Healthy Hollywood: Get Movin' Monday – Be A Snow Bunny Like Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani keeps it stylish in the snow in Deer Valley, Utah in December 2008 Gwen Stefani keeps it stylish in the snow in Deer Valley, Utah in December 2008

Are you ready for Winter? East Coasters got an early taste of it this weekend with the area’s surprise snowstorm. Burrr!

To some, the colder weather means warm blankets and cashmere sweaters; to others (the more athletically-minded) it’s the start of ski season. Celebs like Heidi Klum, Gwen Stefani, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Justin Timberlake are all known to suit up and hit the slopes.

With the snow dusting NYC, Healthy Hollywood had skiing on the brain. While it’s too early to lace up and head to the mountains, The Sports Club/LA & Reebok Sports Club/NY have teamed up with Aspen/Snowmass to create Aspen Ascent, a workout class to prepare skiers for the slopes.

“Exercises were specifically chosen to build strength and power which will assist students to confidently negotiate turns and terrain while skiing and to also build endurance which will allow students to ski all day long,” states Aspen Ascent creator Stephanie Levinson.

The class prepares you for skiing by building up cardio, while improving balance, agility and core strength. Even if you’re not a ski bunny, this class is an awesome workout, which will develop and strengthen glutes, hamstrings, quads, core and upper body. Now, that’s reason enough to brave the cold weather and hit the gym – no lift ticket required!

The one-hour class is divided into three sections, with each segment 20 minutes. Even if you’re not a skier or don’t belong to The Sports Club/LA, Stephanie shares with Healthy Hollywood a few of the exercises to get your body Winter-ready.

Section One – Speed & Agility:
(These exercises build speed and agility, plus increase cardio capacity. All exercises are high intensity intervals)

Power Ski Squats (builds power & strength in the quadriceps)
Begin standing with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Bend the knees and jump forward into a squat, jump back into a squat (to starting position) and then jump straight up and land in a squat. Repeat pattern for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds and repeat 3 – 4 times. Make sure all landings are soft and your core stays strong.

Section Two – Strength & Balance:
(These exercises are performed unilaterally to simulate the demands of skiing and improve balance)

Ski Slope Lunge (strengthens muscles around the knee, ankle and lower body)
Stand on the top of a bench or platform (or on the floor is effective as well), holding light free weights with the arms bent at 90 degrees as if holding ski poles. Step back with the left leg into a lunge and then step over the bench with same leg into a forward lunge – watching to be sure that the knee is directly lined up over the ankle both times. Repeat on opposite leg.

Section Three – Core & Flexibility:
(These exercises will consist of various abdominal bracing, such as planks, as well as core exercises to train the body to easily transfer power from the upper to lower body)

Shaky Mountain (strengthens and stretches the hamstrings, shoulders and calf muscles)
Hold a downward dog position (an upside down letter V) and take 5 deep breaths. Then lift one leg straight back keeping the weight evenly distributed in your arms. Finally, lift the opposite arm. Repeat on other side.

Check out www.thesportsclubla.com to see if Aspen Ascent classes are in your area or to book a skiing adventure, head to www.aspensnowmass.com.

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