The summer has come to an end, the nights are closing in and autumn is now upon us.Â For most people this is a cause for despair, no more lazy days soaking up the sun on the beach and no more picnics in the park. However, To all the skiers and snowboarders out there, this signals the countdown to the ski season, the most joyous and exciting season of all. Over the next few weeks the mountains will be getting their first dusting of snow and start to show promise of all those untouched lines that we all crave!
Ski Fitness is a bit like the snow on the mountains. In the winter the snow builds and makes a strong solid base for all of us winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy, then the spring comes and that well built snow base slowly melts away on all except the highest peaks.
This is the same as your ski fitness, during the winter months while you’re spending time on the mountains you will condition you body to cope with the work, but once you stop… those developed Ski & Snowboard specific muscles will lose their strength.
Like those high peaks which keep their snow all year, Â you will maintain a residual level of conditioning, but no where near enough for optimal performance!Â Being prepared will also greatly reduce your chance of injury.
No one wants to head back to the mountains after a long season (or Three) off and have to spend their first week or whole holiday struggling with fitness and aches and pains, you want to hit the mountains and shred from morning to night! The last thing you need is to have to catch a lift to the hospital for a knee operation…BE PREPARED!
Here are myÂ 5 essential exercises to get you ready for the slopes…
Click the links below to see these movements in action…
A dynamic movement that builds knee stability as well as cardio vascular endurance. The lateral transfer of weight from one leg to the other is importantÂ and will help greatly when loading and unloading your skis though the turns. Single Leg exercises are important to build into your pre season training plans, they help even out any imbalances in your legs. Next time you walk up a set of stairs keep note of which leg you use first, chances are this is also the leg you are most comfortable turning on.
Perfect for replicating a hard carving session on a freshly groomed slope. This movement replicates the increasing burning sensations in the thighs you get as you’re pushed further into the run. We have all been there when you have to pull up to the side of the slopes take a breather and wait for theÂ uncomfortable build up of lactic acid to clear from your legs. Wall Sits are key for endurance. Start this exercises in 30 seconds bursts and then build up the time gradually aim forÂ five sets.
180Â° Squat Jumps build power in your legs and rotational core strength. These are a great exercise to build up strength for dealing with deep powder and mogul sections when you need to be dynamic in your movements. Rotational core strength is also very important for all you carvers out there, a strong core allows your upper body and lower body to work independently (remember your upper body want to stay fixed and the legs do the work underneath you!)
Cycling is the favored method of aerobic training for World Cup skiers and is a great way to replicate the fitness needed for skiing or snowboarding. It’s a great low impact option, which is kinder on knees and ankles.Â If your cycling at the gym, set your self up on the random setting, this will be the best setting to replicate the varying intensity of a long run.
Youâ€™ve built up the core and leg strength, youâ€™ve built up the cardio vascular endurance but there is one last component to help tie them together…AGILITY. You need to be sure that you can put your skis exactly where you want them at exactly the correct time when negotiating Moguls, Powder, Ski Parks and Rough Terrain. This kind of agility training makes the strength and power you have worked on usable and is excellent at preventing slips trips and falls and keep you skiing happily for longer!
Headed off to the slopes…?
Get in touch to find out more about Ski Fitness and how it will improve your winter break.
Ski Instructor and Personal Trainer,
Body Care Plus,