I know that skiing trip you have booked seems a long way off but if you want to be ski fit ready you may need a good 12 weeks to do so. So today I have put together a simple ski fit workout for you to try.
Being fit and strong for a ski trip can really mean the difference between having to cut some days short because you are knackered or spending the 2nd or 3rd day trying shake of the stiffness accumulated from the first day’s skiing.
Skiing is a physically demanding exercise with high risks for injury. Therefore, it makes sense to try and prepare the body for the upcoming challenge.
When looking at being ski fit there are two main areas you should consider. Cardiovascular fitness; having the fitness levels to pump the blood around the body when you ski (you will also need a decent level of cardiovascular fitness to get about the slopes carrying your gear etc.). The second area of fitness you will need is strength. Strength is required to keep the body in the optimal positions when skiing and muscular endurance is required to be able to hold these positions for long periods of times.
Within cardiovascular fitness there is also two areas you should be working on; aerobic fitness (working with oxygen) and anaerobic fitness (working without oxygen). Aerobic fitness is working at a level that you can maintain for long periods of time. You should feel like both your breathing rate and heart rate are increased, but you should be able to maintain a conversation. Anaerobic training is working at a higher intensity, something that you could sustain for 10-90 seconds.
If you have access to the gym these three machines are probably your best bet to get you cardiovascular fitness levels up to speed. These can be used for both aerobic and anaerobic sessions:
Aim for 20-30 minutes steady work, to improve your cardiovascular
A good starter for anaerobic intervals would be 1 minute hard, 1 minute 30 easy
- X trainer- Good combination of upper and lower body muscle groups worked
2. Cardio Wave- Replicates the lateral movement of skiing
3.Powermill Climber- Rolling stepper machine that is great for developing glutes and thigh strength
If you don’t have access to a gym getting out and doing some power walking or running is a great way to build up cardio fitness. When you get a good solid base of fitness from running or power walking, try taking to the hills for some hill repeats where you run up the hill as hard as you can for 30-60 seconds then walk back down for recovery and then repeat 5-10 times.
The emphasis of your strength program should be based around core and leg strengthening exercises. For the purpose of this blog we will start with the basic movement patterns that we would recommend you become proficient in before considering moving onto more complex or physically demanding exercises
Goblet squats are an excellent exercise for developing quads and glute strength (two pretty important exercises for skiing):
Step 1: Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell as if you were going to drink out a goblet. The top end of the dumbbell should be above the chest and the bottom part against your sternum (breast bone)
Step 2: Bend your knees and sit down; aiming to get the thighs parallel with the floor
Step 3: Drive back up to the start position
*Notes on Technique: If the bottom part of the dumbbell comes away from the sternum you are not maintaining enough of an upright posture.
Lateral Band shuffles
Another great exercise to help improve glutes and quad strength. Start with band above the knees, then progress to above the ankles as you get stronger (various levels of resistance bands are available)
Step 1: Place band on ankles or knee
Step 2: Bend the knees until you are half way into a squat
Step 3: Laterally shuffle across the room (leading with your knee)
Step 4: Return back to the same position in the room (stay facing the same way)
Technique tip: Stay down in half squat throughout the exercise
Press Up Plank
An exercise designed for developing both upper body and core strength
Step 1: Place the hands out in front of the shoulders and evenly spread your weight between the hands and the toes (this position should look like you have just set up to do press ups
Step 2: Gently draw your belly button up towards the spine and imagine across your shoulder blades and the bottom of your back are like a table top
Step 3: Hold this position until you feel your stomach or arms start to shake or if you feel your back is starting to dip or get sore
Swiss Ball Hip Raises
Again another great exercises for the glutes and also the hamstrings; (When your hamstrings perform properly, they protect your anterior cruciate ligament, a highly sensitive knee ligament that has a tendency to snap under pressure. Your quadriceps straighten your legs, stabilize your knee joint and prevent excess knee rotation, explains Robert E. Leach, coauthor of Alpine
Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet placed half way up the ball
Step 2: Raise your hips up towards the ceiling
Step 3: Gently lower the hips back to the start position#
Technique tip: do not extend your lower back, your chest will puff up if you are lifting too high
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls
Another exercise for strengthening the hamstring muscles
Step 1: Place your feet and hamstrings on the ball
Step 2: Raise your hips ups
Step 3: Draw the ball in towards your bum by bending your knees
Step 4: Return to start position
Technique Tip: Hips stay up level with the ball throughout the movement
Cable Core Rotations
For developing the oblique muscles in the core
Step 1 Set Cable or Resistance band up above hip height
Step 2: Reach across and hold the handles with both hands
Step 3: With arm straight rotate away from the machine
Step 4: Return to starting position
Technique Tip: Rotate away from the machine fast and return slow
Bulgarian Split Squats
Ankle, knee and hip stability are vital for keeping you safe on the slopes and this exercise is a very functional exercise for strengthening all three
Step 1: Place one foot on a bench
Step 2: Hop forward with your other foot until it is 1-3 feet away from the bench
Step 3: Lower the elevated knee towards the ground (bend both knees)
Technique Tip: Keep the full of the front foot grounded into the floor
This workout would take less than 60 minutes, and f you can consistently perform these exercises, your body will be in a much better position to cope with the demands of skiing.
If you are a beginner, being stronger; more mobile and more stable will help you adopt the right positions.All of which will make you more efficient, helping you preserve energy which will help you learn quicker. And if you have great technique, adding in some improved fitness will really help you kick onto the next level with your skiing.
Good luck and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.