Preparing your body for skiing and snowboarding
Looking forward to your ski holiday break but know that your body might be thinking otherwise?
Getting away to Morzine for some time on the slopes can be both liberating and daunting as skiing and snowboarding require a mix of cardio endurance and strength.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or winter sports professional, it is essential to prepare your body for your holiday. Ensuring you have a good muscle tone will improve your stability, balance and agility, as well as reducing the risk of injury.
The majority of holiday-makers come to resort and want to make the most of that expensive lift ticket by skiing all day long, even if it’s been years since the last time they made it up the mountain. However, skiing flat out without correctly preparing your body can lead to jello legs by lunchtime and prime time for injuries. So ensure you’re putting in your best performance on the slopes by giving yourself a little helping hand in the weeks running up to your holiday using our helpful hints and tips..
Regular cardio will keep your overall fitness and stamina high for long, demanding days. Prepare your heart and body with 3 – 5 cardio sessions a week of varying intensities from 20 minutes – 1 hour long. The best cardio workouts for skiing include running, the stair-climber and cross-trainer as they work your whole body and get your heart rate up, as well as conditioning your lungs.
Maintaining strong muscle tone will do wonders for your balance when riding a variety of terrain. Whilst skiing and snowboarding uses all of your muscle groups in different ways, there are some muscles that you will use more than others, so its best to concentrate on these when strength training.
Leg and core strength are essential components for a solid base and will help minimise the risk of injury. As you typically hold your body in a flexed position with your leg muscles tensed during skiing and snowboarding, your quads, hamstrings and inner/outer thighs all work hard to stabilise your body and provide protection for your knees.
Great exercises for quads are squats and lunges, whilst your hamstrings will benefit from deadlifts, one legged deadlifts and step-ups. Inner/outer thighs are especially important for skiers when trying to keep those two planks together, so use exercises such as side lunges, side-step squats and leg lifts to work those muscles.
Core strength relates to the abdominal, back and surrounding pelvic muscles, and is imperative for anyone participating in winter sports. Classic strength exercises like the squat, deadlift, bench press and overhead press are perfect for maintaining a solid core.
Do 1 – 3 sets of 10 – 16 reps of each exercise depending on your fitness level, or start small and build up over a few weeks.
Both strength and flexibility are key factors for maintaining a good technique, so try to incorporate exercises into your training that will facilitate both. Practices such as Yoga and Pilates are also great additions to your training routine, as they will help improve your balance and muscle tone.
If you’re looking for additional classes whilst you’re out in resort, our friends over at Mountain Rehab have a great selection of fitness, strength and restorative sessions available. Contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. If you haven’t planned your winter trip yet, get in touch on email@example.com as we have some last minute availablility for our chalets and hotels.