Exercises to Optimize Performance on the Mountain

by Mike Giunta, DPT, CSCS >> Request an Appointment

Now that you’re nice and loose from the Exercises Designed to Help You Avoid Injury on the Mountain, it’s time to look at a few ways to improve your performance while skiing or snowboarding. Due to the nature of these sports, the most important areas to train are core control, balance and strength in the transverse (or rotational) plane.

I like to start simple and work into more complex exercises. As you will see, most of these exercises include multiple areas of focus in order to pack the biggest punch. If you are disciplined at the start and finish of an activity, you will be rewarded with a much more substantial result.

One skill I have learned from professional athletes is attention to detail. Don’t compensate, don’t cheat and progress in a safe and systematic way. Then you can go out there and feel what it’s like to be confident and mountain STRONG!

After your warm up, start your workout with these exercises designed to target core, balance and strength and the muscle groups regularly engaged while skiing and snowboarding. Include balance exercises at the end of the workout – we all know most injuries happen when fatigued on the “last run.”

Supine Physioball Log Rolls (3 x 10 reps each direction)

Start by laying on your back and wedging a ball in between your arms and legs with your arms straight up and your knees up and at 90 degrees. Flex your ankles towards your head – you don’t point your feet when you ride! Draw your abdominal muscles in and up by activating the deepest layer of the abdominals – the transverse abdominis. Slowly roll from side to side while controlling the movement carefully and not falling too far in one direction. Be sure to breathe throughout!

TRX Roll Outs (3 x 10 reps)

This exercise is geared towards preventing rotation at the pelvis and promoting stability from your shoulders down to the lower body. Keep your hips forward and focus on staying straight through your core. If you experience pain in your back, step forward to reduce the resistance and draw your abs in to help stabilize your spine.

Rotational Ball Toss with Catch in Squat Position (3 x 5-8 reps each direction)

Here, the focus is on rotational power and proper positioning. Step back into a lunge and wind up into the rotational plane. Immediately reverse the motion by exploding out towards the wall. Catch the ball in a good athletic squat position that mimics your stance on a board. Swing the front leg back and repeat.

Bosu Single Limb Pistol with Leg out to the Side (3 x 8-10 reps each side)

Balance is often an extremely limiting factor and a system that could lead to injury if not trained. During this exercise, work on shifting your weight over the stance limb and lowering your body as deep as possible without allowing the knee to buckle inward. Arms travel outward for balance while pushing through the entire foot to return to the starting position.

Try these out and let us know what you think in the comments section!

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