Atkins and Topper Hagerman are former U.S. Ski Team trainers who now run Topper Sportsmedicine in Vail, Colo. They are also consultants to the Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation. Their clinic can be reached at (800) 250-3779.

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