by Tracy Block

With a great early-season snowfall just one month in (more than 100 inches, total, so far), both skiers and snowboarders are already flocking to Copper Mountain to start lapping their favorite chairs. If you’re getting the itch to hit your favorite runs, it is crucial to ensure you are in-shape enough to gear up and strap in for the ride, first. Not sure which of your parts could use a little tuning? We’ve done the legwork – and more – for you. Continue on to browse four of the best ways to muscle up, a few times a week, for the 2018-2019 season.


Do Your Cardio

Whether you plan to venture into unknown territory and backcountry areas, or simply ride up the highest chair lift, when you’re not used to the altitude, every run can feel like a long-winded hike. Cardio training is a necessity to build your stamina for the mountain, so you can focus on carving your turns – not your shortness of breath. Beyond typical running and elliptical training, give the Versa Climber a try for a more hardcore challenge, or work your way up the Stairmaster in set intervals, so you can benefit from both hard spurts and recovery stints. If you’ve skipped out on outdoor cycling since the chill set in, take to an indoor cycling/Spinning bike in the form of a class, or curate a playlist of different tempos of BPMs (beats per minute), which will guide you through a mix of sprints, jumps and resistance-based climbs, at various RPMs (rotations per minute), for a full-body cardio blast.


A stationary bike at the gym


Work Those Legs

Your legs are a key component to your success on the mountain, whether you are skiing or riding. Therefore, it’s important to strengthen your legs in lieu of ski season, so your muscles don’t go into shock and lock up on your first day back. Confident legs allow for more downhill progress with ease. Beyond typical leg lifts on weight machines, consider adding in squats and lunges – while holding weights, and also while jumping – into your routine. You can also do some mat-based leg lifts to help shape up your glutes. You cannot rely on muscle memory, alone, to get you down to the base. If your legs are out of shape, chances are, your calves and quads will start to ache sooner than necessary, requiring more breaks than anyone trying to send it would prefer.


Strengthen That Core

Having a strong core is key for skiers and snowboarders, alike. For skiers, your core helps stabilize your midsection, so you can focus on your technique and turns. For snowboarders, on the other hand, a strong core helps not only with linking turns efficiently, but also with the force needed to whip your body from one side to another. Utilize both abdominal-based weight machines and typical mat routines (think V-sits, twists, side dips with weights and planks). Additionally, consider conditioning with yoga and Pilates training at least once a week. Both are strength training practices that work you to your very core, and push your body beyond its typical limits – especially if you are not used to incorporating either. Even still, both of these genres of exercise can work to alleviate any lower back or knee pain caused by a hard first day on the mountain.


Various dumbbell weights


Build Your Arm Strength

Although you may not expect your arms to do much of the work, especially if you are a snowboarder, your arm strength comes in handy when you least expect it. While arm exercises benefit skiers who seek swift timing to work their poles, strong arms can help both parties when it comes to powder days. Have you ever gotten stuck waist-deep in fresh powder? If so, you know what it takes to climb your way out of the whitewashed abyss – especially without poles – and that requires decent upper body strength. Look to free weights – for biceps, triceps and trapeziuses – and arm machines (your choice of weight and reps depends on if you are looking to bulk up or lean out) a couple of times a week, combined with push-ups and burpees. And, if you have access to a pool, swimming is a great water-based resistance training (and great cardio, too) to keep your arms toned. As a bonus, along with your arms, working your back and shoulders with deadlifts can help alleviate some of the initial soreness you might experience when you return to the mountain.


A photo of a swimming pool


Heading up to Copper with time to spare? Take a trip to the Copper Mountain Athletic Club to utilize the all-inclusive facility before you hit the mountain. That way, you can ready your body, and ensure you are up for the task, so you can push yourself to even greater heights this season!  

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