From Beginner to Pro: 5 Essential Ski Fit Tips
It is already September and before you know it the ski lifts will be open and the mountains will be calling. No matter your ski level hitting the slopes without any training guarantees some very sore and achy muscles. Given today is National Fitness day it seemed the perfect pre-season opportunity to share our top 5 essential ski fit tips to help you hit the slopes in shape.
1. Work on your biomechanics
Pay attention to how your body is aligned from head to toe. Look in the mirror and work on correcting your body position so that is centred, this will improve stability and will help optimise your muscle performance and power output; enabling you to hold the correct position required to carve properly on the slopes.
- Envisage a vertical line drawn from the centre of your knee cap to a position between your second and third toe.
- Align your knee so that is central with this line, by moving them up and out.
- Repeat 30 reps daily for a month until this becomes your default position, then maintain all your hard work with regular exercise 2-3 times per week.
- Begin by trying to find the neutral position of your pelvis by tilting your pelvis forwards and backwards until you recognize a central position where the rest of your body is relaxed but supported.
- Bend your knees and hold a ski position maintaining this neutral position
- This will not only strengthen your core but will help to align your centre of gravity so that you are balanced and stable on the snow.
2. Strengthen those quads and butt
Anyone who has been skiing before is familiar with the burning sensation in your butt and thighs after a long day’s skiing. Indeed, your butt and thighs never stop working when on the snow. So if you want to avoid the burn then make sure you work on strengthening this part of your body before you hit the slopes. Doing this will support your lower back and knees and will ensure you have the power and stamina to tackle more challenging terrain. There are 100 different exercises you can do to achieve this, but to be honest, nothing quite beats a simple squat.
If you are a novice squatter, it is important that you pay attention to your body alignment, particularly focusing on your knees and pelvis.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the knees.
- Maintain a neutral position of your pelvis
- Lower your buttocks towards the ground, making sure not to dip lower than your knees, before rising back up to your starting position.
- Start with what you can manage before gradually building to 3 sets of 10 reps. As your strength improves, hold weights to make this exercise more challenging.
A good tutorial on how to perform the perfect
3. The all-important core
The need to strengthen your core is self-explanatory as it is your body’s central stabiliser. There are no shortcuts and to achieve a strong core, you have to work at it and this means frequent, consistent exercise. Ultimately you need to engage in a variety of exercises that focus on the varying muscles within your lower, middle and upper abdomen. We’ve all heard of 7-minute abs and 7 minutes a day will be enough to get you where you need to be. Here is a good basic core work-out to get you started
4. Support your lower back
A large part of supporting your lower back is strengthening your core. If you don’t do this then the twisting and turning required when skiing will leave your back vulnerable to injury. Remember, the age-old saying ‘you only as young as your back feels’.
To avoid a situation where the strength of your abs has compensated for a weak back, it is necessary to add a few simple targeted exercises to your training regime.
An easy but effective exercise is to lie on your tummy and place your hands underneath your chin, pointing your elbows outwards. Lift your head and legs slightly off the ground so you’re your stomach is the only part of your body in contact with the ground – hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat 2 sets of 10 reps.
Don’t forget flexibility
Flexibility is fundamental to agility. Some would say that you do not need to be too flexible to ski, however, I think this is a dangerous mindset. Flexibility is like your suspension, neglect it and a fall, bump or jump will leave you feeling jarred and sore. Joint immobility can also lead to injury that could otherwise be prevented. Before any exercise and particularly in the cold, stretching should be a component of your warm-up and warm-down. I take a pretty holistic approach when it comes to flexibility and fitness in general. This means maintaining balance and addressing all areas of your body. Here is a helpful resource with some great stretches you could try.