Ski season is coming!
The leaves have fallen, the temperature has dropped and we’re ready to crack out the woolly jumpers. However most of us have caught on by now that all this cold weather isn’t worth it unless it ends with that yearly desired ‘White Christmas’, which probably hasn’t happened since Bing Crosby sang about it. This explains the yearly rise in ski holidays being purchased by those living in the UK with all of us running away to the white slopes somewhere further afield, with our hopes set on getting bluebird days.
The preparation for a ski season adventure doesn’t stop at saving up your pennies. It’s super important that you are physically prepared to tackle those tree lined runs, mogul fields or for when you finally attempt a black run.
Feel fitter on the slopes for a great ski experience and prevent any nasty injuries that might occur from fatigue.
Top 5 Ski Fit Exercises
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls
The Swiss Ball hamstring curl is predominantly an exercise for the hamstrings; however it is a great exercise for challenging your core stability too. Improving your core stability will help the body recover quickly when knocked off balance, whether by a lumpy bit of snow or an icy patch.
1. Lie in front of the ball and position the ball so that when your legs are extended and your ankles are on top of the ball. This will be your starting position.
2. Keep your abdominal muscles tight as you pull the ball towards your bottom.
Do 8 to 10 repetitions for 3 sets with a 30 seconds rest between sets. When this gets too easy, double the resistance by lifting one leg off the ball and pull the ball in with one leg at a time
Russian Twists are a great exercise for developing endurance and dynamic core strength with a stronger focus on your obliques. They also help you improve your rotational separation control which is paramount whilst skiing.
You will need a weight for this exercise which can be as simple as a partially filled 5 litre water bottle, or a suitable size dumbbell, kettle bell or medicine ball.
Start with a 30 second set of rotations and build on this with increases in the weight, increasing the speed of the rotations and the duration of the set.
Front Foot Elevated Lunges
The front foot elevated lunge is so important for skiing and snowboarding as it improves knee stability through the direct recruitment of the vastus medialis, one of the four quadriceps muscles which is the large muscle group on the front of your upper thigh. Skiing and snowboarding places heavy demands on the structure of your knee and the less your knee deviates from its neutral position, the less likely you are to get injured.
1. Make sure your knees are aligned over your toes when performing the lunge.
2. Make sure your front heel stays in contact with the floor at all times.
Aim to perform 2-3 sets of 12 reps on each leg. You can do the exercise with weights as demonstrated in the images or as a bodyweight exercise.
The RDL is a fantastic exercise for developing strength in our posterior chain which consists of the hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles. These muscles are crucial to skiing as good skiing posture includes a flexed position leaning forward from the hip joint. Increased hamstring strength is really important in preventing ACL injury due to the muscles ability to help stabilise the knee joint.
1) Keep both legs as straight as possible without locking out the knee joint.
2) Hold your stomach muscles tight to maintain good posture throughout while not letting the back curve.
3) Move the hips back as you flex through the hips.
Perform 2-3 sets of 12 reps for the Romanian Deadlift or 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg for a single leg Romanian Deadlift. Each exercise can be performed with weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, a barbell or with your body weight.
Aerobic fitness is just as important as muscular strength whilst out on the slopes. An improved aerobic capacity will help prevent you ski for longer and will help avoid burning out on your ski days. Any form of cardio will be beneficial to you when skiing; however we suggest selecting a form of cardio that will also improve muscular endurance through some added resistance. Equipment such as the Stair Master, Versa-Climber or even one of our brilliant spin classes.
If you have any questions regarding any of these exercises, grab one of the gym staff this ski season, they will be happy to help!