Are you excited for the arrival of the ski season? I can't wait for it, but before hitting the slopes let's talk about strength and conditioning. If you worked out well during the year, you will most likely have no problem tackling even the most difficult slopes, but if you hesitated a bit with your training, or have not done any physical activity at all, perhaps the time has come to think about it.
With fresh snow on the horizon and breathtaking mountain scenery awaiting, it's time to prepare for an epic winter adventure! Don't worry, you still have time to get back on track!
How to get ready for the ski season
In this article I will delve into the importance of physical preparation to improve skiing performance and protect yourself from injuries. Whether you're an experienced pro or a novice skier, with these tips you will be ready to conquer the slopes safely.
Core strength: the "core" of ski training
A strong core is the cornerstone of skiing and snowboarding skills. When we talk about "Core" we are not just referring to the abdominal muscles, but to all those muscles that cover the abdominal, lumbar and pelvis areas, that interact with each other during movement to provide support and mobility to the spine.
The core stabilises the body during turns, helps maintain balance and gives fluidity to movements. By incorporating exercises such as dynamic planks, cable woodchops (or landmine rotations), Swiss Ball exercises and unilateral exercises, you will be able to train all the core muscles by working on different planes of movement.
Leg training several times a week
Your legs are your best friend on the slopes. By incorporating exercises such as squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, lunges and leg press in your workout routine you will use both the quadriceps muscles (the front of the thigh), the hamstrings (the back of the thigh), and the glutes. It is very important to train both front and back parts of the legs to prevent muscle imbalances.
Flexibility and mobility: the keys to maneuverability
Skiing requires a wide range of motion. Stretching and mobility exercises can greatly improve your flexibility, allowing you to tackle even the most unstable ground and off-piste slopes with ease. Maybe the time has come to consider that yoga class you wanted to sign up for, but have always put off for one reason or another.
Balance and coordination for precision skiing
One word: "balance".
Skiing requires stability and control. Training your balance is essential for an amazing ski season. It's not just a matter of strength in the quadriceps or of ability to turn, it's about maintaining an upright position even when the ground becomes unstable!
To improve balance and coordination you can use exercises such as the single leg squat and exercises with the Swiss Ball and the Balance Board (proprioceptive board). These exercises will help you maintain control and react quickly to changes in the ground.
Cardiovascular endurance to cope with long days on the slopes
Skiing is a very fun, but also tiring, activity. To face an entire day on the snow, physical strength is not enough, you will also need breathing skills (cardiovascular endurance) to keep going. Incorporate cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts to improve your endurance and cope with long days on the mountains.
Warm-up and cool-down for extra safety
Warming up and cooling down can help prevent injuries. Before hitting the slopes, practice dynamic stretching exercises and light aerobic activity. After the last descent, however, treat yourself to some static stretching and slow movements to aid recovery.
10 minutes are enough, it's not that much and can avoid you unpleasant surprises.
Listen to your body: rest and recover
Never underestimate the importance of rest and recovery. Give your body the time it needs to recover from a busy day on the slopes. This also applies to gym training: when you rest, your muscles recover by becoming stronger to adapt to the stimulus received during the physical activity.
Remember: sleep is also part of the training!
The key to a successful ski season is a balanced approach to fitness, safety and fun.
By giving priority to your fitness, you will have unforgettable experiences on the slopes. It is important to follow a structured training plan adapted to your needs, especially if you have had injuries in the past or suffer from some health condition.
Next season is almost here, start training now! And if you don't know how to organize your workouts, or you have doubts about the program you're following, contact me and we'll adjust the plan together.