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Endurance makes snow-play more pleasant

Rhonda Beckham
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Rhonda Beckham demonstrates the "pretend mogul" exercise.
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In my last two columns I talked about how important it is to prepare your body for the exhilaration of the slopes. I hope you were able to try out and benefit from the warm-up, flexibility and balance routines. (You can find them at http://www.tahoedailytribune.com).

This week we focus on the three other aspects of total winter sports conditioning: cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and endurance, and core conditioning.

Cardiovascular endurance is the body’s capability to do large-muscle work over a period of time. Endurance is dependent on the cardiovascular system’s ability to pump blood and deliver oxygen through your body. Cardiovascular endurance should be the most vital element of your overall fitness program.

Improving cardiovascular endurance increases the supply of oxygen and energy to your body. For the Winters Sports Conditioning Camp we perform jumping jacks, skipping (yes, even the guys), knee raises and bench step-ups.

On circuit training days, we use the rebounder. It’s a smaller, firmer version of a trampoline. Other options: running or jogging, swimming, cycling and dancing. For endurance training, you should get at least 45 minutes at 75 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, three to four days a week.

Muscle strength and endurance is the ability to resist fatigue and continue to exercise over long periods of time. Strength training is required to maintain muscle strength; endurance training is necessary to attain stamina.

Below are a few of the moves we perform in camp. Because we are aiming for endurance, we’ll keep the weight light (five to 10 pounds) with increased repetitions (12 to 20) and three to five sets.

Dumbbell half-squats: This exercise is done to help strengthen the knees. Hold a five- or eight-pound dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet six inches apart to keep you balanced. Slowly begin to lower your body, but no more than 12 inches. Your stance should be no greater than a 45-degree angle from your thigh to the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then return to the starting position.

Mountain climbers: No weight other than your body is required for this one. If you are more advanced, add ankle and/or wrist weights. Begin in a push-up position – arms lined up with the chest, legs extended out. Make sure to keep the head in line with the body and the abdominals contracted throughout the move. Start the movement by bringing the right knee to the chest and back to starting position. Quickly alternate to the left leg and continue this movement for 30 seconds. Rest and repeat for a total of three minutes.

Pretend moguls: This exercise is a good simulation for preparing yourself for moguls. To do this exercise, place a rolled towel or dumbbell on the floor. Start on the left side and hop with both feet together to the right side, and then back again without stopping. Continue this momentum for 30 seconds, rest for 30. Do four to six sets. To spice up the drill, hold a three-pound dumbbell in each hand as if you were holding ski poles and then jump back and forth.

Core conditioning: I have written a few columns about how important core training is with several training tips, so I’ll keep this part brief. For more exercises, go to http://www.tahoetrainer.com and click on “news.” My favorite core conditioning moves:

Pushups/side planks. In push-up position (on knees or toes), perform one pushup. As you come up, shift weight to left arm, twist to the side while bringing the right arm up toward the ceiling in a side plank. Lower the arm back to the floor for another pushup and then twist to the other side.

Back extension. Lie face-down with ball under your hips and lower torso. On toes or knees (you may place feet against a wall behind you for stability) and with hands behind the head, lift chest off the ball, bringing your shoulders up until your body is in a straight line. Lower and repeat.

Now that we have begun the most rewarding task of conditioning our bodies, it’s time to purchase a helmet. No amount of conditioning can prevent a head injury. I hope you have the opportunity to participate in the abundance of snow sports available.

– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer, with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing.

Facts:

Rhonda Beckham is owner of Help Me Rhonda and Perfect Pilates, a Pilates instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College and Sierra Athletic Club, as well as a personal trainer operating out of Sierra Athletic Club and the Tahoe Keys Marina Dance Studio. She may be reached at (530) 208-6369, http://www.tahoetrainer.com and rhonda@tahoetrainer.com.

Ski Conditioning Camp

Dates: Through Oct. 26

Times: Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 8-9 a.m., Tuesday-Thursday, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Cost: 6 sessions for $60; $10 for each additional session; $15 for drop-ins

Where: Fitness Studio in the Tahoe Keys Marina, 2435 Venice Drive, South Lake Tahoe


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