However, there are a handful of exercises that you should avoid in your training. These are common workout mistakes that people make, and we want to make sure you're informed. From injury-causing techniques to stress-inducing mechanisms, these five workouts should not be a staple in your pre-winter workout routine.
Want to stay healthy and get fit? Don't do these 5 workouts...
1.) Leg Extensions
There is no debate that if you apply resistance and tension to a muscle it will grow; it's science. And, leg extension machines have long been a preferred choice of isolated tension application for the quadriceps muscles, an important muscle group if you're going to be blasting moguls or skiing top-to-bottom runs.
But, since we're logging this fall-time gym time with a specific goal of getting ready for winter, we need to be mindful of the risk-to-benefit ratio of leg extension workouts. In short, we want to increase the benefits of the movements we're doing while decreasing the risk of injury. Right?
Research shows that open-chain exercises, like leg extensions, delay the firing of muscles, increase the chance for structural knee injuries, apply constant stress to ligaments like the ACL, encourage lateral patellar pull, reduce hamstring activity, and add stress to the smaller rectus femoris muscle when we want to be activating the larger and more powerful vasti muscle group.
In short, the risk-to-benefit ratio of leg extensions is skewed towards to the risky side. So, what are you options? Try closed-chain workouts wall sits, one-legged quad dips, and lateral step ups.
There are a lot of evangelical leg press fans out there. Don't get fired up, folks. We're not saying to 100% omit leg press from you routine. Rather, we're emphasizing that leg press is a concentric workout. If done as an eccentric exercise, you might be spending the ski season sipping hot chocolate in the lodge rather than swizzling down the slopes.
The short version of defining both terms from above is:
- Concentric Exercise is a contraction that shortens a muscle;
- Eccentric Exercise is a contraction that lengthens the muscle.
A lot of times you'll see people hammering fast, rapid reps on the leg press. This isn't what we want. Think negative space when doing leg press, move at a slower pace, decrease the weight if needed. This isolates the muscle groups you're intending to work and it allows the structure of your knee to aid in the workout rather than be tested.
When doing leg press, think slow motion. If you do that, you'll be snowboarding faster than your friends come time when the lifts start spinning.
Check out the video below for an exercise that you absolutely must not do if you're training for skiing and snowboarding!
While crotch strength training has ZERO redeemable value for a functional application, it is hilarious! And, laughing and having fun is a vital component to a worthwhile workout plan.
So, consider us your motivational speaker, put the video on loop, share it with your friends, and laugh. But, whatever you do, don't add crotch strength training to your ski-conditioning regimen!
Skiing and snowboarding are balancing acts. They're sports that require a solid center of gravity and a firing core. How do we enhance these attributes in the gym so that they are present when we're on the snow? Asymmetrical workouts! What don't we want to do if we're training for balance, stability, and core? Symmetrical exercises!
Instead, focus on movements like asymmetrical deadlifts with a dumbbell, single-legged extensions with dumbbells, and one-legged squats on a Bosu Ball followed by a shoulder press with the opposite arm.
We love box jumps just like most of you. And, we especially love box jumps as a fundamental movement in our pre-winter routine. So, why are box jumps included in this list of workouts to avoid like the plague?
Because so many people do box jumps incorrectly!
The focus of many box jumpers is explosion, which is a great emphasis for skiing and snowboarding. Being explosive is vital to our winter pastimes—whether you're an X Games athlete, a big-mountain skier, or a weekend warrior.
You'll see a lot of Aspen's avid and world-renowned skiers and snowboarders doing autumn-time box jumps at The Aspen Club. But, what you'll also see is these athletes doing box jumps correctly, with proper form, and mindful execution.
Here are a three things you cannot do when box jumping:
- Don't let your knees cave in!
- Don't land in a deep squat!
- Don't stress about go higher and higher!
Absorbing your landings in an athletic position will translate nicely to skiing and snowboarding, as opposed to stepping off the box with straight, rigid legs.