It’s that time of year here in Park City where, as the temps start to drop, and these first snows begin to dust our mountain landscape, the stoke becomes extremely high for ski and snowboard season. As a mountain town local I’ve started my ski conditioning regimen so that I can be strong and confident on the slopes this year.
Being involved in a ski conditioning training program is not only fun, but also smart, as it helps you enjoy longer days on the slopes while protecting your body from injuries.
Regardless of where you live, if you plan to ski/snowboard this winter, I highly suggest putting in some strength training and conditioning days so that you can have fun, and safe days on the slopes.
Here to help in Park City is Athletic Republic, a local training facility focused on sports performance training that is in the midst of an 8-week ski conditioning program. Athletic Republic’s conditioning programs are based on established protocols for building strength, agility, stamina, and power in competitive athletes and tailored to meet the needs of adults with a variety of goals and fitness levels.
The hard-working trainers at Athletic Republic strategically plan every workout to focus on different muscle groups. This not only works the body in a balanced way but also enables their clients to work out more frequently because they’re not just working the same muscle groups in every workout. A hallmark of Athletic Republic’s training is developing power using a range of plyometric tools and exercises. I had the pleasure of participating in one of their sessions where we focused on strength training, utilizing the technique of low reps, and high weights. Other sessions in this program will focus on balance, speed, or power. You really get complete full-body training, and at the end of 8 weeks, I can only imagine how strong and ready I’d be for ski season.
What: Athletic Republic
Where: 3126 Quarry Rd Suite G, Park City, UT 84098
When: Monday - Friday 6 AM - 7 PM, Saturday 7 AM - 1 PM, Closed Sundays
Who: People looking to feel strong, confident, and prevent injuries while on the slopes
Easily accessible from both Salt Lake City and Park City, Athletic Republic, is located in Quarry Village right off of highway 80. The gym may look small but it sure is mighty. When I walked in I was amazed by the amount of training equipment and how it looked like a serious coaching facility for athletes. I learned that they take their training seriously there, as they not only create workout programs for people to feel strong and confident but also help people get back to playing the sports they love after injuries.
The class I took was smaller than other ski conditioning classes I had been to recently, which was a relief as I was looking for some more one on one direction. Catherine Greenwald, their marketing coordinator, mentioned that the classes are structured in this way for a very specific reason. With smaller classes, their trainers can easily identify incorrect movement patterns and ensure clients are doing exercises properly to develop the right neuromuscular patterning. The small group size more closely recreates the personal training experience, in contrast to large boot-camp classes where potentially dangerous poor form can go undetected. That was fantastic to hear as I’ve personally experienced that if poor form is not corrected it can really create bad habits while on your skis or snowboard.
Liz and Taylor, my trainers for the day ran us through a pretty extensive dynamic warm-up to increase our blood flow to the areas we were going to be working out and to wake up our nervous systems a bit since it was 8 AM on a Friday. (A good warm-up should mimic the movements you will use throughout the course of your workout.) We then split up into two groups with one group using dumbells, kettlebells, and the squat bar to strengthen our core, chests, glutes, and backs, and the other group performing more dynamic strength exercises like stability ball hamstring curls, hip abduction/adduction, sled drags and walking push-ups. Since the group size was so small, the other participants and I were able to cheer each other on and feed off of each other’s energy when the exercises started to become a bit more strenuous. It was great to have the trainers around to correct my form and to give me advice on how to do the exercises in a more efficient way. After completing 4 circuits we cooled down and stretched. I felt invigorated thinking about how this workout was getting me on my way to slay this winter.
After our sweat session, I talked with Liz in more depth about the ways I can continue to strengthen my body for this upcoming ski season. She said that one of the most imperative things we can focus on for our skiing and snowboarding is our core, as it is what stabilizes our body. Our core is comprised of our midsection all the way around our body and includes our back AND our hips (which you don’t really think about when thinking about your core, am I right?). She mentioned that the reason we work so hard on our legs and butts is that it is very important to fire our glutes correctly because they directly affect the stabilization of our core and that’s a huge component of Athletic Republic’s ski conditioning classes.
Liz helped me put together a ski conditioning routine that you can do anywhere and anytime prior to your ski/snowboard vacation to feel prepared and ready to harvest all the pow. She also created a warm-up/cool-down routine that you can do in your hotel room before/after you hit the slopes.
In addition, one piece of equipment that Liz suggested you acquire and use are elastic bands. They are an easy, travel-friendly amazing exercise tool that you can take anywhere. They come in a couple of different resistances and are easily purchasable on Amazon. Try using elastic bands to do exercises like monster walks, lateral step-outs, and bridges with abduction.
Before your vacation.
Five bodyweight exercises that will help strengthen and prepare you for the slopes.
- Reps: 3 sets of all 5 exercises.
- Time: 30 seconds each exercise (note: and that includes 30 sec per left and right side)
- Take a minute rest between each set.
- To ramp it up complete more sets and/or do each exercise for 45 seconds.
Exercise #1: 3-Way Lunge
- Lunge forward, back, and to the side
Exercise #2: Single Leg glute bridge
- Lay on the floor with your feet flat and knees bent.
- Raise one leg off of the ground, pulling the knee to your chest. This will be your starting position.
- Execute the movement by driving through the heel, extending your hip upward and raising your glutes off of the ground.
- Extend as far as possible, pause and then return to the starting position.
Exercise #3: Plank with Shoulder Taps
- Set up in a high plank position from your hands and toes (advanced) or hands and knees (beginner).
- Brace your abs and engage your glutes so that your body is in a straight line, lift one hand up off the ground, moving it to touch the opposite shoulder
- Keep your hips squared to the ground and do not rotate as you lift your hand to touch your shoulder.
- Touch your opposite shoulder - move at a controlled pace.
Exercise #4: Single Leg Cross-Body Reach
- Stand on one leg
- Lean forward from the hip
- Use the arm of the leg being lifted to touch the outside of the opposite foot
Exercise #5: Classic Jump Squat
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively.
- When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.
Once on your ski vacation, it is important to warm up.
You’re probably thinking you don’t need to work out before a full day of moving your body. But I promise you’ll feel so much better at the end of the day if you do this quick workout in your hotel room prior to your day on the slopes:
Exercise #1: Fire hydrants
- Start on your hands and knees. Place your shoulders above your hands and your hips above your knees. Tighten your core and look down.
- Lift your left leg away from your body at a 45-degree angle. Keep your knee at 90 degrees.
- Make sure to use your core, keep arms straight, and stay square to the floor
Exercise #2 Dead Bug with Hold
- Lie down and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
- Tighten your abs and raise your bent legs so your knees are over your hips, bringing both arms up halfway overhead.
- Move one arm up while straightening out the opposite leg and not letting it touch the floor.
- Keep your abs tight as you come back to the starting position.
- Make sure low back pressed into the floor and to keep toes flexed towards shins
Exercise 3: Hip Opener with Rotation
- Step your right foot in between your hands
- Come up and put your left arm on the ground and your right hand in the air
- Twist towards your right foot
Exercise #4: Skaters with a Hold
- Start in a small squat. Jump sideways to the left, landing on your left leg.
- Bring your right leg behind to your left ankle, and don't let it touch the floor - hold that position for 1 second
- Reverse direction by jumping to the right with your right leg. This completes one rep.
After a day on the Mountain.
I know après is calling your name, but before you hit the hay for the night - take some time to recover from your day. Here are some recovery stretches that will help keep you fresh to do it all over again tomorrow:
Exercise #1: Cobra pose
Exercise #2: Childs pose
Exercise #3: Wide deep squat with a twist
Exercise #4: Adductor (inner thigh) rock back
Thank you to Athletic Republic for giving us the tools and information to help us to strengthen our bodies to keep them safe during ski season. How lucky are we to get to play in the mountains and slide on snow. I hope to see you out there with an extra pep in your step and a smile on your face!