The ski season is here — it’s time to get into shape so you can tear up the mountains that much harder. Here are four fitness tips for getting in prime skiing condition:
Work Your Core
While skiing may seem like it takes its toll on the legs, the body's strength and stamina comes from its core. And not just the glamour muscles, like the abs, but from the back muscles and hip muscles as well. Having a solidly built core will help prevent injuries and increase stamina.
Great overall core exercises include planks (holding a push-up position), V-sits (lie on your back, arms outstretched behind your head; lift your legs and arms simultaneously to form a "V" with your body; hold, then lower and repeat) and the Superman exercise (lie on your stomach, arms outstretched in front of you; alternate lifting one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously; then lift only your arms; then both arms and legs). Be sure to include a few crunches into the mix as well.
To strengthen your back, include a few repetitions of back extensions (lie on your stomach, arms crossed beneath your chin; lift your chest and legs off the ground simultaneously; hold; lower and repeat) into your workout. Not only will it improve your overall core strength, but also it will also greatly improve posture and ease back pain.
Train Your Posterior Chain
Professional skiers, unsurprisingly, are best known for having the nicest butts around. In order to have skill on the slopes, skiers should have a strong posterior chain to power downhill and keep stable on rough terrain. This includes glutes, hamstrings and lower back muscles.
There are two great exercises that work the posterior chain — wall sits and squats. Squats build the proper muscles up while wall sits enhance endurance. Essentially, these are the bread-and-butter exercises of skiers. Most professionals can wall sit endlessly because of the strength of their posterior chain.
For those that want to mix things up from wall sits and squats, throw in some dead lifting or lunges as well to keep things interesting and work out muscles in a new way. Start of slow with regular versions of these exercises then try switching to jump squats or jump lunges as you get stronger. After being diligent to exercising his or her posterior chain, any skier no matter their skill level with notice a marked improvement.
Break Out That Bike
Most professional skiers spend extensive time on a bike during the summer months. Skiing and biking, biking and skiing — they are interchangeable and a great for cross-training. Biking is a great way to exercise all the muscles used for shredding up the slopes and there is no better or more fun way to get ready for the ski season. Many ski resorts stay open during the summer with the ski trails converted to mountain biking trails, so for those that have a favourite ski location, why not head out there in the off-season?
Exercise is essential to get the body ready for the ski season, but it is all for naught if you are feeding your body junk. Before starting an exercise regiment be sure to get on a proper diet first. This doesn't mean a diet to facilitate weight loss, but one high in protein with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Be sure to also hydrate before and after all exercise routines as well as while skiing during the winter.