Snow fitness

snow fitness

Fed up with those aches and pains when you get on the slopes?

Spending a full day on the slopes can be tiring even for the fittest individual, for the unfit it can be positively shattering.

To ensure total strength and fitness in your legs I’d recommend strength and endurance training and a combination of cardio exercises.

The strength training should cover all the major muscles of the lower body, Hamstrings (back of thighs), Quads (front of thighs), Glutes (bum muscles) and Calves, having said that its also important to concentrate on some of the smaller muscles, which is why any exercise that challenges your balance would be beneficial not only for strength but also for keeping off you your bum once you’re finally on the slopes!

Cardiovascular fitness

  • Try and start at least six weeks before the start of your holiday and you'll notice a big difference.
  • Any way you can improve your cardiovascular system will help to improve your skiing stamina.
  • If you're not a gym junkie, even going for a brisk walk will give you a decent cardiovascular work out.
  • Walk upstairs instead of catching lifts or walk up escalators instead of standing still. Try whenever possible to get yourself a little bit out of breath.
  • Little and often is better than charging like mad until you're blue in the face.
  • Cycling, running, rowing or stepping for 20 minutes three times a week will provide a solid base.
  • Hitting the treadmill pays benefits on the slopes

Building up your skiing muscles with our ski exercises

Start by standing 12"- 18" from a wall with feet shoulder-width apart, then lean back fully on to the wall, now slowly move your bum towards the floor until your knees are at right angles. If your feet are closer to the wall than your knees, slowly move them so they are in-line. Maintain this position as long as you can. Time yourself, then add 30 seconds each time you do it.

Start with your feet together then take a large step forward with one leg and bend down so the front leg forms a right angle and the back knee almost touches the floor. Make sure you keep your back straight the whole time. Then go back up and switch legs. Both exercises can be done for 20 repetitions followed by a rest. Repeat the procedure four times.

Core strength
Stomach, back and sides - is also a key area, especially for beginners or snowboarders who fall over a lot and use this muscle group to get back up. Either use the machines in the gym or do sit-ups and press-ups at home - again for boarders who take a lot of hits strong shoulders are important. A couple of circuits of strength exercises, combined with a 15-20 minute aerobic workout two or three times a week, and you'll be powering down the piste like never before.

Flexibility, balance and coordination

  • Increased flexibility helps prevent injuries - your body will be able to cope more easily with the strange twists which happen from time to time on skis. It also helps to prevent soreness and stiffness during your holiday.
  • Stretching will help when you have a wipeout
  • Calf stretching is very important, particularly for beginners, while hamstrings stretches and quad stretches are also vital.
  • A little stretch every time you do some exercise will increase your flexibility, and you will be glad of it if you have a spectacular wipeout.
  • Skiing technique needs to be learnt but you'll improve much quicker if you have good balance and coordination.
  • These assets can also help better skiers stay on their feet and recover from a potential wipeout at speed.
  • At home, one exercise you can do is to stand on one leg and with the other leg try and write in the air from 1-10 drawing numbers with the other foot.

For more information, check out the Beginner's Guide to Snowboarding

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