Keeping your balance, being able to get up in waist deep powder if you take a tumble, and skiing or snowboarding in general requires some serious core strength and stability. And there’s no time like the present to start getting your core prepared to handle anything you throw at it on the slopes this season.

Any type of weightlifting movement will improve your skiing and snowboarding, (especially squats!), but use these core exercises to supplement the fitness program you’re using to prep for winter to make sure you’ll have the midline stability you need.

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Of course, all material in this article is for informational use only. It’s always a good idea to perform weightlifting movements with a partner and/or spotter, warm up properly, and stretch properly. Any exercises you read about on this site are to be attempted at your own risk. Enjoy, and have a great season!

1. Toes to Bar

Toes-to-Bar-(2)

PHOTO CREDIT: Katie Levy

Though primarily a core and hip flexor exercise, Toes to Bar also use small muscles that can get overlooked. Toes to Bar reps require hamstring flexibility, core control, knowing what muscles to activate when, and enough grip strength to hold on to a bar long to complete your set. Though grip strength isn’t as important on the slopes, the other benefits of Toes to Bar sure are.

Start hanging from a pullup bar, hands just outside shoulder width apart, with active shoulders, meaning not allowing your shoulder joints and tendons to support you. Ideally, you’re in a hollow position, keeping your core activated through the duration of the exercise. Point your toes and raise your legs up to touch the pullup bar between your hands, keeping your legs as straight as possible. Lower back down into the hollow body position, careful to avoid swinging too much. Take a look at this video to learn more.

Recommended Rep Scheme: Three sets of ten reps with 60 seconds in between.

Other Options: Toes to Bar a bit much right out of the gate? Try Knees to Elbows. It’s similar, but instead of bringing your toes to the bar with legs straight, you’re bringing your knees to your elbows.

2. GHD Sit-ups

GHD-Situps-(2)

PHOTO CREDIT: Katie Levy

Like Toes to Bar, GHD sit-ups are is primarily a core and hip flexor exercise, but you’ll feel it in your quads too. They require a specific piece of equipment to do, but they’re as good as it gets when it comes to practicing explosive power and activating the right muscles at the right time.

Position yourself in the GHD, and set the distance between the pad and the foot plate so your hips are just off the center of the pad. Keeping your knees slightly bent, extend your hips, lowering your upper body backward, touching the floor with your hands. To return, extend your knees quickly, activate your core, and sit straight up, touching the foot plate in front of you. Take a look at this video to learn more.

Recommended Rep Scheme: Three sets of 15 reps with 60 seconds in between.

Pro Tip: If these make you dizzy, try spotting something on the ceiling or on the wall in front of you.

3. Side Plank with Leg Raise

Starfish

PHOTO CREDIT: Katie Levy

Plank exercises are generally seen as good for the core, depending on who you ask, but adding new elements to them can make them tougher and more effective. In this case, we’re taking a standard plank, flipping it on its side, and adding a dynamic component.

Start in a side plank, hand on the ground, both arms fully extended, and feet stacked on top of each other. Push your top hip toward the ceiling. Keeping your body straight from head to toe, slowly raise the top leg into the air, hold it for five seconds, and lower down. Rinse and repeat, then flip over and complete the same movement on the other side.

Recommended Rep Scheme: Three sets of 10 reps. Try to complete all reps on both sides before stopping. For example, 10 reps with your right arm supporting you, then 10 reps with your left arm supporting you, then rest.

Other Options: If you’re more comfortable holding the side plank position on your elbow, that’s completely fine. And if you have trouble raising and lowering your leg without tipping over, try just holding the side plan for 30-45 seconds, then switching sides.

4. Windshield Wipers

Windshield-Wipers-(1)

PHOTO CREDIT: Katie Levy

With numerous variations and options to adjust depending on equipment available and your fitness level, windshield wipers are a great addition to pre-slope season prep workouts.

For the first variation, start by hanging from a pullup bar, hands just outside shoulder width apart. As with Toes to Bar, stay in a hollow position when you’re hanging, shoulders activated. Point your toes, and with your legs locked together, raise them in a clockwise motion, sweeping them up, around, and back down to the starting position. Repeat the movement in a counterclockwise motion. Take a look at the first half of this video to learn more.

No pullup bar available? No problem. Windshield wipers can be done on the floor. Lay on your back with your arms on the floor, palms down, at a 45º angle from your body. Keep your legs straight, toes pointed, and start with them approximately six inches off the floor. Sweep your legs up and around in a clockwise motion until you return to the start position, then repeat counterclockwise. Take a look at the second half of this video, beginning at 0:25, to learn more.

Recommended Rep Scheme: Three sets of 10 reps, five in each direction, alternating.

Pro Tip: You’re going to have a tough time with this one if you’re lacking hamstring flexibility. Stretch out before you start, and if you know if you have tight hamstrings, make stretching a bigger part of your workout routine so you’re less prone to injury.

Other Options: Want to make them tougher? Try holding a medicine ball between your feet, or a barbell overhead if you’re doing them on the floor.

Of course, all material in this article is for informational use only. It’s always a good idea to perform weightlifting movements with a partner and/or spotter, warm up properly, and stretch properly. Any exercises you read about on this site are to be attempted at your own risk. Enjoy, and have a great season!

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  • Olivia Katherine Hernandez

    This article seemed to be a good reminder to stay fit specially when we engaged ourselves from outdoor activity like skiing and snowboarding