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Start Your Engines

Evolution
posted: 05/22/2000

It's a cold powder day, and you're rushing out the door to grab first chair. You snag your gear, hop in your car, start it up and...ugh, it shudders out of the driveway. Sound like your first run on the slopes? Not surprising: Just like any piece of high-performance machinery, your body has to warm up before you can expect it to fire on all cylinders.

By doing a few easy exercises before heading to the hill, you'll not only improve your performance, you'll also help prevent injury. So get your motor revved to race-and stop wasting precious time on warm-up runs.

BRIDGE

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at roughly a 45-degree angle (the closer you can comfortably get your feet to your glutes, the more stretch you'll get). With your feet against the floor, press the small of your back down, contracting your abs. Driving through your heels, push your pelvis up as far as you can and squeeze your glutes and lower back. Your arms should remain flat against the floor. Slowly lower your body to its initial starting position. Do a set of 10.

What It Works hamstrings, glutes, lower back muscles

OPPOSING ARM AND LEG EXTENSION

Get down on your hands and knees. Lift and extend your left leg behind you while simultaneously extending your right arm in front of you. Lift both upward, contracting your glutes and back. Slowly lower them to the floor. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg, doing a total of 10 reps on each side.

What It Works upper and mid-back muscles, upper glutes; promotes coordination between opposite sides of your body



TRANSVERSE ABDOMINAL HOLD

Kneel on the floor. Take a deep breath, letting your stomach expand. Exhale the air in your lungs while drawing your belly button toward your spine. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax. Repeat for a total of five reps.

What It Works transverse abdominal muscles; increases stability and helps you use less energy on the slopes



DOWNWARD DOG

On your hands and knees, position yourself as if to do a kneeling push-up. Press your legs back until they are straight and push your torso toward them until you're in an inverted V. Stretch your heels toward the floor. Hold for 30-60 seconds, rest and repeat.

What It Works stretches your entire body, especially your hamstrings, calves and upper back muscles



LEG ARCS

Lie on your back, arms at your sides. Lift one leg straight up, then stretch it across your body until your foot is just above the floor. Bring your leg back up and swing it to the outside of your body until your foot almost touches the floor on the other side. Do 10 reps with each leg.

What It Works hip flexors, abs, abductors, adductors; working several muscle groups together lowers risk of injury



BACK EXTENSION

Lie flat on your stomach with your arms outstretched in front of you. Slowly pull your arms and legs toward the ceiling, arching your back as you go. You should feel your glutes and lower back muscles flexing. Pause at the top, then gently let your body relax to a flat starting position. Do 10 reps.

What It Works glutes, hamstrings, neck muscles, back muscles

FEBRUARY 2005

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