The older we get, the more we realize that getting and staying in shape for skiing and riding is a year-round battle. There's always a reason why we didn't make it to the gym, exercise class, or league softball game. There are so many at-home fitness videos to choose from that many don't know where to start. We've researched them thoroughly and picked the best videos for us to stick to our get-fit pledges.
Before we can lift heavy weights, jump high, or run fast, we need to build a cardio foundation. With cardio comes base strength. There are many workouts and trainers to choose from in this category. Anything that gets our heart rate up, our blood pumping, and our muscles moving is going to be a great start. Many trainers now combine weight lifting, yoga, and Pilates to give us a total-body workout.
Swedish-born fitness expert Tanja Djelevic has created four cardio-specific DVDs. Cardio Burn Sculpt and Cardio Burn BalanceBall are two workouts that fuse the best of yoga, Pilates, exercise-ball work, and aerobic conditioning. In Cardio Burn Sculpt choose from a 10-, 30-, or 50-minute workout following a series of cardio and strength-building moves that target the entire body. Cardio BalanceBall guides us through various moves as Djelevic alternates between challenging cardio intervals and targeted strength-building sequences focusing on upper body, lower body, and core. Improve your cardio endurance while achieving better posture, stability, core strength, and overall toning.
Feel like watching an agile man perform yoga rather than a Scandinavian beauty? Check out Sports Yoga Ski With Billy Asad. Asad leads us through a total-body conditioning program to improve skiing fitness and performance with three separate routines. Do them all, or one at a time. Power Workout features a warm-up, core work, lower body stamina, abdominal and back strengthening, and release poses.
Après Ski Stretching includes complete body stretches for daily flexibility, or to rejuvenate and release your muscles after a day of skiing or riding. Before-the-Slopes Warm-Up starts with upper and lower-body loosening-up exercises for before you head out on the slopes. Stretch and sweat while watching terrific ski footage courtesy of Warren Miller Entertainment.
Once our cardio base is up to par, it's time to focus on specific skiing and riding muscle strength. Incorporating yoga and Pilates is an incredible way to strengthen our muscles for long ski runs while improving our flexibility for overall health and protection from injury. Expert yoga instructor Rodney Yee has spearheaded a number of yoga-for-athlete DVDs. Yoga Conditioning for Athletes was designed specifically for athletes interested in using yoga for cross training.
Build endurance, improve focus, and strengthen key muscles for specific sports. Power Yoga-Flexibility helps use our strength more efficiently and learn to move more freely-inherently lessening our risk for injury. Athletes can benefit from yoga to strengthen breath, increase flexibility, and build functional muscle that will help them excel over other athletes.
"Have you ever gotten to the bottom of a euphoric [ski or snowboard] run, wiped the snow away from the smile that's smeared across your face, and come to the sudden realization ‘that was amazing, but where was I just then? What just happened?'" inquires Libby Ludlow, certified yoga instructor and former U.S. Ski Team member.
"When you are skiing and you lose a sense of the passage of time, or when your usual distracting thoughts or stresses momentarily evaporate, what you are realizing is the experience of being totally in the present moment. That's yoga. The root of yoga means to ‘yoke' or create ‘union.' The union of mind, body, and spirit-in action, in skiing."
If yoga, Pilates, or an exercise ball are too technical, look to Power Aerobics: Ski Fitness. This DVD improves skills and keeps us fit on and off the slopes. This workout features a strength and conditioning program for first-timers and regular weekend-skiers alike. In addition to a program for optimizing strength, endurance, speed, and mobility, you also get suggestions for a great warm-up and cool-down routine.
Honorable mentions include the Biggest Loser series of workout DVDs and Anja Bolbjerg's Weekend Warrior series. Trainer Jillian Michaels gets you into ski shape with workouts like No More Trouble Zones, 30 day Shred, Shred-It With Weights, and Yoga Meltdown. We've seen the results on TV so why not try it for ourselves.
Bolbjerg, Olympic finalist and World Cup Freestyle tour competitor, has produced Fit Skiing: Get Fit To Hit The Slopes. The video includes ski-specific workouts for beginners and advanced. Bolbjerg pledges to make us "feel fit and strong to be able to appreciate our skiing time to the fullest." The program consists of two progressions that are designed for alternating workout days. After recovering from severe injuries including a torn ACL and herniated discs, she promises you can banish the aches and pains of skiing with her effective training technique.