That’s how an old phrase goes and it’s true, in a one-week ski holiday, you may well find yourself going home a little less fit than when you arrived. After all there’s beer to drink and endless cheese-based food to eat while your away… and unless you’re super dedicated to the slopes you many find those long indulgent hot chocolate stops just too tempting to resist. So, with that in mind we recommend getting as fit as you can manage before you jet or drive off to the mountains.
What you don’t want is to be aching so much that you can’t enjoy your holiday. Even worse, you don’t want to get injured. A bit of prep can help alleviate the likelihood of either of these scenarios occurring.
Here are the muscles that you use skiing together with our favourite tried and tested exercises that strengthen them. You should be strengthening yourself up for about 6 weeks before you ski – but ANYTHING is better than NOTHING!
Your quad muscles at the front of your thighs work hard to keep your skis together and your body stable as you parallel turn. They are fundamental in bending your knees which is essential for the optimal ski position.
Squats will do a great job of strengthening these:
- Stand with your legs shoulder width apart
- Push your hips and bottom backwards and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (like you are going to sit down on an invisible chair behind you)
- Keep your back nice and long and make sure those shoulder blades are back and down
- Stand back up and repeat
- Try to do three to four sets of 20, giving yourself a 60-second rest between sets
- Add in hand weights (or a couple of tins of beans) for a more challenging workout
Wall squats are also excellent for helping to avoid that burning feeling on long or challenging runs:
- Stand with your back resting against a wall
- Move down into your squat position with thighs parallel to the floor
- Hold the position for as long as you can bear it (Tip. Time yourself, so you can see yourself being able to hold it for longer as you get fitter)
- Try to repeat two to four times with a short break in between each go.
Hamstrings and Gluts
The skier’s stance is typically flexed at the legs with a slight forward lean from the hips so the back of your legs and bum power you.
Lunges are what you need here, plus they can help your balance too:
- Starting with your feet together step one leg forward and bend down so the front leg forms a right angle. Your back knee should be just fractionally away from the floor.
- Make sure your core is engaged and your shoulders are relaxed
- Try to do 20 repetitions four times with a short rest in between each set.
Abs & Core
The main groups of muscles responsible for stabilizing the body during parallel turns is the abdominals and obliques, as well as the pelvic floor muscles.
Plank encompasses all of these muscles if done correctly:
- Lie flat on your stomach on the floor
- Strongly engage all your core muscles, rest your elbows in the floor and push up your hips so that only your elbows, lower arms and toes are touching the floor – you should be in a relatively straight line so make sure those hips are pulled up and don’t dip (Tip. do this in front of a mirror so you can check).
- Hold the position for 60 seconds.
General Cardio health
It’s good to keep up cycling or running too if you can. They both give you cardiovascular health and also, by their nature, will strengthen key muscles within your legs.
We wish you a wonderful time on the slopes.