Getting Fit for Skiing
22nd November 2020
Last modified on May 13th, 2021
Waste of time? Certainly not. If you want to be fit, strong and raring to go when the mountains open up again, now is the time to put the work in. So say our friends at Maison Sport.
Lockdowns can make us lazy.
If we can’t go to the gym or head out to our favourite exercise classes it’s all too easy to lose the motivation to get and stay fit.
Maison Sport, which allows you to book your independent ski and snowboard instructor online, says now is the time to get off the sofa and start your pre-ski fitness regime.
Even if you don’t make it to the slopes until the spring, it’ll be worth the effort.
And what better opportunity than when you may have a bit of extra time on your hands?
“You’ll be amazed what difference a little extra fitness preparation will have on your skiing,” Maison Sport says.
“Whilst your friend’s legs are screaming for rest, you’ll be raring to go down the next black run.”
Want some help?
The team has come up with a set of exercises that can be done at home so if you’re in full lockdown or have been forced to self-isolate, there’s no excuse.
Get off that sofa and get moving, but don’t forget to warm up gently first.
Squats and squat jumps
The muscles responsible for holding you in place while you ski and protecting your knees are your quadriceps (thighs).
These muscles work incredibly hard while you ski, so we have a few exercises to help you strengthen them.
To prevent knee injury, exercising your quadriceps in pre-season fitness is crucial.
- Stand upright with feet shoulder width apart
- Simultaneously push your hips back, while bending your knees down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your hips back and chest proud
- Now reverse the motion until you are standing back upright
To switch it up a bit, and to build that explosive quality in your muscles which is integral for sharp turns when skiing, try squat jumps; when you reach the bottom of your squat, jump upwards to release your position, making sure to land safely.
The plank is a fairly simple exercise, yet it can be testing for even the most seasoned gym goers.
Building your core muscles, planks will help to both protect your spine from injury, and also provide stability when turning or in difficult skiing conditions.
- Lie face down and bring your arms underneath your chest, with forearms and elbows on the floor.
- Push your pelvis upwards, resting on your elbows and toes.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds, keeping your body in a straight line.
- Repeat, building up the length of time the position is held for over your training programme.
As well as squats, lunges also work multiple muscles at once, and are great for improving your quadriceps and your balance (which will hopefully mean no spectacular wipeouts)!
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and take one step forward
- Lower your hips down to the point where each knee forms a right angle, without the one behind you touching the floor
- Keep your chin up, back straight, chest proud, and glutes (bottom) tensed
For an extra challenge, hold some dumbbell weights by your side to make those lunges that little bit harder.
Criss Cross (core)
This abs crunching and twisting exercise hits your muscles alongside some explosive cardio, training up your core whilst aiding general fitness and stamina.
- Lie down on your back with knees bent
- With your hands behind your head, lift your head and shoulders off the floor
- Bring both feet off the floor, with one leg out straight and one at a 90-degree angle
- Twist forwards, bringing your right elbow to your left knee, then swapping the position to the other side
For an extra challenge, increase the speed you are twisting and complete more repeats in between sets.
Crab toe touches
Crab toe touches is a great cardio exercise that helps you improve agility and develop core strength, both very important when skiing.
- Lean back into a crab pose, with your feet and hands hip-distance apart
- Keeping your core strong lift your right leg up and left hand up
- Touch your right toe with your left hand
- Place both your foot and hand back to the floor
- Repeat the exercise on the other side, with your left leg and right hand
Fitness Tips – Warm Up & Don’t Overdo It
Always make sure you warm up and cool down after any exercise.
Two great exercises to help you warm up…
Lie on your back with your legs bent and your arms flat alongside your body then window wiper your legs from one side to another, letting your knees fall all the way to the left, before moving back to the right.
This exercise should be repeated for one minute before moving onto the next one.
Similar to the first exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent.
Then raise your arms up vertically in front of you and interlock your hands.
Move your interlocked hands all the way to the floor to the right, then to the left.
Make sure you keep your arms straight and your legs still.
Don’t Go Too Hard Too Soon
Start easy with only 2 lots of 5 reps for the exercises mentioned above.
Once you feel comfortable with these exercises you can start to increase the volume to 3 lots of 10 reps.
For the plank, build up the duration of the exercise slowly, starting with 30 seconds then increasing by 30-second increments (30s, 60s, 90s, 120s etc).
Well, what are you waiting for?
Feel the burn……