Skiing – what is the best way to prepare for your winter holiday?
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
The time of year is approaching again and the seasonaires are in resort and this is the first weekend of the lifts being open. From my experience of working for two seasons in the French and Italian Alps you can gain more from your precious week in resort if you are prepared. This will come from exercising and ensuring you have prepared as you can’t expect to ski for 5-8 hours a day from only walking the dog daily for 20 minutes.
The main 3 areas you want to work on are:
1. Strength- mainly focusing on the lower extremities however being strong in the upper body will help also with pushing off, stabilising pole plants and reduced injury risk in falls.
2. Coordination & patterning of movements – It is essential for the body to be as efficient in the movements that are used when skiing. This will reduce the chance of injury and also help with balance, coordination and help apply the strength. This requires a lot of repetition and uses unstable surfaces to challenge the smaller stabilising muscles.
3. Abdominal and gluteal exercises- These exercises are subtle and stabilising to help control the transfer of strength and power between the upper and lower body. It is important to ensure the abdomen is balanced anterior to posterior (front and back) and the gluts, commonly under-utilised, are active and working to extend the hips instead of overworking the hamstrings.
(8-12 reps x 3-5 sets with 1-3min rest at 75-85% of 1RM)
1. Squat: Progressions = Single leg squat, squat side step, BOSU double/single leg squat.
2. Lunge – alternating legs: Progressions = Forward to backwards, add DB, 4 way lunge, lunge onto BOSU, lunge with rotation- weighted.
3. DB renegade row on knees: Progressions = On feet, narrow stance, increase DB weight, add arm rotation.
4. Straight arm cable shoulder extension: Progressions = Single leg, add weight, standing on BOSU, single leg on BOSU.
Coordination & Patterning
(15 to 60 seconds 3-5 sets with 30 -60 seconds rest)
5. Battle ropes: Progressions = Single using legs, under arm grip singles, one leg singles, BOSU singles, singles with rotation jump.
6. Ski sit: Progressions = Single leg, both legs with lat pull down, single leg alternating arm pull down on cable machine.
7. Bosu balance & jumps: Progressions = BOSU wobble side to side, jumping. BOSU step overs, single leg balance and reach.
8. Lateral jumps: Progressions = Single leg hop and hold, jump onto a BOSU and off, jump off BOSU and then rebound on to another.
Abdominal & Gluteal
(15 -20 reps x2-3 sets with 30-60 seconds rest at 65% 1RM)
9. Dead lifts: Progressions = Add weight via DB, single leg body weight, single leg with DB/ with row, on BOSU or KB swing.
10. Plank and TRX jack knife: Progressions = Forward and side plank, one arm/ leg lift. TRX diagonal jack knife.
11. Bridge to Swiss Ball hamstring roll in: Progressions = Alternating bridge with leg extension, Swiss ball bridge, Swiss ball hamstring roll in, single leg.
12. Reverse lunge with cable: Progressions = Increase the weight, add leg drive, add lateral hop.
If you pick 2 of these exercises from each category and perform 2-3 times a week you will start to feel the benefit. Make sure you start with an easy exercise variation and build up to the harder variations. If you are unsure on these exercises then look at my you tube videos for the demonstrations of each exercise and progressions. Also cycling is a great way to get cardiovascular fit and become ready for the slopes, its low impact and uses the similar primary muscles as skiing. If you have any questions regarding training for skiing or about any of the above then please feel free to contact me.
Staying safe on the slopes
Being in shape is essential in enjoying the slopes but to ensure you have a safe experience and minimise as many risks are you can, have a look at the link below on ways to stay safe on the slopes.