The best thing about winter is a weekend away in the snow, but your body needs conditioning.
Before you rush off to pack your beanie and thermal socks, take a minute to check your body is ready for action on the slopes.
Skiing offers a great whole body workout that begins with carrying your ski gear onto the slopes. Just being out in cooler temperatures means your body burns more calories to keep warm – until you make it back to the lodge for your requisite après ski hot chocolate by the fire.
In the fun of swooshing down slopes and skidding to a halt to avoid the odd fallen beginner, you probably haven’t noticed how hard your legs are working – at least not until you try to back it up the next day and your thighs start to shake. The movement of skiing requires you to remain in a semi-squat for extended periods with your quads under constant tension.
The best exercise you can do in preparation for the slopes is… squats, lots of different squats. If you are more of a snow bunny than a gym bunny, at the very least, place your feet apart and slide down the wall onto an imaginary chair. Hold this position whilst you brush your teeth. Strong thighs will prolong your quad endurance and therefore your enjoyment on the slopes.
The best exercise you can do in preparation for the slopes is… squats, lots of different squats.
What you lack in skill and technique you can at least partly make up for in strength and fitness. Your core plays a major role in supporting you, whether you are a steady snow ploughed or a speedy parallel skier.
Strong and reactive deep abdominal muscles help your body cope with the unstable nature of skiing and a postural position which is quite different from your daily life. Get planking in the gym or on your living room floor to keep you excelling on your skis (see our planking story on this site for specifics).
There is no room for stiffness as you make your slalom-like turns through the snow. Your torso needs plenty of flexibility to twist, bend and accommodate the conditions beneath you. A lack of mobility through your back affects your balance, technique and leaves you more prone to falling and injury.
Grab a medicine ball or dumbbell and start practising your woodchops. The twisting and bending movement from high left to low right and vice versa is exactly the right prep for your ski adventure.
Now you are ready for a mogul fiesta – and don’t forget the benefits of a spa bath recovery.
How do you prepare for your ski trip?
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub