by Jeff Eckhouse // Photos by Kjell Ellefson // Modeling by Athena Brownson
There are a lot of weekend warriors who dream of snow and check weather reports at lunch. If that sounds like you, harness your excitement and try this exercise in the break room. This month, we’re focusing on leg endurance and balance. Arguably, the glutes and hamstrings are more important than even the quads for holding your line and improving your skiing mechanics.
Single Leg Excursion: Start by balancing on one leg and imagining you’re in the center of a clock (Photo 1). Reach your free leg back as far as you can to 6 o’clock while your same side arm extends forward (Photo 2). The free foot of the extended leg should barely tap the floor behind you. Keep 99% of your weight on the balance leg. Return to an upright position by engaging the glute and hamstring.
Back on the clock, try reaching your free foot to 8 o’clock with your arm reaching to 2 o’clock (Photo 3), or your foot to 4 with your arm extending
to 10 (Photo 4). Keep the knee of your balance leg straight ahead, and twist only at your hip joint. Your free leg and extended arm should
create a fairly straight line.
Start practicing by using a broomstick or pole for some extra balance. It will help you keep your
hips square to the ground without tilting your pelvis or letting your knee drift from side to side.
Week one: 2 sets of 12, each leg in all 3 directions
Build up to: 3 sets of 20
Tempo: Slow and Controlled
WARNING: Once your body is fully extended into the reach position, don’t stand up by contracting your low back. Contract your glutes instead — try touching your butt cheek with a hand so you know it’s actually working — to return to a fully upright position. You should be facing straight ahead, and be back to the start position.
Ready to make it harder?
Option 1: Hold onto a dumbbell on the same side as your standing leg. The extra resistance makes this a great exercise for even the burliest
legs (Photo 5).
Option 2: Stand on a BOSU for an extra balance challenge (Photo 6).
The Single Leg Excursion is a great exercise to add to your current fitness routine, and it works great at the gym or in your living room. With
a stronger hip that is trained in multiple planes, you will have a stronger butt and more control with your turns.
For more information from Jeff Eckhouse visit www.telemarkfitness.com
*This article originally appeared in TS#20