It’s that time of year again, the cold crisp weather and freezing sunny mornings have got us wishing we were wrapping up warm and hitting the slopes. Along with the start of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on the horizon we thought we’d focus our attention onto snow sports!
Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding sports. The level of strength a person has will shape the degree to which he or she is able to complete the physical demands and skills required of that sport. Legs and core muscles must be able to hold certain positions for prolonged periods of time whilst absorbing significant amounts of force during each descent. So it is extremely important that you improve your muscle strength and endurance around the core, hips and knees to ensure your overall physique is in tiptop condition for these sports.
There are 3 main areas which you need to work upon gradually. We advise that you begin this programme at least six weeks prior to your arrival in the ski resort.
3 Key Areas of Fitness to Improve for Snow Sports
1) Improving Your Cardiovascular Fitness and General Health
Your heart and lungs need to be in peak condition. Improve this by adding in more aerobic exercise into your day, for example, using the stairs, walking on the spot and walking briskly. Spending 20 minutes on gym equipment (such as bike, rower, treadmill, or cross trainer) regularly will improve your fitness rapidly. In addition, short, intense, interval training where you exercise for 2 minutes on a difficult setting, rest for 1 minute and repeat will reap rewards!
2) Building Up The Muscles You Use Most Whilst Skiing
Before you hit the slopes you need your core, quadriceps, gluteal and calf muscles to be as strong as possible. Simple lunges, squats, calf raises, planks, bridges and abdominal curls can all be performed but ensure you have good technique to avoid injury. Using weight machines at the gym is a good way of adding resistance to your exercises. Pilates also specifically targets core muscles.
3) Improving Your Flexibility and Balance
Flexibility and balance are fundamental features inherent in the skiing movement. Stretches for hamstrings, gluteal, calves, lower back and quadriceps can be found on the web. Using thera-band or foam rollers to assist these stretches can help. Wobble boards, single leg squat and reach exercises, Bosu balls can all be used to help improve your balance.
Snow Sports Advice and How We Can Help Advice
The availability of snow is the top deciding factor on why people choose where to ski, but also ensure you have researched the type of slopes surrounding the resort (beginner-advanced) and what else the resort has to offer in case skiing conditions are not optimum!
Ski Club offers plenty of advice on how, when and where to book your ski trip as well as technique tips, snow and weather reports.
How can Therapeutics help?
At Therapeutics we can help by providing you with a pre ski MOT. This physical assessment includes a number of functional skiing/snowboarding tests and then tailor made strengthening/re-conditioning exercises to help reduce/prevent injury, maximise strength and optimise your week on the snow!
We are always on hand to help you rehabilitate from those unfortunate ski injuries or with a sports massage to ease away the aches, stresses and strains on return from your holidays!
Take care and have great fun on your travels. Wishing you lots of bluebird powder days on slopes!