squat

I have now completed 10 weeks of P90X, and so I decided to take a break for a few days by taking my family downhill skiing for a long weekend.  Three days of skiing; how would my body react?  How did P90X prepare me for skiing?

The answer: very well, thank you.

I skied for three days, and my legs felt great.

I believe there are two workouts in particular that contributed to my success.

First, the Legs & Back workout is an obvious source of leg strength.  Specifically, all of the squat-type exercises were great for strengthening the quads and glutes, which are critically important when hitting the hills.  The calf exercises also helped for the lower legs.

During the legs & back video Tony Horton even mentions that squats are critical for skiing, and I believe he’s correct.  He mentions that he’s a skier, and that he “shattered his knee” while skiing as a youngster, so it’s not surprising that he has designed workouts to help him, and us, prepare for one of his preferred sports.

Second, the Plyometrics workout was a big help.  Again, that’s not surprising.  All of the jumping around is a good simulation of the skiing motion.  In fact, some of the exercises are very similar to skiing.

Other workouts also helped.  Yoga, for instance, improves flexibility, which is important in every athletic activity.  Arms are used when going down the hills, and when propelling yourself to the lifts, so the upper body workouts also contribute to overall fitness in general, and ski specific condition in particular.

Obviously P90X is not designed as a skiing workout.  However, next year, in the weeks leading up to the start of the ski season, if I’m not doing P90X full time, I will certainly do a Legs & Back, Plyometrics and Yoga workout each week to prepare for hills.

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After doing the P90X Yoga X workout yesterday, it was refreshing to get back to a more traditional (for a guy) workout.  Legs & Back is exactly what it sounds like: traditional leg and back exercises.

I’ve done lunges, squats and chin-ups before, and this workout has lots of squats, lunges and chin-ups, so I felt someone more comfortable doing these routines.  Also, as a runner for the past six months, my legs are in decent shape, so I didn’t find the exercises to be horribly difficult.

Now, don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying this is easy.  It isn’t.  Not including the warm up and cool down there are 22 exercises, so I was exhausted by the end of it.  Why? Probably because there are many variations on the same theme, so even though one exercise is not overly difficult, when you put them all together, it’s quite a workout.

For example, you do calf raise squats, then wall squats, then one leg wall squats.  On their own they are not that hard; by the final set of the final squat, my quads were burning.

The same is true for the back exercises, which include reverse grip chin-ups, closed grip overhead pull-ups, and wide front pull-ups.  One is easy; dozens of them are very difficult.

Needless to say I was not able to do very many reps of the pull-ups, so I hope that over time my number of reps increases greatly.  Again, I’m recording everything on the P90X worksheets, so I can track my progress and work towards increasing the number of reps.

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