20-Minute Workout: Ski/Snowboard Prep
Build winter sport strength in the gym.
While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you already know: To reap the rewards—increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high—truncated workouts must be insanely intense. So we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it. Here is the latest in the series:
The Pro: Ross Twanmoh, a New York City-based Equinox group fitness instructor and certified trainer (and an avid snowboarder)
The Workout: It’s not too late to head to the slopes. Check out these heli-skiing trips and how to spend 48 hours in Mont Tremblant for inspiration. But while buying the hottest gear and booking the right resort are important, there are other ways you should prepare for a ski or snowboard trip as well. “A ride down the slopes cannot be replicated in the gym, but loaded movement training is important to help ready the body for a terrain that is unpredictable and physically demanding,” says Twanmoh.
It all starts with a core-strengthening forearm plank: “Skiing and snowboarding require you to maintain a stable center over a base of support that is constantly adjusting and shifting,” says Twanmoh. “A strong control of the core translates to a stronger mountain-goer.” But the most challenging moves in the routine—the active straight leg raise and lateral leg rotations—are actually borrowed from Pilates. “Pilates is something everyone should incorporate into their routine, period,” says Twanmoh, who cites the discipline's ability to tax the midsection from every angle.
You'll then finish things off with a kettlebell series that will shore up your cardio capacity so you’ll have the stamina to stay out on the slopes all day long. Twanmoh recommends doing this routine three times a week. Move through each of the following moves one after the next resting for 60 seconds between sets. *Recommended weights are in parenthesis but be sure to use something that allows you to maintain proper form for all of the reps and sets.
1. Forearm Plank
This move is first because it will reinforce proper position at the top of strength lifts that follow. Get in a plank position resting on forearms. Squeeze legs together as tight as possible, pull abs up and under rip cage, and press elbows into the floor. Rest, then repeat for three rounds total. “Most people think 20 seconds is nothing when it comes to planks, but think about making the tightest plank you possibly can rather than holding a plank for as long as possible,” says Twanmoh.
2. Front-Racked Kettlebell Squat (20 kg)
Hold a kettlebell in each hand just under chin. Keep forearms parallel to each other, heels on the ground, knees tracking over toes, and lower to the depth that's possible while maintaining good form. Repeat for eight reps. Rest, then repeat for three rounds total. “This move is a goblet squat on steroids that challenges the core to work harder in the squat because there are two separate weights,” says Twanmoh.
3. Transverse Lunge + Curtsy Lunge (20 lbs)
Hold dumbbells at your sides and lunge diagonally forward with your right leg. Pause, then bring left leg back towards midline before crossing it behind your body diagonally, slightly to the left. Do six reps on each leg. Repeat for three rounds total. Keep weights stable and control the descent of both lunges (knees should not be crashing down to floor). “The goal of this move is to add some multiplanar movement to the program as the slopes can be wildly unpredictable,” says Twanmoh.
4. Active Straight Leg Raise
Lie on your back, arms out to sides and palms face down. Keep both legs straight and raise one leg as high as possible (engaging core first will help to improve range of motion). Pause, then lower back to start and repeat 8 times before moving on to the other side. Two two rounds total. “People have extremely tight hamstrings and a lack of mobility at the hip joint can result in injury (not just on the mountain),” says Twanmoh.
5. Crab Reaches
Start on the ground with knees bent, feet on the floor, hips hovering slightly over the ground, and arms behind you, fingers facing away from your body. Drive hips as high as possible, reach left arm up and over the head, and hold in final position for a few seconds before returning back to the start. Repeat on the other side. Do two rounds of five reps on each side. “This is an animal flow move that promotes hip extension and thoracic rotation,” says Twanmoh.
6. Lateral Leg Rotations
Start on both knees, place right hand behind your head (elbow as far from ear as possible), reach left arm down to the floor next to left knee, extend right leg straight out to the side, lift right leg as high and straight as possible, then draw 10 big circles in each direction with your right leg. Repeat on opposite side. Do two rounds total. “Stronger butt equals stronger core, period,” says Twanmoh.
7. Eccentric Pallof Press w/ Rotation (15-20 lbs)
Use a cable (or resistance band) and bring the handle to the center of your chest, turn away from the line of pull, extend arms out in front of chest, control the rotation of your body as you turn back to the line of pull, pull weight back into chest and repeat for 8 reps. Repeat on the other side. Do 3 rounds total. “The idea is to stack on weight that you cannot hold away from your chest, thus forcing you to control the ‘negative,’” says Twanmoh.
Finisher: Kettlebell EMOM (every minute on the minute)
Time = 5 minutes | Weight = men: 20-24 kg, women: 12-16 kg
Perform two kettlebell swings to a clean and squat. Repeat on the other side before putting the weight down. This is one rep. Do five total, then rest for what is left of the minute.
“Single arms swings should be a staple in many athletes' regimens. The move itself is a dynamic hip hinge that takes coordination to balance tension and relaxation," says Twanmoh. "Adding a load to one side offsets things to promote greater lat engagement and greater core strength to prevent rotation of the torso."