Hitting the slopes this winter?
Most of you are excited to hit the slopes and are looking forward to it, but you need to ask yourself… is your body ready for it?
You may have all the right gear for the snow. BUT because skiing and snowboarding is something we rarely practice on a consistent basis, it is very easy to enter the snow season not in peak (or even close to peak) physical condition for the snow.
Skiing and snowboarding are very physically demanding activities. Many head to the slopes with no level of physical preparation or background in snow sports. Your legs will be sore! Your abs will be sore! Your butt will be sore! But planning a training routine can help prevent these aches and pains, or at least make you more prepared for them.
Here are 5 great exercises to better prepare you for the snow as well as assist you with your performance!
Wall Sit – Use a wall to support your back. Lower your body down, keeping your back straight against the wall and your legs bent at 90 degrees. If it’s your first time, hold for 30seconds. Then progress towards 2 minutes if you can. This is a great isometric exercise to develop muscle strength and it also mimics the squatting position whilst boarding / skiing.
Calf raises – You can use a chair for support, and hold dumbbells by your side to increase the resistance. Start with feet shoulder width apart, then raise your body onto your tiptoes. Hold for 2-3seconds then lower yourself down slowly for 2-3 seconds. Because your knees are bent while you snowboard and ski, your calves help you stay upright and helps maintain your edges on the board when you toe slide or heel slide.
Single leg balance – Try balance on one foot for 1min, then swap. Easy? Do it with one eye closed or even both. Maintaining your balance on the slopes is vital, especially coming off the chair lift. Being able to better balance on your board or skis will reduce the frequency of you falling.
Core stability (Supine rotation) – Sitting on the ground, try to engage your core muscles and lift your legs up. First time doing this? Keep your feet on the ground. Need more of a challenge? Then elevate your feet off the ground for greater core engagement. With your hands together, slowly twist from side to side. Snowboarding and skiing require a huge amount of core stability, especially through the turning phase, as there is a lot of twisting back and forth through the abs.
Lunges – A great fitness exercise to build leg strength for snowboarding. With one foot strapped in at all times, you will be pushing off the back foot to move. Stand up nice and tall, take a big step forward and bend the back knee, lowering until just before it touches the ground. Keep both knees at 90-degree angles. Push up and step forward, and repeat with other leg.
1. WALL SIT
2. CALF RAISES
3. SINGLE LEG BALANCE
4. CORE STABILITY – SUPINE ROTATION
By following this simple program for the next 4-6 weeks, you will be on your way to a great season of snowboarding and skiing. By building endurance and strength, your body will become strong, and this will help you avoid injury while making your skiing/ boarding much more efficient, graceful and fun! And always remember to ride safe!