Is the weather telling you to start thinking snow? Fall is just days away, Beaver Creek's fall colors are in full bloom, Keystone opens in 44 days, and as much as some of us might like summer to stick around, it's certainly not doing so in the mountains.
What can you do with yourself for the next 44 days while you wait for the skiing to start? That's easy: get in shape for it. We already covered the core, but how about the most crucial skiing muscles, the legs? Sure, you can run and bike your way to fitness but if you really want to feel those quads bulge and stronger -- and keep them from burning halfway down a powder run -- you'll want to try these moves.
Surrender to the squatsNeed a move that strengthens your lower body, quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves? Meet your match with the squat and all its various forms, which will also activate the core (bonus!). How to do it: stand tall with feet spread shoulder-width apart. Sit back like you're going to sit in a chair, pushing back your hips and bending your knees,
and keep your weight in your heels. If you want an extra challenge, try doing one-legged squats -- you'll really feel your quads and glutes here, and you'll work your balance.
Love the lungeForward, backward, side to side, lunging really gives your legs -- quads, hamstrings and calves -- and your glutes a workout. How to do the basic lunge: stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right foot until your knee is above your ankle and your right leg is almost parallel to the floor. As that's happening with your right foot, your left knee will lower to the ground. Pause at the bottom and then push yourself back to start. Repeat by stepping your left foot forward.
Joy over the jump squatIf you thought your basic squat was tough, try one of these squats that integrates a plyometric move. Squat down like you did with the regular squat but as you do, load your weight into your heels and then spring up, allowing your feet to leave the ground as you do. Didn't think that was hard enough? Try box jumps.
Cheer for calf raisesLadies, you've got this move made if you wear heels all day -- they're a calf workout on their own. But guys and gals like me who pad around in running shoes, flip flops and bare feet more often than not, you'll want to strengthen those calf muscles to hopefully avoid a charley horse when you buckle up your boots. How to do it: stand on a step, block or raised platform (it can even be a textbook), hold a dumbbell in your right hand, and cross your left foot behind your right leg as you balance on the ball of your right foot. Lift your right heel (which is hanging off the step) as high as you can, then lower back down and repeat. Do the same movement with your left leg and switch the dumbbell to your left hand.
Bonus move: the stability ball balanceWho doesn't want to ski like Lindsey Vonn? Most of us might have to dream about looking that good on skis, but we can certainly emulate her off-season training. Or die trying. Here's a move Vonn did while training camp that might leave your mouth agape: balancing on a stability ball while squatting in her best ski stance. If you thought you felt your muscles twitching during basic squats, you'll really feel them burning once you can balance on the ball.
What exercises do you do to whip your legs into shape?