How to get Fit for Skiing
It’s that time of the year again and the Ski Season is nearly upon us. Skiing is one of the most physically challenging holidays out there. With this in mind it is crucial to ensure you and your body are prepared for the challenge, avoid injury and to enjoy your dream winter break.
How to train for skiing
New research has shown that 73% of injuries are caused by a fall and 31% suffered a significant injury such as a leg break or muscle tear; according to Foreign & Commonwealth Office. With more of us taking part in this thrill-seeking sport each year, it is even more important to prepare. Many people think all you need is strength in your legs however, this is certainly not the case. We recommend you to start your training at least 6 weeks before your trip but preferably 3 months in advance to be of optimal health. You should aim to complete two to three sessions a week, with a 24-hour rest between each session. We have also recommended lots of exercises and a Ski Fitness Workout to help you prepare. If you are working with one of our trainers they can guide you through this programme, but we have included exercises you can do at home, with minimal equipment. Would you like some help preparing you for your winter break? Find your perfect Personal Trainer to ensure that you are ready for this season.
Ski Fitness: Cardio
Although your trip may be a holiday, skiing requires a lot of physical exertion. Not only the skiing itself but also you need a lot of stamina which is required through a lot of walking. This could be to and from your hotel, to the ski resort and also to the ski lifts. Your Cardiovascular fitness is extremely important as it is the system that’s required to power your whole body. Even if you do not have the time to put in place a training schedule, making simple changes to your life can help.
For example, walking more and taking the stairs instead of the lift can have a big impact. You should aim to get a little out of breath at least twice a day. If you do have time to hit the gym, try using the bike machine, cross trainer or the stepper as these will target a lot of the muscles which are also used whilst skiing. Also taking part in HIIT (Hight Intensity Interval Training) is a great way of improving the strength of your heart through short bursts of high intense activity, which can easily be done at home by yourself or with a personal trainer.
Ski Training Exercises: Bodyweight
Lower Body – Whilst skiing your lower body undergoes a lot of resistance. From bending your knee to straightening, to absorbing the bumps. It is key that you prepare your muscles for the intense workload.
The first exercise we recommend doing is squats. These can be done at home, or in the gym with extra weight. These are great for targeting the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and quadriceps all at once.
The second exercise is lunges, once again can be done at home or in the gym, with or without weights. Lunges are a great movement for developing the thighs and for strengthening the hips. They target two primary muscles; the hip extensors, and the gluteal muscles (glutes) and hamstrings
Skiing does not need a lot of flexibility; but for some people it may be beneficial to stretch particular tight muscle groups which are often the calves and hips.
Upper Body – Many people regularly neglect their upper body before skiing. However, it is important to stretch and build strength in this area too. For experienced skiers or people taking part in cross country you will be using poles. A great way for you to prepare your muscles for this physical action is power walking, you can also add wrist weights for further resistance. Two exercises we recommend to build your arm strength is firstly arm circles.
Repeat this circular motion for 30 seconds, 3-5 times if possible.
The second exercise is push-ups, this targets your biceps, triceps, and also your upper back.
Core – Core stability is extremely important whilst skiing as this not only helps you with your balance but it also supports your spin and acts as a shock absorber. Two exercises we recommend to include within your training program are listed below.
Firstly, Swiss Ball Crunches. Complete 20-30 crunches 3-5 times. Using an unstable surface really helps to target your local (stabilizing) muscles within your core.
The second exercise is the Plank, you should hold this for 30-60 seconds and complete this 3-5 times.
Skiing Exercises: Stretch Before!
Before hitting the slopes, it is extremely important to stretch especially before as well as after. This will help to prevent injury occurring and will also help to stop DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.) We recommend doing these stretches below and to hold them each for 8-10 seconds.
1) Straight-leg Calf Stretch (Each Leg),
2) Standing Quadriceps Stretch (Each Leg),
3) Across the body Shoulder Stretch (Each Arm),
4) Overhead Triceps Stretch (Each Arm),
5) Neck Stretch (Each Side),
6) Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (Each Leg).
Ski Jump Workout: At Home
If you are a little more adventurous and are an experienced skier you may want to try our Ski Jump Workout. This has been designed for those who need an intense program to help to prepare you for your highly active holiday.
Complete a warm up for 10-15 minutes prior to this circuit.
Perform 3 Sets of each exercise:
1) 12 Lunges per leg – Add jump to switch,
2) 15 Squats – Add a jump between squats,
3) 12 Ice Skaters,
4) 60 second Plank.
To add to the intensity, complete the circuit with little if any rest in between. Also add weights (dumbbells, medicine balls or a weighted vest.)
Nutrition & Hydration
Throughout your holiday it is very important to take into consideration your nutrition, and to make sure that you are fueling your body with the correct nutrients. Whilst skiing you burn a lot of calories so it is important to take this into consideration and to adjust your portion sizes accordingly. With the sun shining and reflecting off of the white snow, it is very easy to become dehydrated. You will also lose a lot of water through sweating and heat exertion. Therefore, make sure you are drinking water on a regular basis to prevent dehydration and sunstroke. Should you eat breakfast before or after a workout?
The most important thing to remember is to relax, enjoy and have fun!