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Do you want to do “truck drivers”? Well Get your ass in the gym. As I mentioned last month, skiing includes a tremendous amount lateral force, and if your legs and core stabilizers are not in-shape then there can be a significant loss of energy and power.

I spend the summer and fall months working out trying to strengthen my core.  Core strength and posture are extremely important in all forms of athletics (summer or winter) and they have been the focus of my training for the last two years. I currently train in Vancouver with Williams Health Group with and with posture specialist Rob Williams.

Rob did a second article  for the Province Newspaper, with two more exercises that will benefit you in preparation for skiing.

Get in Shape for Slopes: Prepare for maximum stability and control on hills

The snow keeps falling and the sunny days really highlight the snow-capped mountains over Vancouver, which tells me it’s a good time to share these ski-conditioning exercises.

If you tried the lateral ball squat exercise I outlined last Wednesday, there’s a good chance you identified a significant difference in your body’s strength and level of control between your right and left legs. This is fairly common. If you did notice a discrepancy, it’s a good idea to continue to work at this exercise until you see things even out a bit

In this week’s column I’m again working with skier Jake Cohn, featuring two very different exercises. The one-arm ball sprawl is focused on remaining still, even when stability is compromised. The lateral bounds are dynamic and should only be incorporated into your routine once you feel you’ve truly developed body control in the two exercises I described last Wednesday and this week’s one-arm ball wall sprawl.

For the lateral bounds exercise, it’s not a question of whether or not you can do it. It’s more about whether or not you can do it with quality and control. Remember to prepare your body with a progressive warm-up and range of motion activities.

1-arm ball wall sprawl

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I really like this one for skiers because is requires a similar body orientation to skiing and helps to integrate the body’s stabilization systems from fingers to toes.

Start by holding a stability ball in two hands against a wall at chest height. Your hands should be approximately 6 inches apart.

Place your feet far enough back from the wall that you are on the balls of your feet, with your heels elevated and a fair amount of weight loaded through your arms and hands into the ball. Your feet should be roughly shoulder width apart, with your hips, knees and ankles slightly flexed, and your pelvis and spine in neutral alignment.

Once you’ve found the right position it should feel that you’re able to hold the ball firmly, capable of resisting if anyone were to come and try to push the ball from side to side, or up and down. Just holding this position should require steady activation of many muscles.

What I want you to do now is to slowly release your left hand from the ball, leaving only one hand to support your pressure on the ball. Try to do this without allowing your body position to shift or twist, or allowing the ball to move at all. To do this will require controlled activation of your body’s anterior oblique slings, centred at your lower abdomen and pelvis.

Holding this position should be fatiguing.

If it isn’t, you don’t have enough weight on the ball. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then slowly switch hands. Repeat 3-4 times on each hand, focusing on quality and control.

Lateral bounds

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Once I’ve worked with an athlete for a while, and am confident in their ability to control their body in static positions and with deliberate movements, I’ll progress to more dynamic activities, like lateral bounds.

The basic movement involves bounding from one leg to the other, in a side-to side-motion.

In the photo above, skier Jake Cohn is landing on his right leg, and about to bound across and land on his left.

During this landing phase Jake is focused on maintaining parallel orientation of his shoulders and pelvis, which should be perpendicular to the line of his spine and the line of his right leg.

As he absorbs his landing on the inside edge of his right foot, his right hip, knee and ankle should stay in a straight line.

If his hips or shoulders continue to slide outward, past his knee or ankle, or if his right knee collapses inward, he’ll be in an inefficient position and be wasting energy and power.

He’ll also expose his body to a higher risk of injury. Jake must also maintain an upright, neutral alignment of his spine, avoiding forward flexion or rotation.

Two sets of 20-30 bounds is very fatiguing if you maintain excellent alignment and core stabilization throughout.

Rob Williams is a kinesiologist and posture specialist in downtown Vancouver. His website is www.williamshealthgroup.com

© Copyright (c) The Province

To see the article CLICK HERE. And be sure to check the Province Newspaper every Wednesday  for more workouts by “Body by Rob”.

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