As the snow season looms closer, uh, hello, Saturday, so too does the harsh reality that maybe your ski or snowboarding fitness isn’t at the level you would hope it would be. Maybe a bit too much Netflix binging as of late (how could you say no to Stranger Things Volume 4?). Or maybe you’ve been snoozing that morning alarm a few too many times.
The good news is, there’s still plenty of time to get that heart in shape and a bun of steel even Superman would be jealous of in preparation for this upcoming snow season.
3x Winter Olympian Sami Kennedy Sim has given us her 5 best (and free) exercises to get you fit for the slopes so you’ll be riding first to last lift in no time. Best of all they can be modified to your fitness level.
What’s more, these exercises make up part one of an 8-week interactive ski and snowboard fitness series. Designed by Snow Australia in collaboration with Sami and other Aussie Winter Olympians, it’s free to use and easily accessed online.
Our first exercise is one the Winter Olympian swears by. “Shuttle runs are a staple in my training program. Regular aerobic training in conjunction with strength training translates to more days on snow, more runs, and more bang for your buck!”
How to do a shuttle run:
- Set up markers 10m, 20m, and/or 30m plus more from a starting point on a flat surface. It could be a driveway, footy oval, etc
- Sprint as fast as you can to the 10m marker, tap the floor, and run back to the start
- Do the same for the other markers you have put out
- Repeat 4x, rest and repeat as desired
“Developing leg strength is vital to getting in as many turns as possible” says Sami. That’s where the trusty squat comes in. They are a great exercise to introduce strength training into your workouts along with being extremely versatile.
How to do a squat:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes facing forward
- Drive hips back, bending at the knees and ankles and keeping back straight
- Sit into a squat position, keeping heels and toes on the ground, chest up, and shoulder back
- Strive to have knees bent at 90 degrees or as close as possible
- Press into your heels and straighten your legs to return to a standing position
- Repeat as desired
As you progress, you can mix up the depth, stance, and even squat on one leg to increase the difficulty and improve strength.
As the name suggests, the glute bridge works the glutes, along with the core and abdominals. A progression of the bridge, the elevated single-leg glute bridge is described as one of the Olympian’s favourite exercises as it “requires great coordination and strength, just like skiing and boarding.”
How to do a glute bridge:
- Lie on your back with arms by your sides. Knees are bent and hip-width apart with feet flat on the floor
- Raise your hips and bottom off the floor, engaging your core through the movement. Continue the movement until you lift as high as you can with shoulders staying on the ground
- Hold position before slowly returning to the floor
- Repeat as desired
Not only do you want to be fit for the slopes, but injury prevention should be top of mind. That’s where supermans come in. They help to strengthen muscles along the spine, lower back, and core. “Working on stabiliser muscles helps us maintain balance on the snow which is great for injury prevention” recommends Sami.
How to do supermans:
- Lie on your stomach with arms extended by your side and legs extended long. Abdominals should be drawn in and shoulders down away from ears
- Squeeze your abs, back muscles, and glutes to lift your arms and chest off the floor slightly. Your neck should stay long and gaze remain down
- Hold for 20 seconds and then release slowly back to the starting position
- Repeat as desired
The last core exercise of Sami’s slope fit routine may come as a surprise but the Olympian assures us it’s important for snow sports. “Snowboarders push themselves up after strapping in. You also push yourself off a chairlift. Plus, we’ve all had a fall before where you need to push yourself up off the ground. Adding this exercise to your routine will help in all these scenarios”
How to do a push up
- Start in a plank position (either on your toes or knees) with hands underneath your chest and slightly wider than your shoulders. Have a slight bend in the elbows
- Tighten your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine and slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself just above the floor with your back staying straight
- Push back up into starting position and repeat as desired
With this five-exercise arsenal up your sleeve, there’s no excuse not to get started (your buns can thank us later).
So now you’ve got the tool to power up your snow fitness game, all that’s left to do is hit the slopes.