Every skier and snowboarder is familiar with burning thighs and aching muscles. So why do so many of us forget about our pre-ski fitness routine, and fail to train properly before we hit the slopes? Half the problem is not knowing how to perform the best pre-skiing and snowboarding exercises.
We’ve created fitness and muscle building apps to help you with your ski and snowboard exercise training routine, which we recommend you begin at least 6 weeks prior to the start of your holiday.
The ski and snowboard exercises in our routine are designed to help you develop strength and flexibility before you hit the slopes, and help you avoid common ski problems such as “back-seat” skiing and early leg-burn.
To be fit for the slopes you need extra power in your glutes (bottom muscles), hamstrings, quads and in the back of your arms (triceps), as well as core strength in your stomach for extra stability and rotation.
To build strength for the slopes we recommend you focus on exercises that build muscle in your legs, specifically the quadriceps (thigh muscles), the buttocks, the calves and in your arms: the triceps.
Beginners and snowboarders who fall over a lot should focus on their abs and sides (obliques), which are the muscles used to get up from falls. Failing to strengthen these muscles can mean extra recovery time off the slopes.
Tip: You should aim be to build up strength endurance and stamina, and we suggest you do repetitions of 20, working on strength endurance rather than maximum strength: ideally 70% of your maximum power.
We do not recommended “sitting against the wall” often suggested in some ski exercise recommendations. This is because the exercise is static and does not work the range of movement you will need to ski and snowboard like a pro.
EXERCISES TO GET IN SHAPE FOR SKIING
1. LOWER BODY: LEG SQUATS
Squats are one of the best lower body leg exercises you can perform to strengthen and condition your legs for the demands of skiing. Performed with dumbbells in your hands, a barbell across your shoulders or just using your body weight, squats target the important quadriceps and hamstring muscles, which control your knee joint and your glutes (Gluteus maximus), or bottom muscles. We believe that squats should be the cornerstone of your pre-skiing workout. Our Muscle Building App for Arms & Legs has four squats to choose from: a) The Plie Squat, b) The Barbell Squat, c) Flat Bench Dumbbell Squat and c) The Smith Machine Squat. The screen shots above show you the squats that are presented in the app; download the full app for iOS or Android to see read instructions and trainers tips, and to help you visualise the muscles you use when you perform each squat.
2. LOWER BODY: LEG LUNGES
Like squats, lunges strengthen your legs and prepare you for the rigours of skiing. Lunges add an element of balance, which is important in skiing. We recommend the Dumbbell Walking Lunge with weights in your hands or, for a more challenging lunge with a barbell across your shoulders, we recommend The Smith Machine Single-Leg Lunge. Download the Muscle Building Arms & Legs App to iPhone, iPad or Android to see all the muscles used in the exercises and to get the instructions and trainer’s tips.
3. CORE STRENGTH: THE PLANK
Skiing and snowboarding require a strong core, and strong abdominal and lower back muscles will help support your spine on the slopes. This is especially important when skiing down moguls or in deep snow. We recommend both the traditional Plank and Side-Plank. See the full graphics and instructions for performing the Plank and Side-Plank when you download our Back Strengthening Apps.
4. ARMS: TRICEPS
You also need strong arms for skiing and snowboarding. Pole planting and getting up from falls require strong arms. The back of the arms (triceps) need strengthening and we recommend specific exercises like the Triceps Bench Dip to build strength in the triceps. Youâ€™ll find two excellent exercises in our Muscle Building Arms & Legs App.
5. BALANCE & FLEXIBILITYÂ
We recommend you do stretches both before and during your ski-holiday, including Hamstring-Abductor stretches, simple toe-touch bends, groin stretches (photo), Seated or Supine Glute stretches ( photo), ankle flex and calf stretches (picture) and triceps stretches (photo)
Use a wobble board in a gym to practise balancing, or if youâ€™re at home, one exercise you can do is to stand on one leg and, with the other leg raised (photo), write in the air drawing numbers 1-10 with your raised foot.
Donâ€™t forget that skiing and snowboarding involve a lot of side-to-side movement. Thatâ€™s why we recommend lateral jumps to help develop your inner, outer, front and rear thighs. We recommend you practice lateral jumps by standing with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Bending your elbows to 90 degrees and your knees slightly, jump 30 cms to your left. Immediately after you land, jump back to the right. Focus on speed of movement and minimal ground contact. Make this exercise more challenging by jumping over a low obstacle.
For cardiovascular training we recommend cycling, running, running, rowing or stepping for 25 minutes three times a week.
When you come off the slopes we recommend rubbing magnesium oil on your muscles after the shower to relax muscles and nerves, and alleviate joint and muscle pain. Magnesium allows blood to flow into the muscles in a greater amount and the build-up of lactic acid will be removed quicker. Magnesium Oil (you can purchase a spray from Holland & Barrett) will ensure a speedier recovery as the cells will be energised and therefore perform much better.
Click here to see an explainer video of our muscle building and back strengthening apps
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