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Leg exercises for skiers

People watching the 2014 Winter Olympics might wonder how skiers reach such high levels of performance. A common misconception is that athletes prepare for snow sports only during the winter months. The reality is, however, that Olympians train throughout the year. They use every muscle group of the body, but put a lot of focus on their legs. You might not be ready to tackle the slopes at the 2018 games, but you can start with these ski exercises:

Ski jumps
Training your knees to withstand the heavy stress of skiing down rough terrain will help you maintain good form for the duration of a long run. You will also experience side-to-side motion. In order to keep your legs from turning into jelly, try doing the ski jump exercise. Begin with your feet together. Bend your knees and then jump to one side. As soon as you land, jump to the other. Repeat this lateral motion. Try to do three sets, with eight repetitions to each set.

Romanian deadlift
Developing strong hamstrings is key to preventing ACL injuries during a ski run. Romanian deadlifts target the backs of your legs and will help increase your stability. Start by grabbing a heavy dumbbell. Bend your knees slightly while lowering your torso. Remember to hinge at your hips and keep your back as straight as possible. As you begin to rise from this position, thrust your hips forward and return to your original stance. If you are new to Romanian deadlifts, begin with a light weight to learn correct form. Try to do three to four sets of eight repetitions.

One-legged squats
This exercise is a staple in every Olympic skier's training regimen. The single-leg squat works the stabilizer muscles in your leg, so you get stronger and more balanced. Begin the exercise by standing with one leg straight out in front of you. Slightly bend your standing knee. Slowly lower your body as if you were to sit down. Hold this position for a moment and then stand up. You can either switch legs or continue to do more repetitions. Some beginners will initially experience difficulty balancing on one leg. To help stabilize your body, hold on to a chair or put your hand on a wall. For veteran athletes, try closing your eyes while performing the exercise.

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