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Hit the Slopes

Get into peak condition this winter and you'll be cruising smooth until spring.

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Much of the training you need to prepare and maintain your body for skiing can be done outside the gym. Improving flexibility and building strong legs and a solid core are the best ways to ensure a healthy season in the snow. In addition, cross training, such as mountain biking and trail running, can be especially helpful for visualizing and training with fast, uneven natural slopes (not to mention the leg strength and lung benefits).

One of the simplest exercises for attaining “ski legs” is the wall sit. Possibly the first-ever ski-fitness drill, it’s also the most used. To perform it, put your back against a wall, and slide down until you’re sitting in an imaginary chair, thighs parallel to the ground. Hold that position, then hold it some more. The flaming sensation in your quads indicates you’re doing it right. Get used to it now: That deep burn is a rite of passage for skiers and a reward for those hard turns.

Also vital to ski fitness is the training of independent leg motion. More than any other sport, skiing separates your limbs, extending one leg down the mountain while pulling the other close to the body to coil for the next turn. So it behooves you to drill the legs into independence. Step aerobics is especially helpful— if you’re into that sort of thing. The rest of us should work on single-leg squats and alternating lunges to isolate and train each leg.

Add this kind of ski training to your regimen and you’ll create a killer workout while preparing yourself for a healthy dose of outdoors adventure.

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