Whether you snow shoe, ski or ice skate — winter sports are a great way to get in shape. Personal trainer Travis Steffen says there are some exercises you can do to prevent injury and soreness and they’re great no matter what kind of winter workout you have in mind.
“So from all the way down at your feet up through your core, that’s what’s really being worked during winter sports.” Steffen shows us five strengthening moves that are simple and require no equipment.
“First, we’re going to work the anterior tibialis. It’s the muscle right here on the front of the shin.” It might be small – but this muscle can cause a lot of pain if you ignore it. “A lot of people will have big calf muscle but weak anterior tibialis and they’re going to get shin splints.” If you’ve ever had that injury – you don’t want it again. Prevent it by placing a weight plate or a body bar on top of your foot. Then just dig your heel into the floor and flex your toes toward the ceiling.
“Now we’ve got gastrocnemius – or the calf muscle.” It’s opposite the anterior tibialis and it’s bigger and more powerful, but Travis says it still needs attention. Calf raises are an easy way to target the calf – either on a step, or on the floor. You can add weights if you want, but just lifting your own body weight is effective.
“Now I want to focus on the core a little bit.” Forget traditional crunches, Travis says planks are the better way to get strong. “When you’re doing these you’re kind of replicating the same type of movement you’re getting on the slopes because it’s not a single contraction, it’s a static hold.”
Now to the huge muscle groups in the legs – quadriceps and gluteals. Full squats are the way to go to strengthen your lower half, but the deceiving wall sit is ideal for a sport like skiing. “You are bending and flexing your knees on the slopes, but you’re also holding contractions.”
There you have it – five basic moves to help you power through powder or any sport you choose. “If you really want to perform better and you don’t want to be sore the next day – those are the areas you need to focus on.”
Travis is a knowledgeable, personable fitness professional. He travels a lot for work, but you can have him train you anytime by checking out his website: