I am Swerve Master-T. Repeat after me. “I can and I will live up to my skiing potential. Gone are the days of being lazy with my gym routine. The time is now to reach deep within and commit to a program to maximize my results on the water. I realize that the fitter I am and the healthier I eat, the better I’ll ski — plain and simple.” NOW PUT DOWN THAT BAG OF CHIPS, and DON’T GIVE ME ANY LIP!
I apologize for my over-the-top and slightly abrasive alter ego, but Swerve master-T made a similar speech in my head a couple years ago: That nut told me I had to do something about the pain I was feeling, and he was right. The strains and stresses placed on my body over the course of two decades of skiing had left me in constant grief, and if I was going to continue skiing I had to do something about it! The extra weight I was lugging around in my mid-section was helping either. That’s when I committed to a new cross-training routine that’s had real results. I have significantly less pain, and my skiing is better and more consistent. What’s the foundation of my routine? Fitness bands superflexbands.com, and functional training exercises that simultaneously use multiple muscle groups. Kind of like skiing, eh?
Ski season vs. offseason workout? I pretty much have the same routine regardless of the season, but I do make slight adjustments with my training intensity and number of workouts per week. The key is being aware of your fatigue and recovery time. Overdo it with your workout during ski season, and you won’t have enough gas left in your tank for quality sets on the water. On average, I do three 20 to 45-minute sessions per week and perform two to three sets of each exercise with high rep counts (15 to 20). I also strive to get on my stationary bike or swim a couple times a week to keep up with my cardiovascular endurance, which works well for slimming down the waistline and maintaining my ideal body weight. With that said, here’s my program:
Core Power 1: Build a strong core by looping a fitness band around a fixed object (you can purchase a door harness at the “flex band” website I mentioned above), and then rotate your torso between 60 and 120 degrees. Focus on your abs and core muscle groups, not your arms, to handle the bulk of the rotation. Experiment with the degree of torso rotation, the angle of resistance and the pace of each rep.
Core Power 2: This one’s a doozy. I loop a fitness band around my ankles tied to an anchor point and then use another band tied to an anchor point for my hands. Then I do a series of mini and full crunches and believe me when I say, “burn-baby-burn”.
Powerful Base: Squats are the foundation for building power in your lower half. It’s important to maintain consistency in your leg training throughout the ski season. I like doing my squats on the Indo Board, and a heavy-duty band looped around your shoulders to your feet will add muscle stimulating resistance. Cycling is also a great supplement for building leg strength and cardio endurance, and it’s good to vary your routine with low-and-high intensity training which mimics a typical slalom set in the course.
Explosive Strength: Regardless of which water-sports discipline you do, the more reactive you are, the easier it is to recover from mistakes. To increase my agility and improve my reaction time, I loop a fitness band around my waist and attach it to a fixed object. I do a series of exercises: standing long jumps, lateral skips and short three-step sprints.
Upper-Body Balance:There’s no question that skiing gives your back one hell of a workout … sometimes too much of one. To help balance my upper-body strength, I keep it simple and do lots of push-ups. To add variety, I like using a fitness band to add resistance while I balance on my indo Board. The balance component on the Indo Board adds another layer of building core strength. Experiment by moving your hands to multiple widths and angles to target different areas in your chest and triceps. Want more of a challenge? Only use one foot as your base while extending your free leg to the side.
Prepare For the Hit: Your deltoids take some big hits from the pull of the boat. Although the types of movements that you can perform with fitness bands are practically endless, the military press is a tried and true exercise that I like for building shoulder strength. To really feel the burn, I like to immediately alternate my shoulder presses with lateral raises (shoulder flys). For all of my exercises, I focus on maintaing a tight core.
Warm Up: If you want a dynamic warm-up before you hit the water, there’s nothing better, in my opinion, than using a light-resistance fitness band to get your muscles firing and ready to rip. I spend five to 10 minutes warming up my different muscle groups from head to toe, and I perform a combination of resistance moves and stretches. Experiment with stretches you’ve never tried.
Dry-Land Training: The average slalom course pass is only about 17 seconds long (that’s why it’s good to supplement course skiing with long free skiing runs), which doesn’t leave much time to work the right movements into your muscle memory. It’s hard to mimic a slalom turn on land, but a heavy-gauge fitness band allows me to simulate different movements in the course.
Take Away the Pain
Whether they call them trigger points or not, all water skiers are familiar with the sensation that comes from them. They’re responsible for those nagging pains in the lower and upper back, forearms and other areas. if you want to ski with less pain and recover quicker, check out Trigger points performance products. The company has created massage tools that you can use at home, at work, even on the boat — the whole therapy is designed to be done on your own. Web: tptherapy.com MSRP: $159.99 (hip and lower-back kit)