If you are reading this then we suspect you are looking forward to hitting the slopes this season. We have seen some amazing snowfall across many resorts already which is great news. But before you pack up your gear and head out for your ski holiday, it's worth thinking about what you can do to prepare yourself from a physical fitness perspective.
We spoke to Jon at Altitude Ski and Snowboard School and quizzed him on getting fit for skiing. According to Jon, spending some time on a ski workout with the right ski exercises can pay dividends, so read on.
Why would you want to spend time on a ski workout?
Being physically fit can make all the difference between comfortably cruising the slopes or spending the week nursing aches and pains (or worse). By training on a regular basis you will help reduce the chance of injury and be in a position to really make the most of your holiday.
Will training improve my performance?
Without a doubt, physical preparation will have a positive effect on your performance. Being more cardio fit will allow you to ski for longer (always a good thing when time is short on a holiday) and having strong legs will mean you are less likely to start making silly mistakes which are at best embarrassing or at worse result in a trip to A&E.
How long before my trip should I start training?
Well ideally months before! The longer you can spend getting fit the better. That said, even if you only have a week until your holiday you can still start to limber the body up with some jogging and other exercises which will make all the difference. It’s not about going crazy but recognising that the body won’t take kindly going from no exercise to 6 hours a day on the slopes.
What kind of training should I do?
In the same way there is no point in a sprinter running for hours non-stop, nor a marathon runner training to bulk up their upper body, we need to make sure we focus on the right sort of things for skiing. A ski workout which focuses on anaerobic fitness, strength, power and power endurance is what we’re aiming for.
Which areas of the body should we focus on?
Clearly your legs take the brunt of the workload when you are out on the slopes (as anyone who has spent a full day on the slopes can tell you). You will want to build up strength, power and endurance in your legs and the best way of doing this is with some simple exercises like squats and lunges. As you progress, begin to focus on more specific muscle groups:
- Quadriceps: These are one of the most used muscle groups when skiing. The squats and lunges already mentioned will do a great job of strengthening these.
- Inner and Outer Thighs: Your outer thighs help you stay stable and steer whilst your inner thigh muscles work to keep your skis together. Side lunges will work these muscle groups.
- Calves: If you stand up and then take a crouched position as if on skis you’ll quickly appreciate the work your calves do to help you stay upright. Spend some time on seated or standing calve raises to strengthen these.
Abs and Back
Balance and stability are important skills for skiing. These originate from our core - the muscles around or abdomen and spine. A great way to focus on our core is through the plank. Hold your body still and straight in an altered push up position with the elbows and lower arms on the ground. Beginners can start by holding the position for 10 seconds and start extending the time. Working on core strength will also help protect your spine and reduce or eliminate back pain after a day spent flexed over your skis.
Finally, working on your arm strength is a good way to finish off a ski workout. You will be spending time pushing off with poles and using your arms to stabilise yourself so it’s important not to neglect these. Bicep curls, push ups and pull ups, or even time on a rowing machine will help improve fitness in this area.
Do you have any other advice before we get started?
With any exercise regime, it is important to seek professional advice, especially if you have a history of back or knee injuries. If in doubt consult a doctor or arrange a training session with a personal trainer.
Haven’t booked your ski holiday yet? Then call us on +44 1993 899 420 or for more information on Altitude Ski and Snowboard School visit their website here.