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Top Core Exercises for Skiing: Improve Your Stability and Control

Hey WILDR folks, we're back in the gym and I'm sharing the best core exercises for skiing that help you become a stronger skier.


Now, I got a bit of a hot take when it comes to skiing. I don't think that your feet are your base when you're out at the ski hill. I actually think it's your core.


If you're able to keep your torso stable and control your center of mass, then it doesn't matter what wild things are happening under your feet. You're going to feel and be in control when you're skiing.


Strengthening these muscles that stabilize your torso is actually a huge focus of our eight-week pre-ski dumbbell program. But for today, we're going to break our exercises into three sections: whole-body movements, plyometrics, and then exercises that target specific muscles.


Whole Body Movement Core Exercises


90/90 Kneel Ups


Before you do this exercise, make sure that you don't have any knee discomfort. We ideally want our knee joint to be between 45 degrees and 90 degrees. However, your individual flexibility and mobility are going to dictate where that is.


From this position, tighten your core slightly, lean forward, and push into a kneeling position.



If you have any pain, don't do this one. Work individually on improving that external rotation of the femur before you get into this position.


I like to combine these with a knee flip, rotating from side to side. You're going to feel your core turning on here and you're also going to feel strong in your core while your legs are doing something underneath you.



Front Lever Cossack Squat


Grabbing a light weight, hold it straight in front of you. This is going to be a little demanding on the shoulder, but you're really going to feel the core working.


Sink your hips to one side and then back to the middle. Keep your torso nice and tall and start small. As you get better, you'll be able to go to a deeper depth.



Now, if this is too difficult for you, and you start to notice either that you're hinging forward instead of going down or that your back rounds, then break this one up.


You can hold the weight lower or remove the weight entirely—the counterweight is actually going to make the cossack squat easier. Make sure you notice those core muscles working!


Plyometric Core Exercises for Skiing


How do plyometrics improve your core strength?


We are talking about the core as in your ability to keep your torso stable while things are happening under your feet, not necessarily having a six-pack.


Plyometrics are great because they mimic that dynamic nature of skiing while helping you coordinate your movements to stabilize your core.


We are going to start basic like we do with any exercise and just learn the mechanics of jumping first.


Start in a simple squat position, sink down, and then press up into a top freeze position. You want to squeeze your core and push through your toes to get into that top position.




Once you are confident with that, we can add a jump landing, trying to be as quiet as possible when you land.



Work on this movement a few times a week for a couple of weeks, and then up the intensity by adding multiple jumps.


Remember, tendons take longer to adapt than muscles. And in this instance, even though we're working on core stability, we're still putting our tendons under more pressure.


For that reason, you need to be exceptionally careful to build up slowly with these.


Skater Jumps


An awesome example of plyometrics that is extremely specific to skiing is the classic skater jump.


Start on one leg, jump to the side, and then back again to that same original leg. I love the balance component of sticking the landing. That's where I feel my core firing the most.



Now, after you've progressed for a while here, you can start jumping off of things.


Remember, never jump off of something you can't jump onto.


When we're jumping off of things, we want to make sure that we're tightening our core and bending all of our joints to absorb.


If I'm going to jump off of the bench, I'm going to jump high and then I'm going to stick the landing.



Plyometrics are a great way to add fun to the gym, increase your ligament strength, your bone density, and they also help you learn to activate your core in dynamic situations, a.k.a. skiing!


Core Specific Exercises for Skiing


Runner’s Hollow Body Hold


For the runner's hollow body hold, we are asymmetrically stabilizing our core while moving our legs.


I would rather you do this one well for a very short period of time than not do it properly for a longer period of time.


Using a band (or sweater), arch your back excessively and find the middle of the arch. Then tilt the pelvis backwards, kind of like you're tucking your tail to pin that rope or band to the ground. You do not want the band to move if you pull on it.


From that position, you are going to pick up your legs, maintaining that pull through the core. Then like a bicycle crunch, move one leg out and in before moving to the second leg.



If you lose that low back position, then the band will come out. The thinner the item, the harder this is.


But as you get better at it, you can progress to more time under tension, and you can also try and send your feet out at a steeper angle.


Wall Lean Leg Lift


Standing next to a wall, place your forearm or your hand against it. You want to get into a mid-turn ski position.


Your hips point forward, push through your outside foot, and sink your hip slightly towards the wall.


From this position, turn on your core muscles and then lift that lower leg towards your knee or sort of underneath your hip.



You're going to find that isometrically this works the core. Now, if you don’t feel it, you might be too upright, or your hips are too far in towards the wall.


I love this core exercise and I found that it's super helpful when skiers are wanting to feel more confident getting into a deeper carving position.


Those are my six favorite core exercises for skiing! Incorporate them into some of your workouts a couple of times a week to start to see improvement in your skiing.


If you're looking for more help, then check out our eight-week pre-ski dumbbell training program.


Have a WILDR week!




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