We all want to get the most out of our time on the mountain, whether it’s your first day on snow or you’re doing the Haute Route, and being physically fit is a big part of this. In this article we’ll look at some of the basics for preparing your body for snowsports and in particular skiing.
How hard can it be…
Tailor Your Training To You
As with any fitness program, we need to make our training match our needs but also our ability. If you don’t do a lot of exercise then just making time for a regular 10 minute run will improve your time on the hill. Similarly, if you regularly fitness train then a more focused regime, perhaps involving plyometrics and sprints (see below), will improve your ski fitness. Be honest with yourself about what you need to do.
Think Long Term
Again, as in any training regime it is continous work over a long period of time that yields results. Sadly there are no magic exercises or workouts that you can do for a week to get ready for skiing. However, by making fitness training part your daily life you’ll be ready for Mont Fort.
This is the part everyone is really wanting to read. While there are no magic bullets, we can make our training time more efficient and targeted by working the right body parts in the right way
Legs: It goes without saying that your legs are doing most of the work in skiing. So we need to target our leg muscles in our workouts. This includes the quadraceps and glutes with exercises such as squats and lunges, as well as the hamstrings, which can be worked on a leg curl machine or with medicine ball curls http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise/leg-exercises-tb2.htm Power (explosively moving weight) and power endurance are key elements in skiing. Rather than doing a long jog, try lots short sprints (5 to 10 sprints of 30 seconds to 1 minute); this way you’ll focus on building up the right sort of endurance. Plyometrics, which involves performing explosive, jumping movements, is the current choice of champions for power training in the off season. Be warned that this is only recommended for regular gym goers. A great article on on plyometrics can be found here http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/plyometricexercises.html As well as exercises there is information on how to build a safe training program.
Core: Your core (the muscles around spine including the lower back and abs) is also a key area. It’s from here that our balance arises. Common exercises are the plank, which are great because the effort can be steadily increased by holding the position for longer or taking a limb out of the equation. For more information on core training see: http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/core-strength-training.html
Lastly, if you need some motivation for training, see World Champion Didier Cuche in this video (plus the music is great)