Fall Tune-UP: Five Exercises To Get You In Shape
Photo Credit Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa
As you start gearing up and planning weekend and day trip getaways to cross country ski centers and resorts, consider also adding in a fall tune up for your body. Due to the nature of both sports, having some added strength worked into a three-to-five day a week aerobic fitness plan will greatly enhance your overall fitness and endurance levels.
Have no fear – six specially designed exercises, which are done just using your body weight can be done at your gym or home, and cover you head to toe without lots of time. The goal with these is to target some key muscle groups that you use while cross country skiing or snowshoeing, while also working strengthening support muscle groups.
Do the following 2-3 times per week with at least 48 hours in between each workout. Add in 30 minutes of aerobic activity either before the strength session or on your non-strength days (three is ideal for each week) and you will find yourself fitter or happier on the trails this season.
NOTE: Start slowly and build gradually! Give yourself two weeks to adjust and adapt; better to go light on weights and increase then start out too heavy, which can cause soreness and stiffness. It is OK to be a little sore the next day, particularly starting out. The discomfort should ease up after 24 hours; hence why you want to wait at least 48 hours in between sessions.
Form is Function! Be sure to go on YouTube and search for each exercise to make sure you are doing them correctly.
Works: This is the single best overall body strength exercises, strengthening your core, chest, arms, back, legs and glutes (aka booty).
Get into a tabletop position with your shoulders directly over your wrists and hips in line with your knees.
Engaging your abs, shoulders, back, and glutes, extend your legs back to straighten into a plank and hold.
Keep it Honest: If you can, do the exercise in front of a mirror, to check that your butt isn’t raised. (A common mistake, but your body should be flat as opposed to an upside down-V shape.) Hold for 15 seconds. Add five seconds to each week until you can hold it for 60 sec. Repeat 1-2 more times with 30-60 sec rest in between each plank.
Make it Harder: increase your hold time in 5 second increments each week until you get up to 60 seconds. Repeat 1-2 more times with 30-60 sec rest in between each plank.
Note: If a full plank is too challenging (remember form is function so don’t cheat unless you don’t want to improve your body), a modified plank, get on all fours and walk your hands forward so your body forms a slanted line from your head to knees, like you would in a modified push-up,” she says. To recruit the glutes and hamstrings, keep your feet lifted toward your butt. Once you master this variation, you can work your way up to a forearm plank by placing your forearms on the ground.
Works: Abs and lower back
Start face down on the floor, with your arms and legs extended out front. Raise your head, your left arm, and right leg about five inches off the floor. Hold for three counts, then lower. Repeat with your right arm and left leg. Do up to 10 reps on each side.
Keep It Honest: Don’t raise your shoulders too much.
Make It Harder: Lift both arms and legs at the same time.
What It Hits: Glutes and hamstrings
Lie faceup on the floor, with your knees bent 90 degrees, your feet on the floor. Lift your hips and back off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Lower to the floor and repeat 10 to 12 times.
Keep It Honest: Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, and don’t let your spine sag.
Make It Harder: Straighten one leg once your hips are lifted.
What It Hits: Abs and lower back
Begin face down on the floor, propped up on your forearms, with knees and feet together. With your elbows under your shoulders, lift your torso, legs, and hips in a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 5 seconds. Raise your right leg a few inches, keeping the rest of the body still. Lower and repeat with your left leg. Repeat five times. Add one second to each hold on future sessions, working up to 20 sec per side.
Keep It Honest: Pull in your belly and don’t let your hips sag.
Make It Harder: Extend the time of the exercise. Each time you lift your leg, hold it for 15 to 20 seconds.
Works: Obliques (side of abs), abs, lower back, hips and glutes
Lie on your right side, supporting your upper body on your right forearm, with your left arm at your left side. Lift your hips and, keeping your body weight supported on the forearm and the side of the right foot, extend your left arm above your shoulder. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat. Repeat 1-2 more times per side.
Keep It Honest: Keep your hips up; don’t let them sag.
Make It Harder: Support your upper body with your right hand, instead of your forearm.
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