Skiing provides a sense of excitement, freedom and a dose of mountain air for millions of people every year.
However, it's often the lack of ski fitness that holds back recreational skiers when they hit the slopes. If you are unfit, fatigue will creep in and you would have to head home to the chalet early. Don't be the person who has to spend half the day in the restaurant on top of the nursery slopes, or has to return to the chalet aching and tired!
With winter fast approaching, it's time to improve your fitness levels and maximise your performance to enjoy longer slope time.
Skiing is a sport that requires a mix of endurance, strength, and balance, with the greatest emphasis on strong core and legs. The key to longer slope time and preventing fatigue is to work on exercises that can help you improve flexibility, endurance, and strength, all of which we will cover in our training program below.
The training program will include certain training in the gym, an approach which pro skier Crystal Wright highly commendedas utilising gym training can turn you into a better athlete on the slope.
Here are some of the best training regimes to get your body fit and ready:
1: Strengthen Your Legs with Squats and Lunges
Your legs play a big role in ensuring smooth and controlled skiing on the slopes. Think of your legs as the foundation to a house, without a solid foundation, the house will eventually come crumbling down.
The top two exercises to strengthen the legs are barbell squats and dumbbell lunges. The exercises activate multiple muscle groups, such as quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, glutes, and core.
The quadriceps (front of thigh muscles) are responsible for straightening your knees and is the most used muscle group alongside the core in skiing. Develop your quadriceps endurance by performing higher repetitions on the squats and lunges, with a 12-15 rep range.
Besides performing the barbell squats, Alex Moore, high performance strength and conditioning coordinator at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association recommends incorporating the squat jump as the explosiveness of this exercise can help improve your skiing speed.
After weeks of performing the squats and lunges, you will notice substantial improvements in your legs strength and flexibility.
2: Develop Your Core with Trampoline Training and Direct Abdominal Exercises
Well-developed core strength gives you balance, stability, and will help to preventing back injury while skiing.
The first exercise we would recommend is trampoline training. This is also recommended by pro skier Paddy Graham as jump routines on a trampoline can train your balance, improve awareness skills, and most importantly, helps to strengthen your core.
We know that not everyone will have access to a trampoline, so other effective direct abdominal exercises to develop the core include: the plank, Russian twist, hip raise, and bicycle crunch which you can do in 30 second – 1min reps.
3: Build Your Arms with Barbell Curl and Close Grip Bench Press
Arms strength and flexibility is needed to help to push off with your poles while stabilising the shoulder joints.
Your arms are divided into the biceps and triceps, and we will hit the biceps with barbell curl and triceps with close grip bench press.
4: Improve Cardiovascular Fitness with Other Vigorous Exercises
While you are not on the slopes, consider performing exercises such as skating, surfing and rollerblading as these exercises mimic and replicate the movements of skiing and will indirectly help to improve your skiing proficiency.
You can also improve your aerobic fitness by performing vigorous exercises such as running, hiking, and cycling. These exercises will improve legs strength as well.
Putting It All Together – Fitness Workout Program
We have compiled all the information above and designed a training program for you. This training program will cover all the exercises discussed above. Each one of these exercises have been picked to improve your coordination and physical fitness for longer slope time while skiing. Progress at your own pace and strive to improve your fitness levels week by week.
Warning: please ensure that you use correct form when training in the gym, if you are unsure how to do an exercise ask a member of staff at your gym.
12 - 15 Reps
12 - 15 Reps
12 - 15 Reps
Close Grip Bench Press
8 - 10 Reps
8 - 10 Reps
*Perform continuously for 30 seconds – 1 min per exercise
**If your gym has a trampoline available, perform the trampoline training for 10-15 minutes.
Be sure to switch up the exercise routine, for example you can start your workout with dumbbell lunges instead of barbell squats. This will keep the training interesting and prevent your body from adapting to a fixed routine.
Frequency of Training
Below is the frequency of your fitness workout program and cardiovascular training from day one to day seven. Repeat this cycle until the day you hit the slopes.
Day One: Fitness Workout Program
Day Two: Cardiovascular Training (Choices of skating, surfing, running, hiking, and cycling)
Day Three: Rest
Day Four: Fitness Workout Program
Day Five: Cardiovascular Training (Choices of skating, surfing, running, hiking, and cycling)
Day Six: Fitness Workout Program
Day Seven: Rest
The key is to be consistent with your training and add a little progression every time your workout. For example, if you are running for 20 minutes, try running for 25 minutes or even choosing to run in areas with frequent inclines next time you go out. Challenge your body and your fitness levels will skyrocket over the coming weeks.
Follow the routine outlined above and you too can enjoy longer slope time and stay injury free while skiing this winter.
While you are on holiday, you will want to make the most out of it by ensuring your fitness is on par and in the right condition to match the occasion. It will be worthwhile to work hard behind the scenes to hit the slopes fully fit and prepared.
So, train hard and get ready for the slopes!
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