Ski Season is right around the corner! Opening day on Whistler Mountain is November 22nd, which means you only have a few short weeks to prepare.
Ideally, you want your ski fit program to begin 8 weeks prior to your first day on the mountain. Not all of us will be hitting the slopes on the 22nd so this should suffice for many of us if we start now!
In order to stay injury free, minimize muscle soreness and increase the amount of time we can spend on the slopes, it is imperative that we prepare! Key areas to look at are muscular strength and endurance as most injuries occur in the afternoon of your first few days on the slopes. Flexibility is also crucial and should not be over looked. Improving range of motion will allow your body to adjust to any sudden changes in direction and help prevent injury when you fall. Skiing is a demanding sport and uses almost every muscle in your body. With that being said, there are certain muscles utilized more than others.
There are many great ski fit strength exercises out there. Here are a few examples of some of my personal favorites. Remember that cardiovascular endurance and flexibility are also crucial components to a ski fit program. For more information on a complete SKI FIT program please email Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examples of Strength Exercises:
1. Lunge (Intermediate):
Take a big step forward with one leg and bend until your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Make sure your front knee stays behind your toes. Keep your chest up and shoulders back.
Perform 8-12 reps/side with body weight (in order to increase the difficulty you can add a “jump” by jumping upward using your right and left leg, switch feet in mid air and land with your opposite in front **advanced)
2. Single Leg Squat (advanced):
Balance on one leg with your arms extended out in front of you. Slowly lower your body towards the floor keeping your hips back (as if you are sitting onto a bench) and the majority of your body weight in your heel. Make sure to extend your opposite leg out in front and keep your chest and shoulders back. Make sure that your knee stays behind your toes.
Perform 8-12 reps per side with body weight.
3. Static Front Plank (all Levels):
Lie face forward on the floor or a mat. Place your forearms directly under your shoulders and your toes under your ankles. Lift your body off the ground keeping your back flat and staying strong through your shoulders. Start by holding this position for 15-30 seconds and increase progressively as you see improvements in your strength.
Perform for 15-30 seconds to begin and gradually increase to 2-3 minutes.
4. Lateral Hops (intermediate):
You will need a wide open space for this exercise. Start by standing on one leg (outside leg) with your knee slightly bent. Using your standing leg, propel yourself laterally and slightly forward using your arms to help gain momentum. If you have limited room, stick with only lateral movements. You want to focus on pushing your body sideways with force and staying in a slight squat position the entire time (as if you were in a ski tuck position). Continue this movement for one minute, and work your way up towards 2-3 minutes.
Perform 20-30 repetitions and slowly build to 1-2 minutes.
Good luck and see you on the slopes!