Sumos to Musketeers, My Favourite SkiFit Exercise

Neil demonstrate the Sumo position

Tony reflects on starting the SkiFit programme, the fantastic autumn weather and his favourite exercise from the programme…

Its that time of year again and we have now started SkiFit-ing in earnest ready for the 2015-16 skiing season. Being very busy with work (I’m sure we all feel that way…) we have so far only managed two full Phase 1 workouts and we our ski fitness is quite a long way behind where it was this time last year. I also blame the amazing weather we have been blessed with this autumn in the alps which has meant getting out cycling, walking etc has been much more attractive than normal.

This year the SkiFit exercises feel like familiar old friends with whom we have lost acquaintance, but are there ready to welcome us back when we find time for them again. It is also humbling how tricky I’m finding some of the balance activities (e.g. wobbly single leg dips…) and yet some feel easier than they did last year (aeroplanes fell like they will be doable this year!) but I know that as I progress through the programme the legs will strengthen and regain control and ultimately all the efforts will be repaid on the slopes.

Revisiting the exercises has made me reflect on those I most enjoy and also seem to offer the most “bang for the buck”, the greatest benefit bound up in a single movement pattern. For me this is the exercise sequence that incorporates the Sumo with the Musketeer. This is a really challenging movement made on one leg that really challenges both your strength and control, really working the quads and glutes as well as all your stabilising muscles and even elements of your core.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with this great exercise here is how to do it:

Stand on your left leg and crouch to start, ensuring your weight is evenly distributed on your foot between the heel and toes, your knee is aligned with your middle toe and your back is straight.
Single leg squat to start
As you extend your weighted left leg and straighten your leg and body, lift your unweighted right leg out to the side aiming to keep the foot roughly parallel to the ground and your body vertical. This is the Sumo position and when done correctly you will feel a tension in your gluteus medius muscle (the outside of your butt cheek).
The Sumo
Bring the raised leg down and begin to squat watching your knee alignment as before. As you reach a deep squat extend the unweighted right leg behind your bent weighted left leg. This is the Musketeer position a challenging position and will really work all the muscles of your weighted left leg and the glutes.
The musketeer
Stand up on your left leg again and in one motion bring your right leg from behind and raise it up and out to the side to re-assume the Sumo position in one fluid movement. This completes one repetition.
The Sumo

Phase 2 of SkiFit first introduces this combination exercise and involves 6 repetitions of the standard Sumo movement followed by 4 repetitions of the Sumo to Musketeer movement within the activation part of the programme. As an individual exercise done in isolation these repetitions can be increased and a number of sets on each leg can be completed.

Give it a go and when you have nailed the movement, see how many you can complete on each leg for an ultimate burn!

Tony Lowe