Make the most of your ski trip by getting fit before you hit the slopes!
It’s a pretty obvious statement, but the fitter you are the more you’ll enjoy your skiing or boarding, the longer you’ll be able to stay on the slopes, and the less likely you are to suffer an injury.
But even if you’re as fit as Sir Bradley Wiggins (as if!) you still need to focus on a ski- or board-specific fitness plan, and start on it a good six weeks before you hit the slopes.
You can improve your basic aerobic fitness with exercises such as running, mountain biking, cycling or swimming, or gym sessions. If you’re using a gym then you can focus easily on ski-specific muscles, although an activity like mountain biking is good for not only working leg and core muscles but also for developing good balance and reaction times, both of which are essential for good skiing.
The key areas to strengthen and build for skiing are your calves and quadriceps (thighs) as these are the muscles that really get a hammering during your annual ski trip.
These can be trained with exercises such as lunges, split squats, step ups and deep squats -and even better, you can also do all these exercises at home so a gym isn’t strictly necessary.
Snowboarders should also consider some upper body exercises as they use their upper body and core muscles more than skiers (when strapping in and getting up, for example).
It’s also a great idea to have a stretching routine to reduce stiffness both after your training exercises and after skiing, as well as to help prevent muscle tears and strains. The muscles to focus on are your quads, hamstrings, calves, lower back, abductors and IT band, but remember when stretching that you shouldn’t feel pain in the muscles you’re stretching and there’s no need to hold the stretch for more than 20-30 seconds.
Having done your training routine assiduously you’ll arrive in resort raring to go, but wait! Before you hit the pistes do a bit of warming up each morning (ideally just before your first run) to loosen those now super-strong muscles.
And don’t forget to warm down after skiing, which is probably the best part of the entire training programme since where better to do it than in the hot tub? With a cold beer…:)