The snow season is fast approaching and many of us will be heading to the slopes soon for adventure; fresh mountain air, incredible views and epic pistes full of sweeping turns and moguls to tackle!
Maybe you’re in your prime and wanting to play at a higher level on the slopes!
Maybe it’s getting into the days of trying to keep up with the kids!
Or maybe you’re struggling with pain or remnants of an old injury (usually neck or knees for skiers!)
Whichever it is, we know you want to ski or board well, enjoy the snow as much as you can and with any luck stay injury free! But it’s important to remember the snow is a tough arena …… a very challenging physical side, cold temperatures, busy pistes, poor visibility and slippery, icy conditions underfoot.
Now imagine how tough it is if your body’s underprepared – turning up weak, misaligned, restricted, tired and even worse, in PAIN! Any of these make the slopes less of a playground to enjoy and more of a gauntlet to survive. On top of this unexpected falls, collisions, overuse patterns, poor technique and fatigue are far more likely to cause first or repeat incidences of common snow sports injuries like knee ligament and cartilage damage from over twisting; wrists, shoulders and neck problems from falling and trying to catch yourself; pelvis and lower back pain from weak cores, torsion in the hips and taking falls.
What if you show up feeling strong, confident and energetic?
How much MORE would you enjoy carving your way down the mountains?
How much MORE would you get out of the experience?
Tonnes we imagine!
This is where a bit of prep training comes in – the fitter and stronger you get, the more fun you’ll have on the slopes skiing hard and fast all day (and for those with kids hopefully still schooling them!).
Now we know there’s no training for skiing and boarding like the snow itself. And yes we get it, the gym is never going to be the same. However what we can do is get way stronger and learn to move even better without waiting for good snow to get ourselves strong. Exercise is a way of mimicking plus practicing the movement patterns and abilities you would actually use on the snow in a safe environment, (maybe not with 100% carryover, but gym training can get pretty damn close). Plus the gym training has the added benefit of unwinding muscle imbalances and joint restrictions, reducing the likelihood of pain and injury.
With well-chosen exercises and high quality programming, you’ll be more solid than ever strapping into your boots ready to make the most of powder days.
Option 1 – Book a FREE consultation and find out more about our ski performance package
Option 2 – Check out the cool exercises that mimic snow sports shown below and have a go!
Option 3 – Do both!
Snow Sports – General training tips to help you get slick and stay safe on the slopes
- With 16 weeks prep you’d be a demon on the slopes, but some benefits can be gained from as little as 8 weeks
- Build your programme around targeting ski-specific movements and muscles.
- Focus on good rest and nutrition outside of the gym to support your training
- Have fun!
Snow Sports – Key Movement Patterns & Exercises
On the snow – Skiing and snowboarding is full of squatting, to perform well you need the awareness, strength and flexibility to move through different angles of a squat position, at different speeds repeatedly
In the gym – we can train the squat pattern, mixing slow and fast tempos, focusing on lowering into the squat (eccentrics) and holding the position (isometrics) to develop flexibility, strength, speed and endurance to perform well and sustain a long day on the slopes.
- Example exercise to master – Kettlebell Horns Bosu Front squat
Key Benefits – Kicks up balance reflexes plus strengthens the legs developing the primary movement for skiing
- Start by holding the horns of a kettlebell at chest height with feet a comfortable distance apart.
- Inhale drawing your belly button inwards and lower into a squat as far as you comfortably can.
- Slowly return to the top exhaling through pursed lips at the most difficult part of the movement.
On the snow – Skiing and snowboarding is full of twisting and anti-twisting to make turns in control, so you maintain speed, momentum and stay upright
In the gym – we can train the twist pattern using exercises to develop co-ordination, speed, deceleration and anti-twisting all designed to develop rotational control of your torso and strengthen your core
- Example exercise to master – Prone swiss ball twister
Key benefits – strengthens the obliques and neck/shoulder musculature plus teaches the lower body to twist
- Start in a push up position with your shins on the ball.
- Drawing your belly button inwards twist your lower body to one side as far as you can maintain balance keeping your head still.
- Return to the centre and roll in the opposite direction.
- You can use a Swiss ball under the chest for support if the position is too strong for you at present
Tilting reflexes / balance
On the snow – Skiers and snowboarders need epic tilting reflexes to stay upright and deal with the sudden disturbances that come with moving at speed across the unpredictable terrain of snow and ice.
In the gym – Using kit like Swiss balls we can replicate and train tilting reflexes and develop the ability to regain and maintain your centre of balance on an unstable surface mimicking the balance skills needed.
- Example exercise to master – Kneeling on Swissball Single arm bicep curl
Key Benefits – fires up your tilting balance reflexes loads and strengthens the postural muscles of your back.
- Kneeling upright on a Swiss Ball holding a dumbbell by your side palm inwards the other arm out for balance.
- Drawing your belly button inwards bend your elbow to curl the dumbbell to shoulder height whilst simultaneously rotating the dumbbell to finish palm up.
- Lower under control and repeat.