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5 Exercises You Need to Steal from X Games Athletes

  • Peter Morning / ESPN Images

    For Abs: Toes to Bar

    When snowboarder Silje Norendal does rotations midair (which is often—check her out), she's using her entire core for control while gaining momentum. To keep her middle strong and lean, she relies on the toes to bar exercise. "It's really effective, quick, and easy," she says. "You can do it wherever, whenever, as long as you have something to hang from." Try it yourself:

    • Hang from a pull-up bar and engage core. Slowly lift legs until toes touch hands.
    • Return to start. Do 3 sets of 10. MAKE IT EASIER: Bend your legs and lift them to your chest instead.


    Once you've been at it for a couple of weeks, up the intensity and blast your obliques by lifting your legs to each side five times.

  • Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images

    For Hips: Cleans

    To nail snowboard tricks like the Frontside 720—which involves starting the move through your toes and driving through the hips to complete two full spins—Spencer O'Brien incorporates strength moves that require explosive power into her routines. "It's all about building quick movement through the hips," she says, a skill she loves to sharpen with cleans. CrossFitters, we know you've heard of 'em, but they're not just for the box. Here's how to do one:

    • With a barbell on the floor, squat, lowering hips and keeping your back straight.
    • Quickly pick up the bar as you begin to stand, driving the hips forward.
    • Lower back into a squat as you bring the bar to your chest.
    • Return to standing; lower bar to floor.


    "They make me feel really strong," says O'Brien. "That's one of the most important things for me at the gym—to be doing exercises that I know are making me stronger." Burn baby, burn!

  • Matt Morning / ESPN Images

    For Hamstrings: Ball Leg Curls

    After dealing with a small fracture in her knee, skier Maddie Bowman knows how important it is to keep them stable when grabs midair are her go-to trick. "Having strong hamstrings takes a lot of pressure off your ACL," she says. Hit 'em harder with some ball leg curls:

    • Lie on your back and place legs on top of a large exercise ball.
    • Lift hips toward the ceiling and use legs to roll the ball toward you, then roll back out.
    • Do 15 reps.
  • Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images

    For Shoulders: Lateral Raises

    As the first female snowboarder to land a frontside 1080 in a competition (you go, girl!), Kelly Clark loves using a resistance band to strengthen her upper body. "If I go down [during a trick] and I need to catch myself, I'm not worried that my arms are going to be vulnerable [to injury]," she says. Try these two moves using a resistance band fit for your strength level:

    • While standing on the band, hold your arms straight down, each hand grasping an end of the band.
    • Lift arms out to your sides, so that arms are perpendicular to floor.
    • Slowly return to start. Repeat 10 times.
    • Lift arms straight in front of you. Slowly return to start. Repeat 10 times.
  • Matt Morning / ESPN Images

    For Butt: Rooster Stands

    Showing off her cab 720 isn't the only time you'll see snowboarder Jamie Anderson flipping. She does yoga every day and loves doing inversions to focus her mind and get her blood flowing. "You can start with a forward fold and reach for your toes, or practice a handstand against the wall," she says. Once you're back on your feet, try some rooster stands to stretch your back and strengthen your glutes:

    • Stand on your left leg and bring your right leg in front of your body, keeping knee bent at 90 degrees and thigh parallel to the floor.
    • Slowly bend your left knee in a half squat, keeping the weight over your heel.
    • As you squat down, bring your arms down in front, then out to the sides and back above your head as you straighten your leg.
    • Do seven to 10 reps on each side.

    Don't forget to catch X Games Aspen on ESPN and ABC from January 22-25