Off-season Strong

Be Strong
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Be Strong

Winter leaves even the best skiers worked. A bad air off a roller fractured skiercross champion Reggie Crist's pelvis in 2001. Exum guide Mark Newcomb once cracked a sinus with his knee. Pro snowboarder Megan Pischke dropped a cliff and sprained her back. And every May, extreme skier turned telemark guru Mike Hattrup is so beat up he just wants to hang up his skis.

To recuperate, Crist does what any self-respecting adrenaline junkie would do: He jumps in a kayak and hammers Class V whitewater. Hattrup trades his tele boards for a road bike. Pischke goes surfing. And Newcomb runs through the Tetons all summer.

According to Laura Keller, a physical therapist at the Stone Clinic in San Francisco, switching up sports not only lets ski-weary muscles rest, but can give you an edge come winter. "Strengthening muscles not used directly in skiing will only enhance the muscles that you do use," she says.

To that end, we tapped Keller and our four athletes-Crist, Newcomb, Hattrup, and Pischke-for workouts that can take you from Nepalese rivers to the Tour de France course, all while building strength, fitness, and new skills for winter.

KAYAKING
THE PRO
Reggie Crist, 2005 X Games skiercross champion, has spent summer in full-time kayak mode since 1996. A Class V paddler, he's linked snow-to-river runs throughout the world. In Nepal, he followed a first descent of 21,246-foot Mera Peak with a journey down the Dudh Kosi River.

BODY BENEFIT:CORE STRENGTH + ROTATOR CUFF STABILITY
Your core becomes stronger from a summer of constant balance adjustments on the water, boosting both upper- and lower-body strength and efficiency. And your rotator cuffs get stronger as you twist the paddle for each stroke, protecting your shoulders against all-too-common ski injuries.

SKILL: TERRAIN READING
A river-with its submerged tree stumps, narrow chutes, and mandatory airs-is the best place to build this skill. "You've got to plan every stroke. It's just like skiing in Alaska, where you've got to plan every turn," Crist says.

JACKSON 4FUN
$849; jacksonkayaks.comGo big at your local play spot and run rivers with stability and confidence.

MITCHELL COUGAR
$199; mitchellpaddles.com
A versatile fiberglass paddle designed for river running and playboating.

LOTUS RIO BRAVO PFD
$129; lotusdesigns.com
Comfy and low-profile with a convenient front zip.

SNAP DRAGON WHITE WATER EXP ARMORTEX
$167; snapdragondesign.com
A seamless deck and a layer of Kevlar make this one tough spray skirt.
WRSI CURRENT
$70; whitewaterhelmet.com
The only helmet designed specifically for whitewater kayaking.

BALANCE BALL ROTATOR
(three sets; 15 to 20 reps)
Lie over an exercise ball on your stomach, using your feet and glutes for stability. Hold a paddle in front of you with both hands, arms bent to 90 degrees, forearms parallel to the floor. Keeping your arms bent, raise the paddle to forehead-level, so that your forearms are perpendicular to the floor.

BALANCE BOARD TWIST:
(three sets; 10 reps on each side)
Stand on a balance board with a weight in one hand at your hip. Reach for the sky while rotating your shoulders 90 degrees. Start off with a five-pound weight. If that gets easy, increase the weight-or try closing your eyes.

MOUNTAIN RUNNING
THE PRO
Mark Newcomb, who's chalked up first ski descents of Otterbody and Black Ice couloirs on the Grand Teton, hammers up local slopes like Snow King (an hour-long, 1,571-vertical-foot cardio blast) and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (4,139 vertical) in the summer. "I just really enjoy covering ground," he says.

BODY BENEFIT: QUAD/CALF STRENGTH + ECCENTRIC CONTROL
Trails build quadriceps and calf endurance, as well as strength, by improving eccentric control-a muscle's capacityo stretch while contracted-on downhills and uneven ground. "A lot of people have muscles that burn out quickly when they're skiing, because they haven't been worked eccentrically," says Keller.

SKILL: AGILITY
Says Newcomb: "Sudden changes in snow quality and terrain require immediate reactions. If you're a runner and you work on improving your reaction time, your skiing will benefit."

SALOMON XA PRO 3D XCR
$125; salomonsports.com
An off-road specialist with quick-draw lacing and a waterproof-breathable Gore-Tex membrane.

SMARTWOOL RUNNING LIGHT MINI
$14; smartwool.com
Minimalist cut, flat toe seam, and comfy merino wool: so stealthy you'll forget they're on.

PATAGONIA LONG HAUL RUNNERS AND STRIDER-T
$42 and $40; patagonia.com
The quick-drying shirt offers 30+ UPF sun protection. The silky-soft shorts are made from recycled shower curtains.

ULTIMATE DIRECTION FASTDRAW GROOVE
$19; ultimatedirection.com
This 20-ounce bottle straps securely to your hand and has a pocket for an MP3 player and an energy-gel shot.

BALANCE JUMPS:
(20 reps)
Adding a balance challenge to traditional side-to-side slalom jumps can make your body instantly responsive to fluctuating terrain when you hit the trail skiing, says Keller. Set up two Bosu balance trainers next to each other. Starting with both feet, hop from one dome to the other, working up to 20 reps. Then, holding onto a ski pole for balance, do the same thing using just your right leg, and then just your left.

ROPE JUMPING:
(100 skips, each variation)
Warm up with standard skipping for about a minute; then try big slalom-style jumps from side to side, first on both feet, then on one, working up to 100 skips for each variation.

CYCLING
THE PRO
Mike Hattrup, who shredded couloirs with Glen Plake and Scot Schmidt in 1988's The Blizzard of Aahhhs, organized his own time trial up l'Alpe d'Huez after the 2004 Tour de France riders came through. The self-anointed directeur sportif of K2 Telemarking picked his job title to reflect tactics-minded French cycling coaches.

BODY BENEFIT: AEROBIC + ANAEROBIC CONDITIONING
Cycling's dual blitz of anaerobic bursts on the climbs and aerobic conditioning on the flats will serve you well for backcountry skinning followed by heart-pumping powder turns.

SKILL: TERRAIN ADAPTATION
As you ride, try to anticipate and absorb terrain changes like frost heaves, tight turns, and uneven surfaces. Relaxing your grip on the handlebars will smooth out your ride and conserve energy; bring the same absorption skills to fast, free-flowing turns on the slope.

GIANT TCR COMP 3
$1,800; giantbicycle.com
A carbon-fiber frame and affordable components yield a light-and-smooth ride for a wide range of cyclists.

GIRO PNEUMO
$140; giro.com
Excellent ventilation, a multi-position visor, and a quick-adjusting custom-fit.

SIDI ZETA HT 5.5 CARBON MESH
$200; veltecsports.com
A carbon sole transfers pedaling power, and mesh keeps feet cool and dry.

PEARL IZUMI MICROSENSOR 3D PRO BIB AND TEAM JERSEY
$140 and $75; pearlizumi.com
Well-padded bibs with no annoying waistband, and a form-fitting jersey with three rear pockets; Both are hewn from a four-way stretch fabric that transfers moisture away from your skin.

STANDING RIDE:
(15-second intervals; three positions)
While cycling boosts aerobic capacity, Keller says, you'll miss out on strength work unless you climb out of the saddle. For 15 seconds each: Hover just above the seat to target glutes, do a small squat to focus on hamstrings, and stand to work your calves. Rest for a minute; then repeat for 30 seconds, working up to five-minute intervals in each position. Two or three sessions each week (either on the bike or on a trainer) will help maintain leg strength and aerobic capacity.

SIDE LUNGES:
(three sets; 10 to 15 on each leg)
If you're spending all summer on the bike, your body's going in just one direction-forward. Do these to maintain lateral strength. Holding a 10- to 15-pound weight in each hand, step out to the side and squat, keeping both feet pointed forward and lowering both weights to your ankles.

SIDESTEP WITH RESISTANCE:
(three sets; 10 to 15 reps out, back)
Tie a stretchy band into a loop, and place it around your ankles. From here, do a crablike sidestep in a football-style defensive crouch.

SURFING
THE PRO
Megan Pischke sneaks in winter surf days between snowboarding comps and backcountry stints in British Columbia, Colorado, and Greenland. Once the snow melts, she heads to her favorite spot near Dominical, Costa Rica-a heavy, fast-moving beach break that can pound unprepared surfers into the sand. "I feel much more balanced coming into the winter because of surfing," she says.

BODY BENEFIT: CHEST, ARM, CORE, + GLUTE STRENGTH
A strong upper body-including lats, rhomboids, and pectoral muscles worked by paddling-enhances core strength, which is essential for control on steeps and for launching McTwists in the park.

SKILL: BALANCE
One board, no boots, no bindings-surfing demands barefoot balance on slippery, moving terrain. The exercise may look like snowboarding, but the stability you'll pick up will transfer to any kind of winter sliding.

WIFT DOUBLE ENDER $750; theswiftmovement.com
This six-foot, five-inch, full-volume board is buoyant, easy to paddle, and as stable as a longboard.

HURLEY SPLATTER
$35; hurley.com
For women, this flat-seamed rashguard top keeps you chafe-free and cool on hot, wetsuit-free days.

HURLEY RECON SPRING SUIT
$83; hurley.com
For those almost-summer days. No underarm or frontal seams means no paddling rash.

BILLABONG BRO-RITO
$50; billabong.com
Like a Guatemalan blanket, only it's a thin and quick-drying boardshort.

BILLABONG STAR FISH
$72; billabonggirls.com
Brown, embroidered, and won't come off when you get chundered. What more could a surfer girl ask for?

WEIGHTED PADDLE:
(30-second intervals)
Lie over a balance ball on your stomach, feet braced low against the wall. Keep your chest off the ball in a neutral position. Hold a five-pound weight in each hand and make a paddling motion, going for endurance rather than power. Bring your feet closer together to add difficulty.

BALANCE BALL FLAGGER:
(three sets of 10, five in each direction)
Lie on your back, body held straight like a plank, with your heels on a balance ball. With a five-pound weight in each hand, raise both arms to the ceiling; then move them out to the side and back one at a time. "You can work up to 10 to 15 pounds-if your pecs can take it," says Keller.

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help maintain leg strength and aerobic capacity.

SIDE LUNGES:
(three sets; 10 to 15 on each leg)
If you're spending all summer on the bike, your body's going in just one direction-forward. Do these to maintain lateral strength. Holding a 10- to 15-pound weight in each hand, step out to the side and squat, keeping both feet pointed forward and lowering both weights to your ankles.

SIDESTEP WITH RESISTANCE:
(three sets; 10 to 15 reps out, back)
Tie a stretchy band into a loop, and place it around your ankles. From here, do a crablike sidestep in a football-style defensive crouch.

SURFING
THE PRO
Megan Pischke sneaks in winter surf days between snowboarding comps and backcountry stints in British Columbia, Colorado, and Greenland. Once the snow melts, she heads to her favorite spot near Dominical, Costa Rica-a heavy, fast-moving beach break that can pound unprepared surfers into the sand. "I feel much more balanced coming into the winter because of surfing," she says.

BODY BENEFIT: CHEST, ARM, CORE, + GLUTE STRENGTH
A strong upper body-including lats, rhomboids, and pectoral muscles worked by paddling-enhances core strength, which is essential for control on steeps and for launching McTwists in the park.

SKILL: BALANCE
One board, no boots, no bindings-surfing demands barefoot balance on slippery, moving terrain. The exercise may look like snowboarding, but the stability you'll pick up will transfer to any kind of winter sliding.

WIFT DOUBLE ENDER $750; theswiftmovement.com
This six-foot, five-inch, full-volume board is buoyant, easy to paddle, and as stable as a longboard.

HURLEY SPLATTER
$35; hurley.com
For women, this flat-seamed rashguard top keeps you chafe-free and cool on hot, wetsuit-free days.

HURLEY RECON SPRING SUIT
$83; hurley.com
For those almost-summer days. No underarm or frontal seams means no paddling rash.

BILLABONG BRO-RITO
$50; billabong.com
Like a Guatemalan blanket, only it's a thin and quick-drying boardshort.

BILLABONG STAR FISH
$72; billabonggirls.com
Brown, embroidered, and won't come off when you get chundered. What more could a surfer girl ask for?

WEIGHTED PADDLE:
(30-second intervals)
Lie over a balance ball on your stomach, feet braced low against the wall. Keep your chest off the ball in a neutral position. Hold a five-pound weight in each hand and make a paddling motion, going for endurance rather than power. Bring your feet closer together to add difficulty.

BALANCE BALL FLAGGER:
(three sets of 10, five in each direction)
Lie on your back, body held straight like a plank, with your heels on a balance ball. With a five-pound weight in each hand, raise both arms to the ceiling; then move them out to the side and back one at a time. "You can work up to 10 to 15 pounds-if your pecs can take it," says Keller.

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