Environment Canada is forecasting colder temperatures and much more snow than usual this winter. While that doesn't bode well for shovelling, it's great news for downhill sports, and if you're like most of us, you can't wait for the season to get started. It's going to come quick - Christmas is almost here! - So you're going to want to make sure you're ready.
Part of that is making sure you've still got the strength and stamina. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a weekend warrior, you’ll want to make sure your body is in peak physical condition before you get on the lift. Just doing a little advance preparation now can make a world of difference on the hill.
Check out our training tips below to get your body ready and avoid a trip to the hospital, or worse. I recommend that you start preparing at least a month in advance, which means around now. In fact, come in and see us. Any one of our trainers can get you set-up with a plan of action to have you in the best shape possible between now and snow-season.
“Core strength is so important for skiers so it’s worth putting in some time and effort. If you’ve got good core stability, you’ll be a lot more balanced and strong when you’re skiing.” - British pro skier Paddy Graham
Skiing (and snowboarding) taxes all your muscle groups so it’s important that your routine looks at general strength training in addition to cardio. As you glide down the slope, you’re going to need the extra strength to keep you stable and protect your back. Apply focus on your core but also ensure your routine covers glutes and quads.
Core – Side planks: This exercise is a great way to build your core.
How to: First off, lie down on your right side (to start), resting most of your upper-body weight on your right arm, which should be at 90 degrees, and stretching your legs straight down, one on top of the other. Now push your hips up into the air as high as you can, and extend your left arm into the sky. Now hold the position as long as you can, pushing your hips high into the air. Try to reach 30 seconds, and then work to minute and longer. Then, switch sides.
Glutes and Quads
The majority of your power is going to come from your quadriceps and gluteals (fronts and backs of the thigh).
PRO TIP: Cycling is a great way to firm up your quads and glutes, and also increase your cardiovascular fitness; I highly recommend signing up for a spinning class or coming into the gym to use one of our lifecycles.
If you don't have a bike and you can't make it in, here are two more great ways to build these muscles:
Glutes – Clams: Skiing relies heavily on hip rotation, so you'll want to make sure you have that covered. The "clam" is a classic skiing exercise for glutes.
How to: Get down on your side on the floor in ski position, as if you were gliding down the slopes in your living room. Hold your hips steady and keep your ankles together. Now open the clam by lifting your top knee, then close it. Do this around 30 times, or until you can feel your glutes burning. Once that has become easy, try adding a tension band.
Quads – Steps: It's important to build your quads because they straighten your legs and stabilize the knee joint, preventing rotation.
How to: A simple but effective way to exercise your quads is by doing steps - stepping onto and down off a platform while holding as much weight as you can handle with ease. Do 30 reps to start and then increase the weight.
Cardio: Cycling, running, swimming, power-walking and even rowing are also all great for building stamina. Regardless the method you choose, try to maintain between 3 and 5 thirty-minute sessions per week, but don't go overboard - you should be able to talk while you exercise. If you're huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf, wind it down a notch.
If you get a chance this season, come on in and meet us. We can answer any other questions you may have and we can show you how to do the routines properly. We can't wait to meet you!
About the Author
Matthew Korobanik is the managing owner of Anytime Fitness in Edmonton. For more information, check out http://www.anytimefitness.com