What could I do in the off season at the gym to be a better water skier?

levitt-sara-dsc_6-9-1-16-bhphoto     Sarah Levitt, MPT, PRPC, Advanced Physical Therapy Center

Here in Michigan, aka the “great lakes state”, we are home to 11,000 inland lakes.  With this much water around us, water skiing has been a well loved past time.  Unfortunately, us Michiganders are not able to water ski year round.  Snow skiing is an option during the winter months, but it is just not the same.  So, what could you do in the off season to be a better water skier?

Hit the gym!  There are three main components to include in your workout when gym training to improve your skiing skills.

  1.  Start with endurance training.   Skiing takes tremendous cardiovascular endurance,water-skiing
    so hop on that stationary bike, elliptical trainer, or treadmill throughout the winter months.
  2. Another important component is weight lifting; focusing mainly on the muscles in the back of the body to counteract the strong force of the boat pulling you forward.  Be sure to use correct posture while doing these exercises.  This will carry over to your posture on the water.  Working those hamstrings, glutes, lower back, lats, shoulder blade muscles, and of course the griping muscles in your forearms will help you stay strong while your ski (or skis) are collecting dust.
  3. Top off your routine with balance training.  Balance is also a major component to being a successful skier.  Incorporate balance training exercises with your weight lifting regimen by altering the surface that you are standing on (i.e. standing on a Bosu ball, dyna-discs, or foam pads).  Standing on a compromising surface should be done with your feet hip width apart, if you are a fan of two ski’s, or in a split stance with one foot in front of the other to mimic your slalom ski (one ski) stance.   Incorporate upper and lower extremity exercises, and even core exercises can be done while standing on an altered surface to work the balance component.

It is also good to note that these balance and weight lifting exercises can be done while maintaining a “mini squat” position to work on the quadriceps (thigh muscles).   While skiing, the quads are in a constant state of contraction, therefore incorporating some of your strengthening and/or balance exercises with a sustained mini squat will help with all aspects of your skiing.

Continue to stay active when the snow starts to fall, and the summer will be back before you know it!

If a ski injury is what is preventing you from hitting the gym this winter, give us a call at Advanced Physical Therapy Center, and we will get you  back on your feet (or skiis).  For a list of our locations, please go to http://www.AdvancedPhysicalTherapy.com.


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