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There’s no fitness like snow fitness

Condition your muscles for a weekend of winter sports

Posted: December 4, 2008 8:10 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2008 5:30 a.m.

Cheryl Broughton demonstrates "The Spinner," a drill that will get you ready for times when you have to quickly change the direction of your stance (especially for snowboarding).

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It's cold and rainy outside and the local weather man has even more bad news - a severe winter storm is on its way.

While others are singing the blues about local rain and cold temps, your favorite ski mountain is getting dumped with a fresh load of powder.

You haven't been skiing or snowboarding since last year and that mountain is just calling your name.

You start packing like Speedy Gonzales because you want to get in a full weekend of snow fun. Goggles - check! Snow jackets - check! Gloves - check! Scarves - check! Boots and board - check! Skis - check! Pre-conditioned muscles and joints ready for a full eight-hour workout, two days in a row - che ... What?

That's right! The one thing you better be packing is a set of conditioned, well-trained and limber upper and lower body muscles.

Snowboarding and skiing recruit muscles that are not used on a day-to-day basis.

Whether you're a beginner or advanced, starting a new season may cause your body to ache or feel tired after only a couple of hours.

If you'd like to stop icing your muscles and walking around like a "Weebel Wobble" every time you get off the mountain, then you may want to listen up!

One of the best ways to prevent injuries, sore muscles and absolute agony is to properly train your body before you hit the mountains.

If you've ever watched a skier or snowboarder in action - then you've obviously learned that even the most skilled will occasionally land face to face with the ground below.

If your upper body is weak, you can count on getting a mouth full of snow. A strong back and well-trained abs are essential.

Every time you twist, change direction and hop over something, you will use your abs and lower back.

The stronger you become, the more freedom you will develop - along with better technique. Strong quads and hamstrings are essential, too.

You'll be using these muscles all day long - especially when picking yourself up after a spill on the ground.

Although it's one of the simplest ways to prevent injuries, stretching is one of the most overlooked components of a training program.

Tight muscles force you to use bad posture, the wrong form and increase your chances of getting hurt, so make sure you add stretching to your pre-conditioning program as well as every time you get on and off the mountain.

So don't wait for the snow to melt, start your "snow fitness" conditioning program now.

You'll be ready to conquer those mountains and return injury free in no time!

Preparation drills

n The Spinner
This drill will get you ready for those times when you have to quickly change the direction of your stance (especially for snowboarding).

This exercise also works in the quads and the hams. Start facing the right, with your feet apart.

As in the squat, bend forward at the waist with a flat back, bend the knees, hop up in the air and turn 180 degrees, this time facing left.

Bend arms at a 90-degree angle and use them to help propel you up on the spin.

Do about three sets of 15 to 20 hops.

n Lizard Leap
There will be times when you need to hop over things like your friend who just wiped out and is still lying in the snow in front of you or a big bump/dip in the run or even the moguls.

This drill will get you ready for quick reaction time.

Place a broom handle on the floor in front of you.

Stand on one side of the object, sit in the squat position with your feet apart, slowly lift up and hop sideways over the object and land in a squat.

Bend arms at a 90-degree angle and use them to help propel you up.

Do about three sets of 15 to 20 hops.

n Pushup Twisters
If you've ever watched a skier or snowboarder in action ­- then you've obviously learned that even the most skilled will occasionally land face to face with the ground below.

This exercise conditions the pecs, the biceps, the triceps, the lats, the deltoids and even your abs. It's like a one-stop shop!

Get into the push up position - either on toes or knees.

Place your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Slowly lower your body down to the floor until you reach a 90-degree angle with the elbow and shoulders.

As you rise up, twist and lift one arm up to the sky and slowly lower. Repeat on the other arm.

Do three sets of 15 to 20 arm raises.

n Toughman Tricep Dips
Here's an awesome strengthening exercise for the triceps and shoulders.

This exercise is ideal for getting you up off your gluteus maximus and back on your skis or snowboard.

Start by sitting on the floor with your hands placed behind you.

Lift your hips off the floor, cross one foot over the knee and now lower your body by bending at the elbow - keep the hips stationary.

Change knees every few reps.

Do three sets of 15 to 20 dips.

Cheryl Broughton is an author, professional speaker, fitness TV show host, director of the Fitness Edge Boot Camp, producer, writer and host of Cheryl Broughton's "Secret Weapons." Call 1-888-671-6500 or log onto http://www.fitnessedgebootcamp.com/ or http://www.cherylbroughton.com/.

 

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