To ski well your body demands the use of muscles that are seldom used in everyday life. The body needs strength, coordination, agility, proprioception and core stability to be able to deal with the demands of skiing. Because most skiing muscles are internal rotators or balancing muscles it takes time and effort to prepare them. Start preparing your body 4-6 weeks before skiing.
WEAK TECHNIQUE + POOR FITNESS = FATIGUED MUSCLES = A BAD DAY ON THE SLOPES
Ideally you want to do-
- 3 to 5 sessions each week of your favourite activity. The best for skiing include running, the stepper, step aerobics and cross trainer.
- A variety of workouts at varying intensities lasting from 20 to 45 minutes.
- One long, slow workout each week for 60 or more minutes to condition your legs and lungs for long days of skiing.
Specific strengthening exercises need to include:-
– Proprioception – which is basically your body’s ‘sense of self’? Even with eyes closed, we are aware of body position, and this is one of the biggest factors in preventing injuries. e.g. stand on one leg with your eyes closed and try to balance for as long as possible.
– Strong quadriceps, hamstrings and gluts, e.g. squats, travelling lunges, side lunges, wall sit, calf raises.
– Coordination and agility e.g. ski jumps side to side
– Core stability e.g bridge
Flexibility in the muscles and tendons is also important. Low temperatures can mean muscles are stiff, slow to react and lack range of movement. Developing flexibility through regular stretching before your ski holiday will help your ski performance and can mean that a fall on day one (that might otherwise ruin your holiday) will be nothing more than a forgettable mishap with no ill effects. It’s important to warm up when you stretch, and avoid static or bouncing stretches. A gentle moving stretch is better, avoiding pain.
On the day remember to warm up by performing a few stretches in the morning and a few exercises which replicate the movements you will be putting your body through. Try gentle squats, lunges and body rotations. Start on the easier runs to get your muscles warm and ready for the more challenging runs ahead. Stretching at the end of the day will help reduce any soreness the next morning.