Dig out the skis and warm up with stretching exercises | NevadaAppeal.com

Dig out the skis and warm up with stretching exercises

Jerry Vance
Special to the Appeal

Does it seem early to dust off those skis? I don’t think so, if the first big storm of the season is any indication.

We may see some major snowfalls this year. In any case, think positive, and start on those “warm-up” and “stretch-out” ski exercises.

The first time out in any sport can be a disaster, more so for the first-time skiers. Nothing compares with the high you get from a good run down a powder hill. Nothing compares with the painful muscles you find the next day.

Because the quadricep muscles in the thigh are such large muscles, and because they are the main ones used in skiing, they will be the ones you notice the most.

Lift tickets are expensive, so most of us want a full day on the slopes. Your muscles will not be ready for that full day of snow fun unless you plan ahead and start your preseason workout now.

If you spend six to eight hours on the slopes. you might as well be doing knee bends for six hours, with lap swimming tossed in. Makes me ill just thinking about it.

About those knee bends, they work, but you have to do them now and at least every other day to get your quadriceps in shape.

You’ll also need ankle and anterior leg work. Ski boots are heavy and very resistant to movement. Just above the ankle will be the toughest part to reach with your exercises. Try doing your ankle movements with your ski boots on – boy,. is that a killer!

Lay face down on the floor and bend your knees; now try to kick your bottom wearing those ski boots. That’s a good exercise for the hamstrings.

When you do your endurance work, do so with your knees up and then do double bounces side to side, mimicking the skiing side jumps.

Arms are for the pushing off, supporting, balancing and additional momentum. They are also for getting up when you fall.

Unless you never intend to fall, you better build the strength areas of your arms and shoulders. Push-ups, pectoral and shoulder exercises will also help for preseason warm-up exercises. You might even throw in some wrist work with light weights.

Stretching is important for sports training, but it is especially important for the skier. Most of you lack the skill to fall gracefully, and most of you don’t plan to fall.

To be able to catch yourself in a fall takes strong muscles, but it also takes control and flexibility to prevent injury.

This is the time to start your preseason training, not six weeks from now. It will take time to strengthen muscles, and the smaller ones seem to take forever. Don’t wait until the day before you ski to begin warm-ups or your day on the powder may be a painful one.

• Jerry Vance is the owner of Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through the Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.