Training for skiing doesn't have to be a no-pain, no-gain proposition. Paul Chek, the fitness industry's new wizard of movement therapy, has the answers to efficient skiing movement and injury prevention. Over the course of this season in SKIING, you'll find self-assessment tests to identify potential weaknesses in back strength, lower-abdominal coordination, hip-rotator function, and hamstring length-all of which are important for skiers. Each test comes with a "solution" exercise to work on the deficiency. After you've practiced the moves in your living room, you can translate what your body has learned to the slopes.
This test measures back and hip strength and endurance, which help to prevent strain or injury on the hill. If your back and hips are weak and fatigue too soon, your spine and core-your control center-lose stability. When this happens, you begin to rely on the ligaments of your back, which makes it near impossible to react quickly to changes in terrain.
The Test: Lay facedown over the top of a FitBall with your hips over the center of the ball. Have a buddy hold your feet so that your knees are on the same horizontal plane as your hips. Arms should be placed at your sides, palms down. Time yourself with a stopwatch as you hold your torso in line with your legs, parallel to the floor, keeping your spine neutral. If you can get to three minutes, you're a star. If not...
The Solution: If you measured your time in seconds, use the test position to build strength. Hold the test position for as long as you can (say, 20 seconds), then rest for half that time (10 seconds) and repeat until you have held your body up for a cumulative total of three minutes. Then work your way up to four minutes. Perform the exercise three times a week.
For info on the FitBall, log onto www.fitball.com.