Get Ready Now to Ski and Snowboard!

Cold weather is approaching fast. Don’t procrastinate. There’s still time to get ready for the ski season. Fitness can help prevent injury, improve abilities and ensure a long, safe season.

Alpine fitness programs routinely include movements to enhance balance and stability, strength, power, agility, mobility and flexibility. Workouts

Exercise ball crunches tune up those all important abs. Credit: Harriet Wallis
Exercise ball crunches tune up those all important abs.
Credit: Harriet Wallis

often combine exercises in a circuit-type workout which includes an aerobic component. Although alpine sports are anaerobic in nature with short hard bouts of activity followed by rest, basic aerobic fitness can help the average winter enthusiast avoid fatigue related injuries. In addition to training more specific skills and energy systems, it’s prudent to include 60 minutes of aerobic activity 3-4 times per week.

Focus strength training on core, legs and shoulders. Incorporate exercises that require some twisting movements since many of our summer activities like hiking, biking and running are performed in a single plane of motion. Quad muscles and those in the lower leg are important for balance and turning. Hamstrings help protect knees. Hips play a role in lateral movements. Core and shoulders function as stabilizers.

Although gym machines can be helpful and certainly convenient, considerably larger benefits can be reaped with routines that use body weight, dumbbells, stability balls, kettle balls, medicine balls and exercise bands. Or check out TRX Suspension Training. Originating in Navy SEALs training,

Work on balance with one-foot lunges. Credit: Harriet Wallis
Work on balance with one-foot lunges.
Credit: Harriet Wallis

TRX is used in the NFL and in USA Ski and Snowboard Teams to prepare for the season. TRX classes have also become extremely popular at many fitness clubs and recreation centers.

Look for exercises that include multiple joints because that’s how we move in all sports. Squats, leg curls and dead lifts, overhead press and rowing movements are good examples. With the lower body, progress from two-legged exercises to one-legged and then add some instability to the exercises to improve balancing abilities. Eventually add plyometric—explosive movement exercises—for power. Progress from two-footed hits to one. An easy activity associated with this ability is jumping rope.

Don’t neglect flexibility. Stretch after training and include muscles that were worked during the session as well as problem areas. A good yoga class is great way to improve flexibility. Pilates is another option and adds a little more of a strength component to the mix.

I hope this will help guide your quest for winter fitness. I wish I could individualize an actual exercise routine for each of you, but you can get help by looking for a trainer or class instructor in your area who has a solid understanding of the concepts covered above.

Jo Garuccio is a PSIA Trainer and Examiner, and she teaches at Snowbird. She’s also a Triathlon World Champion and a USA Triathlon Certified Coach. She’s a mega athlete and a mega sports enthusiast who loves to get people moving to be their best.

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