By Andy Smith,
Fitness Director, eMbody Fitness
As snow descends from the heavens my reaction is one of excitement and joy. Living in Canada means winter, and being Canadian means getting out and enjoying the winter.
Initially Snowshoes were developed as a means of winter transportation. It has since transformed into a sport and the popularity of the sport has risen by over 50% since 2008. There are now many trails, races and ways to enjoy the beautiful Canadian scenery from the platform of this great gear.
For those of you looking forward to spending more time on your snowshoes the following exercises will help strengthen the hip flexors, the quadriceps, the hamstrings and gluteals to help with the added work in lifting the leg to clear the snowshoe with each step. It will also target key muscle areas in the upper extremities as well as the abdominal muscles. The focus of the exercises is on functional activities that directly relate to joint and muscle actions that will be used when snowshoeing.
Try for 2 sets of 15 repetitions of each exercise: Don’t hesitate to ask a trainer for help with the exercices.
High Step Ups:
While standing on the floor, place your left foot on the plyometric box or stair 14 -17” in height. Use your left leg to lift yourself to standing position and then slowly lower back down to the floor for 15 repetitions. Repeat with the right leg
Lateral Step Down:
From a 6” box on your left leg bend the left leg so the knee stays over the toes. Lower your right leg while sitting back with your hips and extending the right foot forward.
Step out with the left leg in front of right, and slowly lower your body weight down, centered between both feet. Body weight is split roughly 50/50 to front and back feet. Lower down until each knee is bent 90 degrees and use both legs to raise your torso up again.
Stability Ball Single Leg Squat:
Balance on the stability ball with the left leg, lower down as far as you can while retaining balance. Repeat on the right leg.
Prone Stability Ball Back Extensions:
With your toes on the floor and your abdomen over a stability ball, hold a 3 or 5 lb weight in each hand. Raise the arms from the shoulders, lifting the weight in each hand. Raise the hips, with elbows slightly bent and extend the upper back keeping the head level.
Supine Leg Bridge with Abduction:
Begin by lying on your back on the floor, knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your fingers from one hand on the lower abdomen and slowly lift your hips and lumber spine off the floor up to the shoulder blade area. Lift and straighten your left leg so you are balanced just on the right and move the leg laterally to the side and back 15 times. Repeat for the right leg.
Begin by lying on your stomach on the floor, with elbows directly under your shoulders and forearms forward on the floor, palms down. Lift your body off the floor, keeping your abdominal muscles contracted and squeeze your gluteals. Hold for one minute.
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