Only those who bring a certain basic level of fitness with them can enjoy their ski holiday to the full. Here are some valuable training tips to improve your strength and stamina for the winter. None of the exercises require a fitness studio, just a gym mat and some motivation.
Make sure you are training correctly
Stand in front of the mirror in shorts with your feet parallel in a skiing position. Draw an imaginary dot on the centre of your knee cap and drop a vertical line to the floor. The line should land between your second and third toe, not towards the big toe or in between the feet as it does with most. Correct your alignment and try repeating every day so that it becomes the norm. This will enable you to carve properly on the slopes and avoid problems with the knee cap joint.
Still in front of the mirror, examine your body from the side. Make
sure your bottom is not sticking out or tucked in too much. You need to
find the neutral position of the pelvis as this is when your muscles
work best, keeping the upper body relaxed. Practice bending your knees
into a skiing position whilst maintaining pelvic neutrality.
Now observe where your hips move when you bend your knees. Sitting down too much puts excessive strain through the quad muscles and knees, so make sure the weight is kept forwards, almost like you are going to tip over. You should not have any weight on the front of your ski boots, but by balancing forwards like this you are ensuring your weight is balanced over the centre of your skis, affording maximum control and the ability to turn the skis smoothly.
Before you can start doing strength exercises it is important that you get your circulation going. We recommend that you begin your workout regime at least 6 – 8 weeks before your ski holiday, training 2 – 3 times a week. For the cardio sessions it makes sense to choose an activity that uses the same muscles as skiing, such as cycling or jogging.
Skiing demands core stability (stomach, back) and strength in your legs. After your cardio warm-up, we recommend repeating the below exercises 3 – 4 times. Don’t forget to stretch out once you have finished.
Here are two vidoes which show some basic exercises:
Dr Craig McLean, referred to as ‘the ski doc’ by the likes of Graham Bell (BBC’s Ski Sunday), takes you through a series of exercises to get your body ready for the winter.