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On Top of the World: Core Strength

Fitness
posted: 09/25/2001

If anything will give Rahlves an even greater edge this season, it's strengthening his trunk, Lundstam says. "He's learning how to use his center of mass to apply pressure to his skis," he explains. "That means he needs to stabilize his core-the glutes, abs and back." The same goes for you: A strong trunk equals strong skiing. Check out Daron's three exercises to strengthen your core: Rotational Cable, Pull Hanging Leg Raise and Werners.

Rotational Cable Pull
(A) Stand at a 45-degree angle with feet shoulder-width apart, pointing away from the lower cable on a cable machine. Grip the handle with the hand closest to the cable; put the other over the top for stability.

(B) Use the core muscles-not the arm-to pull the cable up and across your body until the arms are fully extended. Keep your eyes on your hands as you pull. Using a slow, even pace, do three sets of 10 to 15 on each side. What it works: obliques, trunk rotators.

Hanging Leg Raise
Hang from a bar so that your body is fully extended without your feet touching the ground. Use a slow, controlled motion to pull your knees as close to your chest as possible. Lower slowly to avoid swinging. Do three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. As you improve, mix in sets of side raises, in which you bring your knees up to one armpit (as shown), and then the other. This twist mimics your body's motion during a ski turn. If the exercise is too difficult at first, try using a high roman chair instead of a bar.
What it works: abs, including obliques (side muscles).

Werners
(A) Lie prone on a back extension machine. The front edge should align with your hips and be high enough that you can bend forward at the hip joint, fully extend the arms and grip a weight bar without it touching the ground. (B)Use the lower back muscles to pull your body up until it's parallel with the floor. Simultaneously, pull the bar toward your chest, keeping your elbows out to the side. Pause for one to two seconds and slowly lower to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
What it works: lower and upper back.

For complete coverage of Rahlves' exercises, check out the slideshow.

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