AMIE ENGERBRETSON IN MURREN SCHILTORN, SWITZERLAND
With many resorts officially open for business, ski season is upon us, but it’s still early and there is plenty of time to get those ski legs in shape. We heard about a cool ski conditioning class being taught out in Lake Tahoe, California by a local ripper and ski model, Amie Engerbretson. For you skiers who can also be found at the bar (class that is), Amie’s class is a barre style workout created specifically for ski conditioning. It is designed to build responsive stabilizer muscles and an iron core, as well as those strong legs and glutes essential for great skiing. As Amie says, “a strong, prepared body instills confidence and everything from there is a trickle down effect. Conditioning improves your on hill performance, helps prevent injury and guarantees a fun day out on the hill”
From the mountains of Lake Tahoe, here are a few of Amie’s favorite exercises, essential moves adapted from her classes at The Bar Effect. These moves can be done anywhere, from the gym, to the living room, or even on the road.
WHAT YOU NEED:
Resistance band (medium to strong); Set of light weights; Weightless work-out ball (or a rolled up towel as a substitute); Chair or hip-height stable surface
WARM UP: RESISTANCE BAND WALKS
Sideways Walks: Stand with feet hip-width apart, straight legs, hips tucked forward and resistance band around both legs just above the knees. Keeping feet hip width apart, take little steps to the side, maintaining straight legs. Walk one direction for about 15 steps, then walk the opposite direction, leading with the opposite leg. Repeat both sides.
Forwards/Backwards Walks: (Above left) Same posture, take 15 little steps forward without bending knees and repeat walking backwards.
Squat Walk: (Above right) With the resistance band around your legs above the knee, feet hip-width apart, sit into a squat. Keep legs parallel, knees over feet and butt at knee level. Take 15 little steps to the side, staying low and keeping your knees over your ankles. Repeat in other direction.
Forearm Plank: (Above left) In forearm plank position with ball between your inner thighs, push your arms into the floor, your heels back and glue your belly button to your spine. Alternate between squeezing in on the ball with your inner thighs and tucking your hips down. One squeeze, once tuck. Squeezing the ball, lift your leg for 12 pulses and repeat on the other side. Stay in plank for 1-2 minutes.
Straight Arm Plank: (Above right) Push your hands flat into the floor, your heels back and pin your belly button to your spine. Bring your knee to the center of your chest, curling from your lower abs, and pulse the knee in 10 times. Switch sides. Repeat with 5 pulses on each side, then 3 pulses on each side and then single leg switching pulses (mountain climbers) for 20 seconds. Finish with 10 seconds of still plank.
Side Arm Plank: (Above) Stack your feet inline with your hips. Lift your torso up to the ceiling, top hand behind your head, elbow wide. Drop your bottom hip to tap the floor then return to start position. Crunch your top elbow forward to tap your hand on the mat and return to start position. Repeat for 12 total reps. Switch sides and repeat.
Parallel Squat: This exercise can be done on toes on the floor (below left) or flat foot on a Bosu ball (below right). With knees hip-width apart and parallel, and one light weight in each hand, drop into a squat position with your butt at knee level. Push the weights together in the center of your chest, lifting your elbows. Keep your knees centered over your ankles. Holding your body low in the squat take little pulses 1 inch up and 1 inch down. Pulse for 12 counts. Stayling low, extend your arms in front of your chest and pulse for 12 counts. Repeat for 2 sets.
Standing Lunges: (Below left, center) From lunge position, with feet and legs parallel, hips square, lift onto the ball of your front foot. Bend both knees, tap the back knee to the floor and then extend back to the starting position. Make sure your legs are far enough apart so that your knees do not go past a 90 degree angle and keep your shoulders over your hips. Repeat for 12 lunges. Holding the lunge at the lowest point, pulse one inch down and one inch up for 12 counts. Repeat from the beginning for 2 sets.
Diamond Toes: (Above right) Facing a chair or other stable surface, rise up on your toes, squeeze your heels together and bend your knees over your toes. Tuck your hips under and keep your shoulders over your hips. Sinking down into your work zone, pulse up and down one inch for 12 counts. Then, keep in your hips tucked, drop your seat to your heels and rise half-way up for 10 counts. Repeat from the start.
Standing Glute: (Below left) Facing a chair or stable surface, place your weightless ball behind your knee, squeeze your heel to your glute, tuck your hips under and drive your knee back behind your hip. It is important to stay tucked and keep your knee driving back through this series. Your supporting leg is parallel with a soft bend in the knee. Bring your heel to your glute, squeezing the ball between your hamstring and calf, for 20 counts. Holding the squeeze on the ball, push your knee back, staying tucked, for 20 counts. Repeat with a turned out knee, then repeat from the start on the opposite leg.
Glutes with Band: (Above right) Lay on your side in a fetal position, with your knees tight to your chest, feet flexed and a resistance band around your legs above the knees. Lay your bottom arm long and roll your top shoulder forward, using your arm for support. Lift your knee, pulling against the band, and return to start for 12 counts. Holding your top knee slightly above your bottom, pull your knee to your chest and return for 12 counts. Extend your leg straight in front of your hips, feet flexed, and lift the leg up to the ceiling for 12 counts. Holding the leg in the center, pull the leg in towards the chest for 12 counts. Repeat from the beginning.
Sitting on the floor with feet parallel in front of your hips, place the ball behind the small of your back. With a light weight in each hand, round your spine as you push back over the ball. Pull your belly button to your spine. Staying low, curl back 1 inch for 20 counts. Squeeze both hands to the side of your legs (below left), twisting from your waist, and curl back 1 inch for 20 counts. Repeating on both sides. Staying low, punch the weights side to side (below center), twisting from the waist for 30 counts.
Criss-Cross Series: (above right) Laying on your back, hands behind your head, with elbows wide, curl your opposite elbow to your opposite knee, with your other leg pointing long and hovering above the floor. Switch and hold for 10 slow counts. Pick up the pace and criss-cross as quickly as you can without losing form for 30 seconds. Flip over into a fore-arm plank and hold in stillness for 30 seconds. Repeat twice from 3 total rounds.
That’s it. Stretch. Breath. And we’ll see you on the slopes!
Amie Engerbretson’s sponsors include: K2 Skis, FlyLow Gear, Smith Optics, Marker Bindings, Dalbello, Squaw Valley, and Discrete. For more info go to: www.AmieSki.com. Photographs by Jeff Engerbretson