Developing core strength is important for all mountain athletes. A strong core will guard you against injury and will enable you to more effectively use your arms and legs in your chosen sport. Watch the following video demonstration of Scott’s Killer Core Routine to learn the proper form for each exercise. All athletic movements originate from the core; do not neglect this foundational form of strength.

For a deeper dive into the exercises, consult Chapter Seven in Training for the New Alpinism.

Scott’s Killer Core Routine: Notes on the Exercises

  1. Strict Sit-ups: Straight back. All the way up and all the way down. Placing your hands on your chest or behind your head or holding a weight to your chest progresses the exercise from easy to harder.
  2. Bird Dog: The hip rotates through its full range of motion.
  3. Windshield Wipers: Keep the legs straight. Hamstring flexibility is a limiter for some.
  4. Three Point/Two Point: Highly relevant for contact strength when poling.
  5. Kayaker: Highly relevant for turning the skis and doing a kick turn.
  6. Super Push-ups: Shoulders pulled back and spine hyperextended at the end of the movement. Push through, then back. This will be the hardest exercise for many skimo racers.
  7. Hanging Leg Raises: Start with knees bent if you can’t do these with straight legs. If straight legs is easy, do these as Hanging Windshield Wipers, as per the video tutorial.
  8. Bridge
  9. Gymnast L-sit: If you can’t do this, try crossing your legs in front of you for 10 seconds. Try straightening your legs each time; it will come. Difficult for many.
  10. Side Planks: Without weight or dynamically with a dumbbell. Do 5 reps per side (10 in total).
  11. Bonus: Turkish Get Ups: The granddaddy of core exercises. Hits every major core stabilization group.

Beyond the Core

Scott’s Killer Core is just the beginning. Learn more about strength training for mountain athletics here.

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