Healthy Beginnings

6 off-mountain training moves to prep your body for winter sports

  • October 17, 2018
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  • By Dr. Karla Moore | NeuroFit Wellness & Physical Therapy
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  • Categories: Fitness, Healthy Body, Yoga

Butterfly Stretch

Welcome to winter and ski-season in the Sierra! You will reap the benefits of off-mountain training with strong leg and core muscles with better balance for that first day you hit the slopes.

Imagine skiing longer with fewer on-mountain rest breaks with happier legs and body. As a physical therapist and long-time teleskier, I know the benefits of off-mountain training for a strong ski season while minimizing risk of injury.

Modify or advance each of the below six exercises based on your current fitness level. A cardio program is integral in preparation for winter sports. To get your kids to join in the fun — make them part of a game and do them outside.

Begin the standing exercises with feet grounded and slightly wider than hips, knees pointing out slightly and in line with your feet; engage your core muscles; and inhale on lowering and exhale upon exertion.

  1. Plank: With body in a straight line, elbows bent and under the shoulders with forearms in contact with the floor, palms flat on the floor (or clasped hands if that bothers your wrists), and toes in contact with the floor, squeeze the glute and thigh muscles while pushing your heels away from the body. Maintain a neutral spine by looking at the floor about a foot from the shoulders. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times.

*Modify: bear weight through knees. Advanced: straighten elbows like a push-up position, or add oblique crunches — bringing knee toward same elbow and alternate sides, repeat 10-20 times. Put this in motion by a bear crawl or bug walk.

  1. Squats: Chest up and lower to a seated position with thighs parallel to the floor. Weight in your heels and knees in line with your feet and behind your toes. Perform 10-20 times.

*Modify: sit to stand from a solid chair.

  1. Lunges: Keep chest up and core muscles engaged; step forward with the right foot and lower until the right knee bends 90 degrees and the left knee lightly touches the floor. Push from your right heel to return to start position. Ensure you keep a shoulder-width stance. Repeat with the left. Perform 10-20 times.

*Advanced: add jump lunges — perform a lunge and jump up, switching legs in the air. Repeat 10-20 times. Further progression by adding a lateral hop.

  1. ”The Wave” in Kneeling: Kneel with knees shoulder width and feet straight back from the knees, arch the lower back by bending slightly at the hips and keep chest high and open, raise your arms overhead fully extending the elbows, and hold for 20 seconds. Rest. Repeat 3-4 times.

*Advanced: Chair pose or Utkatasana is an excellent choice.

The Wave

  1. Single Leg Dead Lift: With dumbbell or kettlebell (light is good) in right hand, slowly lean forward leading with your chest, right arm reaching to floor, lift the right leg behind you. Keep the knee of your left leg slightly bent. Perform 6-10 times. Repeat with the other side.

*Modify: don’t go as low. Make it fun by using toys or small objects like jacks to pick up.

Single Leg Dead Lift

  1. Butterfly Stretch: This one is particularly good for flexibility of the hip adductor (groin) muscles, which are active when walking on slippery surfaces like snow and ice. Sit on the floor with legs out in front of you, bend your knees to bring the soles of your feet together with your heels as close to your body as you can, lean forward, and allow your knees to go toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.

*Modify: bend only one leg.

Dr. Karla Moore is owner of NeuroFit Wellness & Physical Therapy in Reno. Contact her at or 775-360-5700. Visit to learn more.