Dude, my butt hurts! that's the standard squawk that Aspen, Colorado, fitness trainer Bill Fabrocini hears from his clients after their first day on the slopes. It's not surprising, since the glutes—some of your body's strongest muscles—play a major role in supporting the pelvic girdle, the shock-absorbing nexus between your legs and trunk. "Dissipating force throughout your body is crucial for high-performance skiing and boarding, says Fabrocini, who trains world-class athletes like 2002 Olympic snowboarding bronze medalist Chris Klug. "You can't absorb shock or accelerate out of a turn unless you have a strong pelvic girdle.
Check out the exercises below.
We know, "pelvic girdle sounds like something your granny would wear to bed. But it's really a rendezvous point for muscles that influence your on-snow power output—your gluteus maximus and medius, lower-back muscles, and abs. If your tush is mush, those muscles are forced to overcompensate, cutting ski days short and increasing your recovery time.
This month, we asked Klug to put Fabrocini's prescription for booty-building to the test. He happily complied. "No matter how strong your legs are, it's tough to take full advantage of your lower-body strength without strong glutes and core, Klug says. "Absorbing all the vibrations, torque, and impact enable me to carve cleanly through challenging terrain.
Each move in this workout progresses from a more- to less-stable position. Once your body learns the drill, advance to a less-stable position to make it harder: Try each series for two weeks, then move on—but only if you perform each exercise with good control. "With each set, attempt to hold a neutral spine—between a rounded lower back and an arched one—by holding your navel in to engage your core, Fabrocini says. Do the series once a week for maintenance.