Front of legs

Building the front of the legs, ie. exercise for thighs and quads, is essential for winter sports - whether you're a skier or a snowboarder, power in your upper legs is what will get you through a day on the slopes.

Fortunately the front of the legs (your thigh exercises and quad exercises) are an area that's easy to work on - if you start training at least three months before your winter holiday, you'll notice a big difference when you hit the slopes.

So how do you work the front of the legs? Well the favourite is squats. These can be performed using a barbell, dumbbells, and also leaning against an exercise ball. Once you are used to the movement you can even perform one-legged squats with the exercise ball, a great functional exercise that will help to build your control.

Squats :

The exercise par excellence it's the ultimate thigh builder, working not only the thighs, but also the rear of the legs (hamstrings), the butt, and also the calf muscles.

Simply, place the bar across your shoulders, from a standing position, bend your knees and slowly lower your body keeping your back as straight as possible, down to where your knee makes a 90 degree angle, then push back to standing. Don't bounce and don't do too heavy weights to start with. 3 sets of 10 reps.

If you are a complete beginner, you can also hold a dumbell in each hand as your weight.
 


Squat jumps :

These are what's called plyometric exercises and are great for building stamina.

Starting from a standing position you then squat down until your thighs become horizontal and you can place your hands on the floor. Then jump up into the air and land. Then repeat 10 times.
 

Leg presses :

If you have a history of low back injuries, or are concerned about doing squats without a spotter, then leg presses are essentially an upside down squat, and will help to develop your legs.

Again, doing these one leg at a time will help develop peripheral muscles and thus improve your control on the slopes. 3 sets of 10 reps.
 

Lunges :

Like squats, these work all the muscles in the legs, and due to the movement involved are a very functional exercise.

By nature you need to do these one leg at a time and always have complete control as you step out and down. 3 sets of 10 will seem very hard the first few times.
 


As a last resort you can use machine exercises such as leg extensions, but these are much less effective for dynamic sports like skiing and snowboarding.

From training your thighs and quads through to your biceps and core, for more workout information check our fitness programs for some simple and effective fitness plans.
 

 

SKI ESSENTIALS

ALL YOU'LL EVER NEED FOR HITTING THE SLOPES