Last but not least, a more “esoteric” approach to training. The Chi Machine. I use it, I love it, and it works! It may be the perfect exercising equipment for all us lazy ones out there (and I may lead that group at times). With the Chi machine, you literally can exercise not only while lying down, but also while being perfectly relaxed at that. All you do is put your behind on the complimentary rotating disc, put your feet onto the machine, and let it sway your legs (and the whole body) elliptically at a gentle speed. Sounds to good to be true? Stay with me!
My mom sparked my interest for this piece of equipment a few years ago and I have been using it ever since. When I first tried it out at my parents' house in Germany, I was warned not to overdo it the first time. Only five minutes is suggested for the first time users. Well, I had to go further, of course, and I let the machine do its work for fifteen minutes. Afterward, I could barely stand up, my legs were wobbly, and my heart beat had been going up. I could definitely feel the benefits to my muscles. So it is true, you get exercised without having to do the work. And it is amazingly relaxing at that.
For use as a pre-ski-season training tool, the Chi machine does a great job conditioning the body, and especially the legs, for more specific training to come. It is said to improve the oxygen flow in your system while reducing stress. It is also a safe tool to get your body in shape in case you have problems with your spine, knees, or other parts of your body, as it does not put pressure on any of them. I recommend the Chi machine to all my students, and five of them now own one of these units. I use it during the season to loosen up my stiff limbs after a long day on the slopes. I also use it as a warm-up before I do more vigorous ski-specific exercising. There are plenty of different models out there and one of these days I may review them as well. The Sun Harmony Chi Exercise Machine is the one I own, and it has some of the best specifications at a reasonable price.