In this water ski how to, three world-class athletes — Jonathan Travers, Ryan Dodd and Natalia Berdinikova — share their secrets for a healthy and successful ski season.
Stretch a lot — and ease back into training.
“After a few months off the water, it’s crazy how tight our muscles can get. Stretching is key to staying loose and preventing injury once I start skiing again. If you really want to feel the benefits of a good full-body stretch and warm-up, try it in a sauna. As far as my early season on-the-water training, I really try to ease into my routine and not get ahead of myself. I do a lot of 28- and 32-off passes and work on my rhythm. Start a pass or two behind where you left off last year and focus on one thing at a time. Work on your gates until they are dialed, move to edge control and then to counter-movements in your turns. This will help you get your rhythm back.” — Jonathan Travers, 2009 World U21 slalom champion
Preparing for the season is both physical and mental.
“I’ve taken a more serious approach to my offseason training this year. My five to six days a week workouts have consisted of stretching, Indo Board balance drills, cardio and agility/speed training. I like to keep it fun and mix it up during these workouts. Another area of focus has been my mental game. We all have bad habits that are tough to break, so I spend 20 to 30 minutes a day visualizing my jumps. Daily, ingrain in your mind where you want to be technically, and you’ll be surprised how easy the old habits will die once you get back on the water.” — Ryan Dodd, 2009 World Cup Dubna jump champion
Mix it up with gym time and lake time.
“During the preseason I try to get to the gym two to three times per week. I spend 20 to 30 minutes on a bike working on cardio, and work my legs by doing leg presses, leg extensions and lots of squats. I also do plyometric and functional workouts twice a week, focusing on balance. On the water I try to spend as much time as possible on my ski. I take multiple short sets so I do not get as sore, plus it gets my muscles back into skiing shape quicker. The early season water temps are another reason to keep your sets short.” — Natalia Berdnikova, Women’s world trick record holder (9,080 points)
Indo Board Ryan performs three or four sets of squats on the Indo Board while holding the medicine ball over his head, completing 12 to 15 reps. indoboard.com
Masterline Gloves Pro Lock Curves Jonathan uses the Pro Lock Curves because they allow him to relax his arms and keep his trailing arm relaxed and straight as he moves into the turn. The gloves also greatly reduce forearm soreness and minimize blisters. masterlineusa.com
CTI Knee Brace Natalia uses the CTI knee brace because of the stability and protection it provides while allowing a full range of motion. dme-direct.com