I start all gym time with this core-strengthening warm-up that focuses on ski-specific exercises. A stable core—including the muscles in your stomach, sides, and back that help stabilize your spine and pelvis—is the key to a balanced body. A strong core is key for big-mountain skiing, from ripping through chopped-up crud to stomping cliffs in variable snow conditions. This routine incorporates powerful full-body movements to warm up the muscles before I start my workout of the day Cross Fit program. In this program, I have incorporated power exercises that use as many muscle groups as possible along with fast twitch balance drills, which force you to keep your core tight. View images of these exercises HERE.
Start with a low number of reps, slowly adding more to build greater muscle endurance (how long a muscle can perform its task before fatigue or failure).
Warm up: 3 rounds, 12 sets
Swiss ball squats with medicine ball twists: Center, left, right, back to center makes one rep. While balancing on a Swiss ball, look straight ahead, and tighten your abs as if someone is going to punch you in the stomach. Slowly drop into a deep body squat. To make it a little harder, hold a medicine ball out in front of you with your hands locked out, and twist from side to side while balancing in a deep squat.
Overhead squats, 45 lbs.
I like to use a lighter weight to focus on getting a deeper squat. Hold the bar overhead with a wide grip and drop into a deep squat. Make sure your stomach is tight. This will help to warm up and strengthen the shoulders.
Dumbbell swings, 40 lbs.
Start out with a lighter dumbbell. The idea is to keep your back straight, your stomach tight, and your arms locked out. Swing the dumbbell between your legs—the swing should come from the thrust of your pelvis and your abs, not your arms.
Knees to elbows
Raise your knees to your elbows while hanging from a pull up bar.
One leg deep squats
While standing on a bench, focus straight ahead, tighten your stomach, lift one leg off the bench, and dip into a squat. One leg should be doing all the work of the squat. Switch legs after 10 or 12 reps.
Wall ball shots
With a medicine ball, pick a target 10 feet up on a wall. With both hands throw the ball toward the target. As the ball comes down, catch it into a squat. Come up out of the squat and shoot the ball at the target. Repeat.
Forrest Coots is a sponsored big-mountain skier based out of Mt. Shasta, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah.