Have you been preparing physically for the upcoming ski season?
Many of us might know the feeling. A ski trip is only a couple of weeks away and we haven’t left the couch once to go exercise. Is it too late now? Of course not. Any and all the exercise you do will help you on the mountain. A little bit of exercise will not only make your cardio better but it will reduce the risk of injury.
Strength or cardio?
Both as a skier and a snowboarder it is important to have the strength in the body to resist the outer powers of the mountains that you will run into and the endurance to keep on going down the mountain. A strong core and strong knees are just some of the things that are nice to have before going on the mountain. Besides these two aspects balance is an important and sometimes forgotten part of skiing and snowboarding. A strong body will give you a stronger mind at the end of the day where everything is just a bit tougher.
There are many different exercises you can do but we’ve listed a few to get you on track!
The cardio part can be done in every way that you find fun and that makes your heart beat faster. Running is a way to strengthen your tendons and joints in both ankles and knees because of the impact you get with every step you take. Doing some trail running or running with uneven terrain will not only challenge your feets and legs but also your whole system which will need to adapt to the differences in the natural ground.
An effective way to activate and train your thighs – the muscles that are most important on the mountain.
- Stand with your feet flat on the floor and about shoulder width apart
- Try to keep the weight on the middle of the foot
- Your knees should point in the same direction as your toes all the time
- Bend your knees till your thighs are parallel or under parallel to the floor. If you can’t come all the way down to parallel just go as far as your body allows you to.
- Stand up again and make sure you straighten out your hips again
- Focus on going down slowly and controlled (fx count slowly to 3 on the way down) and then going up a bit more explosive.
- Repeat 10-12 times and do 3 sets with about 1 min pause in between.
- Next level – do a jump squat where you jump on the way up from the squat, land controlled and squat down again
Lunges are not only a way to train for strength in your legs but also a way to train for balance.
- Starting position – stand with your feet with about a foot apart
- Take a step forward with one leg and bend down. You don’t have to pretend to be a linedancer – It’s okay to have about a foot width between your feet.
- The front leg will now form an angle that’s about 90 degrees (between your thigh and your calf). The back leg should almost touch the ground.
- Stand up again, feet together and change legs.
- Focus on keeping the upper body straight and tighten up your core muscles
- This exercise will not only strengthen your body but also help you work on the balance.
- Repeat 20 times and do 3 sets with about 1 min pause in between.
- Next level – do it as jumping lunges – jump from one lunge to the other.
Lateral ski jumps
Another way to train both legs and balance, explosiveness and get your pulse going faster is the lateral ski jumps.
- Find your balance on one foot, bend your knee a little bit and push your hip a bit backwards. Your knee should always point the same way as your toes.
- Jump a bit up in the air to the other side and land as light as possible on the other foot. Find the balance again while bending your knee slowly and once you’ve found the balance, jump to the other side again and land on the other foot.
- Repeat 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg.
A strong core is also very important when you ride the mountains. Your core helps you to stay upright.
- Find a mat and put it on the floor.
- Place your forearms on the mat on the floor with your elbows just under your shoulders and your forearms parallel to your body. Your arms should be about shoulder width apart.
- Ground your toes on the floor, squeeze your glutes to stabilize your whole body. Tighten up as much as you can in both your legs, your glutes and whole core section. Make sure not to lock or hyper-extend your knees but make sure there is tension around the knee area as well.
- Put your neck in a neutral position by looking down into the floor so your whole body is long and straight as a plank. Make sure that you don’t lose your hip by letting it fall down to the floor.
- Hold the position 20 seconds, relax about 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- As you get more used to the position you might be able to hold it longer or add some weights. Just remember to breathe while doing it.
- Another way to activate your core muscles is the side plank. This plank will get your obliques, side core muscles, activated more than the normal plank.
- Lie down on your side with the lower foot in the mat and the other foot stacked on top. Put your elbow in the mat just under the shoulder again and lift your body up so it’s only the elbow and foot that’s touching the ground. Make sure to tighten up as much as possible in the legs, glutes and your core. Keep your head in a neutral position by looking straight ahead.
- Do 20 seconds on each side 3 times
Both planks can be made more difficult by going up on straight arms, or simply holding them longer!
The side plank can also be made more difficult by raising the opposing arm or leg – or if you dare, both of them in the air.
- If you’re still up for more, you can finish up your workout with toe touches.
- Lie on your back on the mat. Straighten your legs up in the air and point your toes towards the ceiling.
- Straighten your arms, tighten up your core and try to reach your toes by lifting the upper part of your body from the mat while keeping your legs at the same place.
- Do the toe touches for 20 seconds, 10 seconds break for 6 times.