Fit Tip: Ski Season Training
We all know that après ski activities consist of sipping hot chocolate next to a roaring fire in a Navajo-print jacket, but what about avant (before) ski? Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding sports and optimal conditions occur at high elevations (less oxygen) and in cold temperatures, but it’s also fun and a great way to get your heart rate up during those winter months. Whether you are a Blue Circle bunny or a Double Black Diamond Slalom, uh, mogul, you may want to do some ‘pre-season training’ to prepare before you hit the slopes, focusing on these four areas:
Stamina. Optimize your cardiovascular strength so you can schuss all day. Higher elevations and cold weather put extra strain on your lungs, so do some interval training on a treadmill or elliptical machine to challenge your heart rate and improve your oxygen intake capacity. Begin with at least 3 days a week for a half hour and increase the time, frequency, and intensity over time so you are in prime condition to conquer the mountain.
Core. Core strength is key for skiing. A tight, stable core allows you to control your movements with more precision. Simple exercises such as bicycles on the floor, back extensions, and full body roll ups or crunches on an exercise ball will benefit your core and therefore your skiing abilities.
Balance. All Carvaholics know where to find their CM (that’s ski slang for Center of Mass). Improve reaction time and agility by taking advantage of the balance-training aids available at the health club or for the home, such as a Bosu ball. Begin by balancing on one foot and progress up to balancing on the Bosu ball itself. Take it a step further and try squats and plyometric drills on the Bosu ball.
Flexibility. Yoga not only keeps you limber but improves your mental focus and breathing techniques. Yoga can help protect against injury by addressing muscle imbalances and improving flexibility, so try out a beginner-level class and work your way up. The positive influences that yoga can have on your skiing (and other athletic activities) may surprise you.