Tahoe skiing: Shoot for quality in preseason winter sports workouts | SierraSun.com

Tahoe skiing: Shoot for quality in preseason winter sports workouts

Vanessa Diaz
Special to the Bonanza

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — I know we have all heard this before, "It's about quality not quantity."

I would say this is an absolute truth when it comes to exercise. Practicing proper form is a key element, not only to succeed in your fitness goals, but also for injury prevention.

Obviously, there are many factors to think about when considering "proper form." Some pivotal factors to keep in mind when practicing good form are: what you are trying to accomplish with the movement, the range of motion you will be putting your body through, and most importantly, joint and spinal alignment.

What area are you trying to target?

For instance, when done correctly, squats are a great way to work key muscle groups used for skiing and snowboarding. You want to start with your head up and facing straight ahead, your chest should be up and shoulders back. This will position your spine for the squat.

Next focus on foot placement — set your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, hinge at the hip, and as you come down, push through the outer edges of your feet. Use your glutes to sit back. Your knees should come out and away from each other. Only come down as far as feels comfortable. Gradually, you will build the strength you need to go deeper if that is the end goal for you.

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When executing an exercise to target a specific body part, think about where you are feeling the tension. Make sure you use the full range of motion when completing a movement to get maximum results. Remember that any exercise can be harmful if performed incorrectly.

Looking for guidance?

The group fitness classes at the Incline Village Recreation Center are a great way to get started in your effort to get familiar with proper form and execution of certain exercises. The Recreation Center also has a great group of trainers ready to assist with any fitness questions.

As a friend once told me, "practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent." So really focus on practicing proper form and executing the exercises correctly and you will see that your workouts will be much more effective.

Vanessa Diaz is Senior Recreation Clerk and Personal Trainer at the Incline Village Recreation Center.