Ski Fitness Fundamentals!

Fitness Expert

As ski season approaches, many enthusiastic snow sliders will flock to their fitness centers. Eager to avoid the dreaded "thigh burn", some may perform countless sets on the leg extension machine, often at weight loads that would make Arnold terminate his workout. But is this really effective? Maybe not.

Where do the primary movements of skiing begin? In the legs? Well, no, not really. The 4 fundamental skills of Alpine skiing are Balance, Edge, Pressure and Rotary. Edge control involves a tipping action of the feet. As the skiers center of mass passes over the skis, pressure is increased. Then, to control the direction of the turn, rotary movements are used.

The key element that allows this sequence to occur with dynamic fluidity, is balance. Ski turns are empowered by your deep core stabilizers. The actual movement begins in the feet and ankles. Pure logic dictates that a ski fitness program should enhance balance, proprioception, and biomechanics of the feet.

Performing any traditional leg exercise on the Sissel Sitfit is an excellent way to integrate balance and proprioception with strength training. The "bumpy" side of the Sitfit imitates the uneven surfaces that skiers are sometimes faced with.

Edging and pressure movements can be practiced on the Sitfit. I like to use two Sitfits. Come down into a skiers "tuck" position. Shift your weight, from the pinky toe of your right foot and the big toe on your left foot, to the pinky toe on your left foot and the big toe on your right foot. Some professional skiers use the disc to break in new ski boots.

Since the sitfits are a relatively inexpensive product, its a good idea to purchase a few of them. For agility and proprioception, place a few of them in a circle. Step from disc to disc, maintaining postural alignment. The transitional balance you gain from this exercise is very beneficial for skiing. Have fun!

Lisa Marie Mercer has been a fitness professional since 1973. She is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, The Cooper Clinic, and the PhysicalMInd Institute. Lisa is the fitness coach for the Epicski Academy, a 4-day ski clinic , which features some of the top ski instructors in North America.