The snow is starting to fly! Some ski areas in Colorado are already open. Are you ready for ski season? Whether you are a super jock, a couch potato, or somewhere in between, there are some things that you should be doing to prepare for ski season. The older we get the harder it is to recover from a random injury caused by being ill-prepared. If you spent the summer running, biking, hiking or climbing you might be in great shape, but you may be missing one of the keys to ski fitness – balance, core strength and muscular endurance.
Stability is highly important for skiing, because you are constantly shifting your weight from one ski to the other. If you are able to balance on one ski, your performance will be even better. Try side hops and single leg hops to improve your balance. If you can do these drills without shoes, so much the better. Try balance work on a BOSU ball or wobble board to make the drill more challenging.
Core conditioning is foundational to almost all physical activities, helping you keep your body centered. Your core muscles include your abs, back and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the movement of your torso in all directions. Great core exercises include the plank, side plank, and the V-sit, known in yoga circles as boat pose.
Leg strength is important for the trip down the mountain. There are some isolation exercises you can do to enhance your leg strength in the context of skiing specifically. Incidentally, if you are an athlete, you might have some muscle weaknesses that come about from participation in other sports. For optimal performance, strengthen the individual muscles that are weak to improve your performance on the slopes, when all the muscles are working together. Your trainer, coach or other qualified fitness professional can advise you about a training plan. Some great sport specific exercises to prepare you for the ski season include a wall sit and a side stepping squat.
So now you are ready to hit the slopes. It’s important during ski season to cross train when you aren’t on the slopes. Consider yoga or Pilates or an activity that works your muscles differently like swimming or biking.
Finally, use a credible fitness source for more information about these exercises. There are plenty of ski magazines, fitness publications, and websites run by professional fitness and sport organizations that give solid advice on how to prepare for ski season.
Here’s hoping your ski season is epic…and injury free.