Proper physical preparation is key to your skiing holiday
Are you planning a ski holiday this season? It's time to action a strength and conditioning programme that gets your body both physically and mentally prepared. Your time on the slopes will come round sooner than you think, be ski and snowboard-ready!
What should I include in a strength and conditioning programme?
1. Aerobic or CV fitness. If you start now (November) you've time to build up towards completing 2-3 sessions/week of 30 minutes. Good examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, jogging, static bike, spin classes or the cross-trainer at the gym.
TIP: Do you enjoy running but aren't currently running? Why not use the couch to 5k programme and follow this to improve your cardio up towards 3 x 30 minutes sessions/week.
2. Strength training. The major muscles used in skiing and snowboarding include those around your core and abdominals, hips, thighs and calves.
A. Squats. The quads are an important muscle group that is heavily active when skiing and snowboarding, to extend the knee and flex the hip. The muscles at the front of your thighs work hard to keep your skis together and your body stable as you parallel turn.
Here's three ways to work your quads: standard squat, split squats and wall squats.
B. Glutes and Core. The glutes and our core muscles help to stabilise your pelvis, keeping you balanced during your turns and able to stay in control. The glutes also power you forward.
Focus on strengthening the glutes and core muscles through bridges, planks and side clams.
TIP: How many reps and sets to get stronger? If you're starting from a 'I've not done this for a while' try to repeat 2 sets to fatigue (fatigue means when you lose your form to complete the exercise) and if you've a good level of physical fitness go for 3-4 sets of 10 (with added weight if you're able) and just enough rest between sets to recover.
3. Balance and Proprioception. A great way to condition the stabilising muscles that support the bigger more powerful muscles is this compass points single leg squat work, good fun to ensure you keep yourself stable on those slippery slopes!
TIP: You can also use fitness sliders for this exercise if you have some or fluffy socks on a hard floor (just be careful not to slip over!).
How can a physio help?
If you're not sure these exercises are for you or you're unsure how to do them properly, why not a see a physio? We can advise on technique and correct any issues you're having. Small tweaks often make a big difference. Perhaps you've had past knee surgery or back, hip or knee injuries and you're wondering if there is something more specific you could do. You can book in to see one of our experienced physios who can screen your current fitness and tailor a programme just for you.
If you use a PT we're happy to chat to them and advise or recommend PTs we work with that can continue to support you through a ski-ready S&C programme.