Get Fit to Ski
If you’re only hitting the slopes for the first time, you should take a peek at the 4 ways to prepare for an injury-free ski season we’ve written about a while back. It may also be useful to go through our list of 6 things you need to do before hitting the slopes.
Our very own physiotherapist Ben Bond is a skiing enthusiast, who has been a traveling physiotherapist with the Australian X-country Ski Team, so we’ve been lucky to have someone with rich experience in this field.
Build Up Your Endurance
It’s fairly common knowledge that Australian ski passes are some of the most expensive in the world. So, if you want to get your money’s worth for those expensive lift passes you’ll need to increase your ski fitness levels. The best way to get fit to ski is by increasing your cardio endurance. This is particularly important if you haven’t gone skiing in months or even years.
By midday, your body will be fatigued and you’ll no doubt keep pushing yourself to get in that next run. This is unsurprisingly the prime-time injuries and accidents happen. Taking regular breaks between runs can help but preparing your body to take on punishment all day long will help even more.
Increasing your ski endurance through cardio is very simple and versatile. Doing any exercise such as running, elliptical trainers, climbing stairs, swimming or any activity that increases your heart rate will help. Repeating this exercise 3 to 5 days each week will make you fit enough to push out an entire day on the slopes with ease.
Strengthen your leg and core muscles
Standing up all day long can tire your legs out. Walking for much of the day can really put on pressure on your muscles. Skiing non-stop over uneven ground with heavy boots and skis dragging your legs down, even more, can be downright exhausting. Your legs will take the most punishment and be doing exercises such as squats and lunges to strengthen your quadriceps; Deadlifts, hamstring rolls, and step ups to build up your hamstrings and glutes; and calf raises to strengthen your calves which help you stay upright so you don’t fall over.
It is also a good idea to do some sit-ups and dumbbell rows to strengthen your core, particularly if you prefer snowboarding which is much more core-centric.
When you hit the slopes
After weeks of strength and endurance building, it is vital that you actually warm up your muscles before you hit the slopes. This both helps with maximising performance and reduces the soreness you’ll surely feel at the end of the day. Most importantly, however, it may just help prevent that nasty injury by giving your muscles a little extra flexibility and blood flow.