You’re already thinking about bombing down Thredbo’s Supertrail or hiking up the backside of Guthega in Perisher. The only problem is that it’s been at least 3 months or even a year since you last clipped on those boards to ride down our Aussie slopes and you’re starting to remember the pain you felt the next day after a full day riding.
Well, there’s no secret, skiing and snowboarding are 2 sports that require muscle endurance, balance and a decent level of cardiovascular work, and, if you’re not prepared enough, you will be missing all the good fun of a ski holiday as well as increasing the risk of serious injury.
I see a lot of people training in a linear way but snow sports are anything but linear. There is a lot of lateral work and a great amount of joint stabilisation, especially in the hips and knees. Once your muscles get tired, you lose the form and bad things can happen quickly.
I know not all of us have a gym membership or even the time to exercise one hour each day, but depending on your actual fitness level it is possible to get “ski fit” in 3-6 weeks.
There are 3 elements that will guarantee to keep you going on the slopes:
- Get the quadriceps and glutes pumping
- Challenge your balance to get a strong core
- Stretch the assisting muscles
Depending on how long you’re planning on going to the snow, here’s my Top 6 Exercises that don’t require any gym equipment and that you can even do at home in less than 30 minutes.
Remember to stretch after you exercise to lengthen and relax muscles.
Squat with Step out – 2 to 3 sets of 6 to 12 to 20 reps (novice, intermediate, advanced)
Stand with both feet shoulder width apart. Squat down as low as you can then extend one leg out on the side. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds before bringing the extended leg back in and return to standing position. Repeat on the other leg.
This exercise provides endurance for your quadriceps, core muscle integration and knee and hip stabilisation.
Curtsy Lunge/Skaters Lunge – 2 to 3 sets of 5 or 10 or 20 reps (novice, intermediate, advanced)
Stand up feet shoulder-width apart.
Step back with your right leg but place your right foot as far left as you can and, with control, allow your knee to touch the ground.
Drive off the left leg and return to the start position. Repeat on the opposite side. The Skaters Lunge is a dynamic version of the Curtsy lunge where you push off the front leg to hop sideways before dropping the back leg.
This exercise dynamically works your Gluteus Medius for hip stability and increases your balance in lateral movements.
Side Lunge with Rotation – 2 to 3 sets of 5, 12 or 15 reps (novice, intermediate, advanced)
Stand up with feet shoulder-width apart and arms straight in front of you then step out to the right and squat onto your right leg keeping your left leg as straight as possible.
Rotate your torso as far right as you can, keeping your arms straight then return to starting position pushing off your right leg.
This exercise focuses on quadriceps endurance, hip stabilisation and core control.
Wall Squats (bare feet on towel) – 2 to 3 reps of 15-30 secs, 30 – 60 secs and more
Position your feet shoulder-width apart, about 3 feet from the wall, on a thick folded towel and your back against the wall.
Lower your body sliding down into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor and hold the position
This common ski exercise mainly works the endurance of your quadriceps but the towel adds an unstable surface that forces you to activate stabilising muscle of your ankle, knees and hips.
To make it harder, close your eyes and lift one foot an inch off the floor. Feel the burn.
Side Plank with Rotation – 2 to 3 sets of 5, 10 or 15 reps
Lie on a mat on your right elbow, feet together and shoulder directly over your elbow. Lift your hips off the floor so your body forms a straight line from ankles to head. Raise your left arm so it is straight and perpendicular to the floor.
Reach under your torso with your left hand and twist your hips so that your chest is parallel to the floor. Twist back to starting position. This exercises focuses on trunk rotation and upper body strength as well as core stability.
Balance crunch – 2 to 3 sets of 5, 10, 15 to 20 reps
Sit on a mat, feet off the floor, knees and elbows tucked in and try to find your balance point. Slowly raise your arms up above your head and extend your legs forward concentrating on keeping your balance. Slowly come back to starting position and repeat.
This exercise engages deep core muscles and abdominal muscles and works on your proprioreception.