With the first snow fall in the mountains already upon us, for most our minds begin to drift towards thoughts of skiing. And after we complete our first run of the season, we realize our bodies are not ready for it yet. This year, get a jump on your ski training now and be better prepared for the slopes.
If you break down the training requirements for a skier, you should have 5 different categories-resistance, balance, agility, core, and aerobic conditioning. Lets take a look at some exercises for each group.
Resistance Training. This applies to weight training or exercises with resistance bands.
Squats. This is a great exercise to build leg strength. When performing squats, make sure you keep your hips pushed back, back flat, brace your abs, and when you reach parallel at the bottom of the movement, squeeze your glutes and exhale as you stand up.
Deadlift. This is a great exercise for building strength especially in your glutes, legs and back. Your form has to be perfect on this exercise to prevent injury. Begin with a lighter weight and focus on form in the beginning while you are perfecting your technique.
Side Lunges. When done correctly, this exercise is great for developing power for the pushing off motion with your ski’s. Once again, watch your technique, maintain good posture throughout the exercise and try to get your hip of the outside leg over your foot. Many people have a tough time with this, but when done correctly it is a very effective exercise.
Single or two foot box jumps. These plyometric jumps are great at helping to develop quick reaction time and power. Start with both feet for these jumps and as you get stronger, challenge yourself with single foot jumps. ” Most skiers have enough maximal strength but do not have the ability for fast force production.” – Heikki Rusko
Although balance training for sport specific movement is difficult to recreate in a gym environment, there are some exercises you can do to help improve your overall balance. It could be anything from standing on one foot with your eyes closed to doing squats on a bosu ball or balance board. There are a variety of exercises that can be performed on either piece of equipment and should be included in a well-balanced workout.
By following some of the suggested exercises listed above, your legs will be strong enough to get you down the hill, now you need to focus on your torso to keep you stable. For help in strengthening your core musculature I suggest doing some medicine ball side tosses, medicine ball slams (on the floor), front plank , side plank, or Pallof presses.
This is one area that seems to get overlooked when ski training. Most assume that because you are travelling down hill, you don’t need to worry about your cardio. That can’t be further from the truth. Aerobic conditioning is a valuable aspect of any training program, and if you have ever skied with me you will know how quickly you can get out of breath. I do not like to spend too much time on any piece of cardio equipment at the gym, so I usually incorporate intervals into my programs. This type of intense cardio is excellent at elevating your heart rate, burning calories, and enhancing your overall aerobic capacity and conditioning. Begin on the spin bike at the lowest level possible, pedalling easily for 1 minute. After the first minute, raise the level to the highest possible for you to pedal but with difficulty and pedal as hard as you can for 20 seconds. After 20 seconds lower the level to the lowest again for 40 seconds and pedal as easy as you can. Perform the 20 second/40 second combination for 5 reps, follow that with a 5 minute break of either light pedalling or water and a rest and repeat that cycle on more time. That is all you need. If you are someone who enjoys running you can do the same cycle with running just interchange a light run with sprinting. This type of High Intensity Interval Training should not be performed unless you get approval by your physician.
Include these exercises in your ski training and watch yourself improve with each run.