A Quick Guide to Ski Fitness
The New Year is finally in full swing, with January successfully negotiated. And inspired by recent snowfall, I don’t know about you but I could do with a break; a ski break!
Yes that’s right, it’s that glorious time of the year when snow is a welcome sight that doesn’t mess up plans, work or school, because you’re looking out at it from maybe a log cabin room and preparing to hit the slopes.
This month’s fitness focus is… skiing or snowboarding.
Like all sports, skiing can be a rigorous activity that tests previously unused or rarely used muscles for an extended period of time. Even seasoned athletes can be tested throughout long days touring or just playing across routes. With this in mind, we need to get training post haste!
I’m going to break each training session down into four parts;
1) Warm up. As with all training we do, we must warm up first. A more snow-centric warm-up should involve plenty of mobility work. This should include bending, twisting and rotating in all directions. The most important point to remember here is when bending; bend from the hips rather than lower back (lumbar) to avoid injury.
2) Cardiovascular element. Again we want this to cover all the bases needed for skiing…So brace yourselves for interval training. You could try hill runs which are especially good for skiing and feature in this earlier blog. Simply put, interval training hits both aerobic (with oxygen for sustained efforts) and anaerobic (without oxygen for short bursts of energy) systems together, resulting in a more effective all-round fitness workout. In skiing, (and most sports) you need a solid overall fitness level to keep going (aerobic), combined with the ability to adjust and achieve sudden bursts (anaerobic), such as changes in direction.
3) Focusing on multi-movements (and please feel free to rummage back through previous articles on compound moves), we need to work on balance, core stability and full body strength. As skiing can make every muscle in the body tremble, so too our workout must reflect this by demanding numerous muscle groups work in harmony with each other. I recommend focusing on squats, lunges, clean and presses, and dead lifts to hit every muscle. The great advantage here is that full body moves will automatically engage your core so you can get out of doing extra crunches (bonus!). Although my clients will know from experience, a good solid plank is never avoided.
4) The cool-down can be anything to lower your heart rate back to a normal rate, such as slow jogging or walking. This is essential because during exercise lactic acid builds up within the muscle fibres. Gradually restoring the body and heart rate to normal helps flush out the toxins and waste products that build up and will help reduce stiffness over the next day or two. As with all training sessions we should stretch off all muscles afterwards to help improve flexibility.
So there you have it, run like a hare, train like a bull and ski like a polar bear!