Patient: “Doctor! Doctor! I slipped over on my way to the chairlift!”
Doctor: “I C Y”
Nothing beats the fresh alpine air in your lungs as you are making your way down the piste or traversing fresh powder creating your own tracks in untraveled paths. That true sense of freedom really can be an unbeatable feeling so the thought of having to curtail the fun due to injury doesn’t bear thinking about really.
With this in mind, what can you do?
Skiing involves almost every muscle in your body to produce smooth muscular control and balance, not only this but it can be extremely taxing on your cardiovascular system. It is true skiing can be considered an extreme sport but whether or not your racing down the slopes or are there for the pure enjoyment and beautiful scenery you’d be silly not to prepare your body.
SO, how can you ‘Prepare your body’?
Step 1: DREADED CARDIO
Skiing at high altitude where the air is thinner and there is less available oxygen is probably the number one cause of increased cardiovascular taxation. VERY closely followed by the mad rush of trying to make it to the Apres-ski. Before embarking on this season’s trip you should build up your cardiovascular endurance to get your money’s worth out of that expensive lift ticket. Most of us hit the slopes and plan on skiing all day, even if it’s been months or years since we last skied. Often, by the time afternoon rolls around, your body is tired and that’s a prime time for injuries and accidents happen. Taking a break between runs can help, but prepping your body as much as you can help you ski longer. To prepare your heart and body for long-term skiing, your cardio program should include a mixture of lower intensity steady state (LISS) cardio and some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). In the weeks leading up to your departure. Aim for 3 cardio-based workouts per week. These could include, running, cycling, rowing or even a good old sweaty class, whichever best suits your schedule and lifestyle but must not be ignored.
Step 2: STRENGTH TRAINING
Skiing is great exercise! Every muscle in your body will get a great workout after a good session on the slopes. However, anyone who has skied before will tell you that some muscles get worked a little harder than others. These are the main areas to consider:
- Quads – probably the most used muscles down the slopes. Having strong quads will protect your knees as you drop into the schuss or battle through the uncertain off-piste.
Glutes and hams – The forward leaning position often adopted in skiing comes from the hips, trying to get those knees over your toes but keeping your weight in your heel requires great strength from your hamstrings and glutes as they help stabilize your body.
- Adductors and glute meds – Your adductors are a massively overlooked muscle group. Keeping your skis close together and parallel is vital for building your speeds and your adductors will certainly help with that as well as playing a key role in core stability. Your glute medius or side booty is crucial in pelvic stability and you will certainly feel the burn as you twist and turn through the slalom turns.
- Core and back – Core stability is pretty much crucial in all aspects of life but certainly when you ski. Having a strong core will keep you balanced and upright as you ski. This can be particularly important in avoiding injuries. As you ski, you will be in that forward flexed position so your lower back muscles will be working double time to keep you upright but having your core engaged will protect your spine and assist you to lower back muscles as they work. Strength in your upper back (your lats and mid/lower traps) will stop you rounding your upper back, keeping you upright, reducing back aches and pains.Arms – using poles to push will be sure to light up your lats, triceps and upper back as you drive to squeeze every drop of momentum to help you up that little hill you didn’t see!
- Calves – being in that-knee bent position, your calf, specifically your soleus will be engaged to keep you balanced and to assist with the position and direction of your feet and ultimately your skis so weakness here will limit your overall control.
Step 3: REST AND RECOVERY
- Stretches – After a good session, the first port of call may be to grab that ice cold beer. But, it would be foolish to neglect your body. Show yourself some love by having a good old stretch, a warm shower and plenty of water to look after those sore muscles of yours. The last thing you want is to limit your performance with muscle soreness.
- Hydration – Hydration throughout the day is crucial. The air is not only very thin making you breath faster and harder but it is also very dry. The freezing cold wind on your face is also a culprit for dry skin and lips. #ProTip – beer has a very high water content so enjoy!
- Re-fuel – Skiing from the early morning to evening can be exhausting so you MUST ensure you’re eating enough to sustain your energy to keep you out there for as long as you desire. Mountain-side food is some of the best-tasting out there but not necessarily the most nutritious, so having a good balance of food throughout the day should be considered.
- Sleep – Sleep is your bodies chance to recover your sore muscles, so once you’ve enjoyed all the slopes and apres bars have to offer, get yourself off to bed for your 40 winks so you can get back to the slopes the next day!
We have rallied the troops to bring you a brand new package designed specifically to prepare your body for the slopes: #ReachThePeak
A three-week intensive pre-ski programme brought to you by our team of physiotherapists, sports therapists, and personal trainers.
A mixture of Full-body cardio and strength training with some skiing specific work to have you gliding down the slopes like a pro.
‘Reach the Peak’ package includes 6 small group personal training sessions, a full body movement screening at the Clinic, and unlimited group classes.
All of this over 3 weeks for just £149.
Log in to Mind Body to book.