Start this winter season off with a powerful dose of sport-specific training drills that will condition your body and prepare you for your favorite winter activity. Whether you’re a hockey player, figure skater, skier, or snowboarder, you will perform your best by customizing your training to match the physical demands these specialized sports require.
All winter athletes should supplement their sport with dry-land (off-ice/snow) training. The Total Gym is an excellent piece of equipment that can be included with your training. I have provided a series of drills that I have learned during my professional hockey career that incorporates the versatility and convenience of the Total Gym. Winter sports, such as skiing and skating require the need for strength, speed, agility, power, balance, and coordination. Therefore, this workout contains a combination of both deliberate and explosive drills focusing on lateral movements with the lower body while maintaining upper body and core stability. Specifically, we will be targeting the inner and outer thighs, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, abdominals and back.
I would suggest performing the exercises about 3-5 times per week during the off-season and 1-2 times per week during the season to supplement your sport. Perform each exercise for about 10-15 reps. This particular workout is best executed under a circuit-based format, meaning you should move from one exercise right to the next with little to no rest in between to finish the series of exercises as one set. Be sure to include at least 2-3 sets to complete the entire workout.
Proper warm-up is one of the most important parts of every athlete’s training. Muscles need to be activated and lengthened to prepare for the workout and prevent injury. Be sure to warm-up at least 10 minutes prior to starting by doing some active stretching, foam rolling, or yoga training.
Curtsey Lunge + Twist
The curtsey lunge using the Total Gym is performed by placing your hind leg on the glideboard facing away from the Total Gym, at an angle of about 45 degrees. Slide your hind leg back by lowering yourself down keeping your chest up and hips square to your chest. And you can add an upper body twist to the movement to build your core as well!
The difference the curtsey lunge makes compared to a reverse lunge is that it activates the outer thigh muscles. Strengthening these muscles are important for improving outer edge control on your skis or skates when turning.
To perform the lateral lunge, place your outside foot close to the base of the Total Gym. Place your other foot on the glideboard and take a moment to ensure your weight is mostly centered on the foot that is grounded. Push the glideboard away from your body and slowly lower yourself keeping your center of gravity over the arch of your grounded foot (you should feel like you’re leaning back slightly and your chest stays up). As you lower yourself down, allow your inner thigh to help stabilize the glideboard and balance your movement. Strengthening your inner leg area will improve your inner edge control and can also prevent groin injuries from occurring while skiing and skating.
Cable Side Hops
This plyometric drill is great for improving your agility, quickness and coordination. It’s also a nice
way to add anaerobic training to your workout as well! Be sure the pully system is disengaged from the Total Gym and use the handles just for balance (do not pull them too hard). And simply hop to each side over the glideboard in the same manner as you would sking down a hill with moguls.
Plank Tucks + Twist + Tuck Through
Now, we are going to use the Total Gym to strengthen our entire core. Start from a plank position, placing your hands on the toe bar or squat stand. Your feet should be about ½ way up the glideboard so that it is free to move as you move. Then, from the plank position, keeping your upper body and core engaged, slowly stretch your arms slightly up and allow your feet to slide back to a comfortable static position. At this point you should really feel your abdominals burning! Tuck your knees toward your chest and release back to the out-stretched position. Next, add a twist in both directions to get your oblique muscles more involved. Finally, add a straight leg tuck through in both directions to complete the core series!
Step Up + Twist
Step ups are an excellent way to build leg strength (quadriceps, inner/outer thighs and glutes) and are a safe alternative for squats. The benefit to performing step ups are that it isolates each leg throughout the movement, so coordination and balance are key. Also, the inner/outer thighs are more activated during step ups compared to squats. To perform the exercise, place one foot on the top half of the glideboard, and then press the other leg up toward the chest. By adding a twist, you can activate your core and inner thigh as you tuck your bent leg across the front of your body.
Variations and Recovery
Remember to perform the exercises described above in circuit format with little to no rest to keep the energy flowing and your body in motion. As you become familiar with this routine, start to combine other exercises. Use multi-directional drills as much as possible, or vary the levels on the Total Gym glideboard for to change up the routine.
After completing your workout, allow yourself some time to perform a light active recovery. Some examples of an active recovery include fast paced walking/ jogging, shuffles, skips, plank work, or an active movement at low speed.