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Core Development for Snow Sports

At the center of all of my programs lies a fundamental focus on what I call "core development:" the building of strength and mobility into the TRUNK area of your body (abs, lower back and the many smaller, stabilizing muscles within). Solid core development is vital for teaching your body to move dynamically in skiing or any sport, and it is a huge factor in preventing injury and staying healthy during athletic endeavors.

By becoming stronger and more mobile in your trunk area, you take the strain off of your limbs, and your movements in general become more powerful and more efficient. When trying to tackle moguls or skiing in the trees, this type of strength is crucial!

I have highlighted below a few exercises I use with my athletes to develop their cores. Most of these exercises utilize the stability ball. And while they work the abs, they can also be used with the standard ab routine, done in conjunction with your regular workout or on their own. The exercises below are great for skiing but can also be applied to many other athletic activities.

The Skier Crunch

This exercise mimics the absorption motion of skiing on a horizontal plain. It uses the hip flexor muscles in your legs as well as your entire trunk for balance and stabilization. It is derived from a Paul Chek exercise called the "Jack Knife" and is an excellent way to get in the habit of initiating movement from your core.

The Back Scratcher

Besides mimicking certain aerial maneuvers of skiers and snowboarders, the Back Scratcher exercise builds strength into the hamstring and the backside of your body, while continuing to challenge the stabilizer muscles of your trunk. Paul Chek first pioneered this exercise as the "Supine Jack Knife," and it’s applications to the sporting world are vast. For those who ski a lot, this is a great way to maintain muscle balance between the quads and the hamstrings, and therefore an excellent tool for injury prevention!

Back Extension with Twist

The lower back is a major body tool in skiing, especially in uneven terrain and moguls. By building in a twist in the motion of the back extension, we get the body used to moving on multiple plains, so that the muscles will respond when we make a quick turn or go over a mogul while turning.

Aerobesic with Twist

The Aerobesic is used to challenge your balance and to build stabilizer muscle recruitment into your twisting motion. This exercise adds power to any twisting action you may do while skiing, and generating balance and movement from your core greatly decreases your chance of injury during a fall. I learned this exercise at the VIS and have applied in various ways to all of my athletes' programs.

For anyone looking to increase fitness for skiing or any other dynamic sport, building strength and mobility into the core center of your body is the absolute KEY! Good luck, and go big!