SnowsBest resident Fit2Ski guru, Guillaume Tual, talks us through the most powerful tool for training for the slopes, the Bosu.
You can’t do proper ski and snowboard training without using the BOSU Ball. This fun blue half dome is probably the most efficient tool and the closest you’ll get to be on the slopes. Use it flat side or round side up will change the outcome of each exercise but usually you’ll find that standing on the round blue surface makes the foot and ankle work more. Flat side up will fire up your glutes and core muscles more. The choice is yours.
In my SkiFit program, no one escapes working with the BOSU. It surely brings the burn into your legs so get ready to switch your buttocks on or you won’t last long on the slopes.
As per usual, it’s critical to warm up properly before exercising. Here are a few drills to start your routine with:
Perform 10 repetitions of the following exercises:
- Ankle circles (sit with legs straight and make circles with your feet)
- Bodyweight squats (knee depth)
- Forward and Reverse Lunge (maintain upright torso)
- Clock Hops (half a meter hops front-centre-right-center-back-center-left-center)
- Curtsy Lunge with trunk rotation (towards back leg)
- Downward Dog to Front Step (replace right hand with right foot and repeat)
Note: In the pictures I wear minimalists shoes. Doing this workout barefoot or in minimalist shoes will allow you to focus on flattening your feet and not cheat with your toes to grip. In ski boots, you want to have your toes flat. Wearing trainers make it harder to feel the BOSU and connect with your feet.
BOSU Lateral Hop
How: With the BOSU round side up, assume a squat position with your left foot on the centre and the right one about one foot aside. Lean onto your left foot so your hips-knees-foot are aligned. Hop up to the other side and land with the right foot on the centre of the BOSU with your knee and hip stacked up directly above. No need to jump high, just try to transfer from one side to the other and land in that squat position with most of your weight onto the elevated leg. Perform the drill for 30-45 seconds, 3-5 times.
Tips: Drive your hips back and plant your foot on the BOSU to push off. Also, the further aside you stretch the other leg, the lower you’ll be able to squat. Your quads are under a lot of tension in the exercise but your glutes need to be the power house.
Regress/Progress: You can start with even weight distribution on both feet and as you get stronger, lean more onto the elevated leg. The faster you go, the more explosive it gets and the less contact with the ground.
BOSU Single Leg Abduction
How: Stand on the BOSU with your left foot in the centre and the right foot on the side. Assume a squat position and slowly take your right leg away and up. Try to balance for 10-15 seconds. Bring your right leg back down and change side. Increase the time on each leg to 45 seconds.
Tips: This drill requires a lot of ankle-hip control so focus on flattening your foot and squeezing your buttocks. It’s ok to be wobbly at first, you will just need to work towards stillness.
Regress/Progress: You can support the straight leg by slightly placing the foot on an object (step, kettlebell, box…). This will help you with balance. As you get stronger, increase time under tension.
BOSU Single Leg Trunk Rotation
How: Carefully stand with your right foot in the centre of the BOSU, flat side up. Assume a semi squat position with your left leg bent, foot back. The goal is to rotate your trunk but keep your hip-knee-ankle in line. You can grab a light weight in your hands and move it side to side but focus on keeping your hips square. Do 10-15 rotations.
Tip: Push your foot into the BOSU to engage your glutes even more and think of driving your big toe down. It can get quite wobbly so make sure the surroundings are clear.
Regress/Progress: Obviously this is an unstable environment so you can practice on the floor first before stepping onto the BOSU. When you feel more in control you can swap the weight for a cable/band to use as resistance for rotation
BOSU Skater Hop
How: First, this is my favourite drill. Beware that you may experience a lot of discomfort in your glutes the day after! Place the BOSU flat side up against a wall (between 50-75 degrees) and make sure it’s stable. Step aside a couple of feet. Push off with your outside foot to jump onto the BOSU (land on the centre) with your opposite foot and push back to starting position, landing on one foot. Control the landing by clinching your glutes and hold the position for a few seconds before jumping back onto the BOSU. Perform 10-15 on each side.
Tips: It is crucial that you land exactly at the centre of the BOSU do avoid any rolling so keep your eyes on your landing points. Use your arms in a swing way to give you a bit of momentum. Reposition the BOSU if necessary.
Regress/Progress: Start closer and move away to make it more difficult. The more you push off from the BOSU the more it throws your hips out and therefor requires more control.
BOSU Knees Cross Over
How: Place the BOSU on the floor, flat side up. Assume a push up position with your hands on the edges of the BOSU. Push your arm pits away, tuck your tail bone and squeeze your buttocks to create a straight line from head to toes. Bring your right knee to your left elbow then return to starting position. Repeat on other side. Do 12-20 on each side.
Tips: Let your knee lead the movement and the body will follow but try to stay as straight as possible. Feel the weight distribution changing between arms and adjust accordingly.
Regress/Progress: Knee to same side elbow is easier and so is to opposite wrist. By bringing your knee up to the opposite elbow, you are engaging more obliques and abdominals. Want more challenge? Place your feet on another BOSU: your ground foot will now be more unstable as you move.
Note: You should consult your physician or other health care professional before engaging in any exercise program to ensure you are in good physical condition to perform the exercise programs and you understand there is a risk of physical injury.
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