10 Pre-Season Exercises

That'll Whip You Into Shape for Skiing

It doesn’t matter whether you live at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon and average 90 days per season or you live in a Mediterranean climate and do one big ski trip per year: if you’re already in good skiing shape when you first hit the slopes, you’re going to get a LOT more bang for your buck.

BURN SLC, a Pilates, TRX, and circuit-training gym located in Sugar House, designed its super popular Snow Conditioning Series to help skiers and snowboarders hit the ground running—or more aptly: hit the snow ripping—on day one. The classes strengthen the entire body—with an emphasis on core and lower body strength—and build cardiovascular endurance.

While traditional off-season training for skiing and snowboarding focuses heavily in the sagittal plane, featuring back-and-forth or push-and-pull movements, skiing and snowboarding also require the body to move in the frontal plane (laterally) and the transverse plane (rotationally). BURN designed its exercises to strengthen the muscles used in all three planes. The series also highlights unilateral movements (working one limb at a time), which greatly benefits athletes since so many of the movements used in skiing and snowboarding rely on the strength to regularly activate one side of the body more than the other as well as the power to transfer energy from one side to the other. The series also has a heavy cardio component designed to increase endurance for deep days, long days, and hiking in the mountains in the winter.

Mike Brown Dex Mills Skiing Alta


Here are 10 of Burn SLC’s favorite exercises used in its Snow Conditioning Series:

 

Lower Body

1. Single-Leg Squat or Pistol Squat

Helps increase range of motion in the hip, knee, and ankle. A unilateral movement that helps work out imbalances between a dominant and weak side. Strengthens the quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes. Helps build balance and stability.

• Can be done using only your bodyweight, however we prefer using the TRX Suspension Trainer.

• Adjust the TRX to mid-length.

• Begin by standing on one leg, facing the anchor point.

• Align your knee with your toes facing straight ahead.

• Engage your core and flatten your back into a neutral position (no over-extension or flexion/arching). Lower your body into a single-leg squat position, placing your weight to the middle/rear of your planted foot. Lengthen and straighten your free leg, arms out in front of you to assist with balance.

• Lower your hips below the knee of your planted foot in a lunge using full range of motion in your ankle, knee, and hips.

• Try to keep the knee on your planted leg centered over your ankle joint. Keep your shin on the planted leg as vertical as possible and parallel with the angle of your spine.

Burn SLC Single Leg Squat

• Stand fully back up, slow and controlled, and repeat.

• Build up to intervals of 60 secs per leg.

• To modify this movement, you can use a pole for bodyweight balance assistance and rest the heel of your lengthened leg on the ground as you lunge with the other leg.

2. Abducted Lunges

A unilateral movement that helps work out imbalances between a dominant and weak side. Strengthens core, quads, glutes, hip abductors, hip adductors, inner thighs, calves, and stabilizer muscles around the knee. Helps build balance and stability.

• Can be done using only bodyweight, however we prefer using the TRX Suspension Trainer.

• Lower the TRX Suspension Trainer to mid-calf length.

• Place your inside leg in both TRX foot cradles and plant your outside leg with foot directly under hip, both ankles parallel, and both feet facing directly forward with your body perpendicular to the anchor point.

• Engage your core and flatten your back into a neutral position. Lunge back and down into your outside planted foot, keeping your knee behind your planted toes. Weight should be in the middle/rear of your planted foot.

• Try to keep the knee on your planted leg centered over your ankle joint. The angle of your shin on your planted leg should be parallel with the angle of your spine.

Burn SLC Abducted Lunges

• Return to standing and repeat.

• Build up to intervals of 60 secs per leg.

• To modify this movement you can use a pole for bodyweight balance assistance and rest the heel of your lengthened leg on the ground as you lunge with the other leg.

3. Bosu Ball / Resistance Band Squat w/ Reverse "Wood Chop"

A movement that strengthens the quads, glutes, calves, core, shoulders, biceps, and back while increasing balance and stability.

• Begin near the bottom of a squat position on the Bosu Ball, holding a resistance band with both handles close together to the side of your right hip.

• In one motion, press into your heels and stand up as you reverse chop the handles of the resistance band up and across your body until you’re standing and the handles are above your left shoulder.

BURN SLC Bosu Ball Squat with Reverse Wood Chop

• Return to the beginning position and repeat.

• Build up to intervals of 60 secs per side.

4. Single-Leg Hip Press

A unilateral movement that helps work out imbalances between a dominant and weak side. Strengthens hamstrings, glutes, back, and core. We like to work the hamstrings regularly, as many athletes are "quad dominant" meaning they work their quads out (running, hiking, biking, etc.) and don't necessarily focus on training their hamstrings. Strong hamstrings are very important in skiing and snowboarding to help improve performance and reduce the risk of knee injuries.

• Lie on your back with both knees bent, feet planted, and your heels near your hips.

• Flex one leg straight towards the ceiling.

• Maintaining the same knee angle from start to finish on your planted leg, push down through your foot into the floor, engage your hamstrings, lift your hips and the flexed straight leg toward the ceiling.

Burn SLC Single Leg Hip Press

• Slowly return to the beginning position and repeat.

• Build up to intervals of 60 secs per leg.

Core

5. Body Saw to Pike

Integrates core stability with shoulder strength and mobility. Requires upper body and core stabilization to strengthen the upper and lower abdominals and shoulders.

• Use felt pads, a t-shirt, towel, rag, etc. on a smooth surface such as a hardwood floor.

• Start in a forearm plank with your shoulders stacked directly over your elbows and your toes in flexion on the felt pads. For a more challenging progression of this move, you can start in a high plank with your shoulders stacked directly over your palms.

Body Saw Burn SLC

• Maintaining body alignment and keeping the shoulders pulled back and down, rock back on your elbows moving through the shoulders.

• Bring your shoulders forward, stopping when they’re directly over your elbows, and lift your hips toward the ceiling, sliding your feet toward your elbows into a pike position. Keep the pike strong by engaging your quads and avoid bending your knees.

Burn SLC Pike

• Return to the beginning position and repeat.

• Build up to 60 sec intervals.

6. Side Plank Variations

We use several variations of side planks and several different modalities. Utilizing the TRX Suspension Trainer, Bosu Ball, Battle Ropes, and bodyweight planks are some of our favorite ways to strengthen the obliques and core stabilization.

Bodyweight Side Plank

• Begin by lying on your left side with your right foot stacked on top of your left. You can stagger your feet with your left foot forward to modify this plank. Place your left forearm on the ground pointing directly in front of you, with your left shoulder stacked directly above your elbow.

• Maintain a side plank position throughout the entire exercise by stacking your right shoulder directly over you left shoulder and your right hip directly over your left hip.

• Extend your right arm toward the ceiling and hold a side plank.

Burn SLC Bodyweight Side Plank

• To progress this move, add a hip dip and hip raise.

Burn SLC Bodyweight Side Plank

• Build up to 60 sec intervals.

Battle Ropes Side Plank Wave

• Maintain a side plank with your left side towards the floor and your right side towards the ceiling.

• With your right elbow glued to your right side, grip the battle rope with your right hand.

• Keeping your right elbow glued to your right side, whip the battle rope up and down, externally rotating your right shoulder.

Burn SLC Battle Ropes Side Plank


7. Kick-Through Push-Ups

A dynamic core movement that requires overall core stabilization and integrates chest and shoulder stability. Helps improve flexibility and requires core muscular coordination and core strength from the abdominals and internal and external obliques.

• Begin in a high plank position moving into a push-up and back to a high plank.

• When you return to the high plank, kick your right foot under your body at a diagonal, touching your left hand.

Burn SLC Kick Through Push Up

Burn SLC Kick Through Push Up

• Return to a high plank position moving into a push-up back to a high plank.

• When you return to the high plank, kick your left foot under your body at a diagonal touching your right hand.

Burn SLC Kick Through Push Up

Burn SLC Kick Through Push Up

• Repeat, alternating sides.

• To modify this movement, complete the push-ups on your knees.

• Build up to 60 sec intervals.

8. Swimmers

A movement that strengthens the posterior chain (backside of the body: traps, delts, lats, lower back, glutes, hamstrings) and core. Strengthening the backside of the body greatly improves posture and stability when skiing and snowboarding and helps improve overall form and performance on the snow.

• Lying on your stomach, extend both arms straight out overhead and extend your legs, raising your heels towards the ceiling.

• Raise your chest and quads off the floor, pushing your core and pelvis into the ground.

• Alternate lifting your left arm and right leg towards the ceiling and your right arm and left leg towards the ceiling in a swimming motion.

Burn SLC Swimmers

• To add a variation you can extend both arms straight out overhead, sweep both arms back towards your hips, engaging your lats and keeping your legs raised.

Burn SLC Swimmers

• To progress this movement you can add dumbbells.

• Build up to 60 sec intervals.

Upper Body

9. Bosu Ball Single-Arm Plank with Low Row

A movement that strengthens the posterior chain and core and integrates chest and shoulder stability.

• Begin in a single-arm high plank with your left hand planted in the center of the Bosu Ball platform and a dumbbell in your right hand. A wider stance will help with stability.

• Maintaining a braced core throughout the movement, perform a low row with the dumbbell in your right hand. Your right elbow should brush your right side as you row, raising your right elbow toward the ceiling.

Burn SLC Low Row

• Repeat row repetitions with your right arm, building up to 60 sec intervals, then switch sides and repeat row repetitions with your left arm, building up to 60 sec intervals.

10. TRX T, Y, I Fly

A combination movement that builds strength and stability in the rear, middle, and front of the shoulders and upper back (delts, rhomboids, traps).

• Adjust the TRX to mid length.

• Facing the anchor point, hold the TRX handles and walk your feet forward to set the desired angle of your reverse plank.

• Maintaining relatively straight arms throughout the movement, set your shoulders and perform a reverse fly forming a "T" with your arms and body, then return to your reverse plank.

T Fly Burn SLC

• Maintaining relatively straight arms throughout the movement, set your shoulders and perform an angled reverse fly forming a "Y" with your arms and body then return to your reverse plank.

Y Fly Burn SLC

• Maintaining relatively straight arms throughout the movement, set your shoulders and perform a vertical fly forming an "I" with your arms and body then return to your reverse plank.

I Fly Burn SLC

• Repeat the T, Y, I fly combination, building up to 60 sec intervals.

• To modify this movement, step back, decreasing the angle of your reverse plank, or stagger your stance with one foot slightly stepped back.

If you liked these crushers and want the full 8-week experience, or you just need to work off all those session beers before the season starts, you can sign up for BURN SLC’s 16-class Snow Conditioning Series, which runs Oct. 1st through November 24th. Class is held every Tuesday and Thursday evening starting at 5:45 p.m. You can also do single-class drop-ins or an 8-class half-series if you prefer. BURN collaborated with some of Ski City’s best athletes—Angel Collinson, Dash Longe, Julian Carr, and Rachael Burks—to design this circuit training series, and you can train with them as they prepare to once again show the world what's possible on skis. BURN’s goal is to create an army of rippers in the Wasatch this winter, but they also welcome those who don’t ride.