Here is a great exercise to get your legs ready for the slopes by using the terrain to strengthen your knees, hips and ankles. Tina developed this exercise for just that purpose—and found that it also really toned my inner and outer thighs.
She calls this move a “half-tuck” because you are isolating one leg at a time, in a tuck position. This exercise is perfect for doing beside the short hillside or slope that typically lines the sides of a single-track trail such as the Bench Trail.
Works: Adductors, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings
Props: Hillside, curb, step
Starting position: Using the side of a hill or incline, prop your right foot laterally (sideways) on the slope of the hill so your foot is resting on the heel. Your leg should be straight but not locked. You may need to hop an inch or two to the left, to line your left foot up on the flat surface of the trail or path.
Action: With your palms held together in front of you for counter balance, lower your tailbone into a tuck position, until your left knee forms a 45° angle staying centered over your left leg. Inhale and sink downward, placing pressure on the entire bottom of your left foot, from the big toe to heel. Exhale as you press firmly through the arch of your left foot to activate the adductors (inner thigh muscles) and push yourself back to starting position.
• Lower your hips until the bend of your knee is greater than a 45°angle
• Get your chest out over your thigh and hold the tuck for 2 to 3 counts before returning to starting position.
• Add a slight “tailbone-bob” (lifting and lowering your tailbone ½ to 1 inch) at the bottom of the move before pressing back up to starting position.
• Your resting leg should remain nearly straight, but not locked. It has no function in this exercise. You are just getting it out of the way.
• Do not let your knee drop beyond you toes. Keep your hips back.
This exercise is challenging, yes. That’s because it requires total commitment and focus from you. When it’s done correctly, you are loading your thigh with basically all of your body weight. Make sure that you maintain a solid knee throughout. Do not let it wobble. You can control a wobbly knee by tightening your abdominal wall on the way down, and by mentally focusing on keeping your knee still.