The Great Outdoor Fitness Plan: Plyometric Exercises

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A Note on Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises train your muscles to explode and are a shortcut to building strength. But they are also high-end, high-impact moves that shouldn't be attempted without a foundation of strength. Once you've built some strength with low-impact exercises and weight lifting, start your plyos with small jumps, and increase height gradually. If you're a recreational skier, do plyos no more than once or twice a week.

Tuck Jumps
Freeskier Tyler Williams and Bradley demonstrate this familiar knees-to-chest movement, which trains and strengthens your leg and ab muscles to contract rapidly so you can absorb rough terrain on skis. Standing in a half-squat position with hands out in front for balance, jump up, bringing knees to chest. Use your legs to absorb the landing impact. Do 10 jumps, resting between each one.

Step Ups (right)
Pick a rock (or a box or step) about six to eight inches high. Jump forward onto the rock, landing with both feet. Then step down behind you, one foot at a time, and repeat. Keep your knees high and your abs tight. Notice that Heidi jumps well above the rock. Clearance is key. Do three sets of 10 of this plyometric move.

Alternating hops (left)
This plyometric move builds both explosive power and balance. Stand on your right foot and hop sideways onto the left foot. Pause for two seconds, keeping hands out in front and eyes forward (you'll be wobbly at first). Then hop back to the right foot, pausing again. Do 20 hops each leg, then rest. Do enough of these, and your legs will look like Bradley's.