31 Jan Ski Fitness: Get Fit For Your Skiing Holiday
You need to get fit for your skiing holiday. If you've spent any time on the slopes, you'll know that skiing can be very physically demanding. With the high altitudes and the low temperatures, even getting to the top of the piste can leave you feeling breathless. And unless you take the time to train before your trip, within minutes of your first descent you'll start to feel the strain.
What sort of exercises will help you get fit for skiing? To ensure a good time and an unforgettable experience, work on developing the muscles you need to improve your balance and performance. But at the same time, it's vital that you work on developing your cardiovascular strength.
Ski Fitness Requires a Combination of Core Strength, Leg Strength, and Cardio
A routine of cardiovascular exercise in the weeks and months before your trip will help increase your stamina and your overall fitness levels. So rather than feeling exhausted and drained after a day on the slopes, you'll feel energised and alive, and in a much better state to fully appreciate the beautifully bespoke experience awaiting you at your luxury chalet.
Running is a good exercise to help you get fit for skiing, especially if you can run up hills. Cycling is better, as it will help you to improve your cardiovascular strength while developing key leg muscles and avoiding placing too much stress on your knees. But for best results, if you have access to a crosstrainer or a rowing machine, you can enjoy an intensive full-body workout that will really help your ski fitness.
As for your legs and core, there are a number of exercises you can do at home that will help you develop all the muscles you need for the most enjoyable ski experience possible. In the weeks before your trip, get into a routine of doing 15 leg lunges and 15 squat jumps every day. Crucially, these exercises will develop both of your legs at an equal rate, rather than favouring your dominant side. This will greatly improve your balance, making you less likely to fall or injure yourself.
Get Fit For Skiing – How Do The Professionals Do It?
What sort of skier are you? If you're a purely recreational skier, then good cardiovascular strength and some essential core and leg exercises will greatly improve your experience while reducing your risk of injury. But if you're a snowboarder, or if you're looking forward to high-speed performance skiing on steeper slopes, then you'll have to pay a bit more attention to your workout.
Warren Smith is a top ski coach. A few years ago he wrote a series of exercise for skiing guides for the Guardian. He shared a new method of instruction that was previously only available to professional athletes training for national teams.
His techniques are especially useful if you're looking to ski at higher speeds on faster slopes. Because most of us are either left or right-handed, we all have a weaker side when it comes to skiing, and it's most notable when it comes to turning on these more demanding slopes. Through an awareness of biomechanics and physiology, you can strengthen your weakest side. This will have you skiing like a pro, enjoying the most thrilling and authentic experience possible while reducing your risks of injury.
Specialist Exercises for Snowboarding
Professional snowboarders make it look effortless. This is because they've put a lot of effort into not just their training, but also on developing three key areas: Their strength, their endurance, and their flexibility.
The good news is that the same exercises that will get you fit for skiing will also get you fit for snowboarding. However, given the different position you take on the snowboard, and the different muscles required to balance and turn, focus on developing your core, paying special attention to the muscles around your waist.
The key is to not just develop the muscles you need, but also to get used to using them in a way that might not be immediately familiar. So whenever you're working out, aim to align your body in the position you'd adopt on your skis or snowboard. This will train you to move more efficiently on the slopes.
Expert snow-sports physiotherapist Lucy Macdonald recently shared a detailed ski fitness workout for Telegraph Ski. It features a number of exercises you can try at home or in the gym, plus extensive advice on posture and techniques.
The earlier you're able to start getting fit for your skiing holiday the better. But any preparation is better than no preparation. Incorporate these moves into your workout as soon as you can, and you're sure to notice a difference.
Preparing for your Trip
Preparing for your ski trip by making sure you're in shape is an excellent way to make sure you can make the most of everything the slopes have to offer.
If you're planning a family trip, however, you might have a little more to consider especially when planning your days. If you're looking to find an easy itinerary to factor in the differing abilities of a family group, try our guide for planning a family ski holiday.