You don’t have to wait for the snow to start falling to get ready for ski season. Start your training now and you’ll be sailing past those other ski bums on your way down the mountain. Dusting the competition or showing off to friends are not the only reason to get in shape before the ski season. Skiing is an activity that requires a variety of skills; strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. Hit the slopes without developing these skills and you may be in for more than embarrassment – you might even hurt yourself.
This is where sports-specific training comes in. Generally speaking, sports-specific training programs involve focusing on the various skills associated with a particular activity. Depending on the sport, this may include health-related measures of fitness such as agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, and reaction time. Most sports require a mixture of these components.
Skiing is a sport that relies heavily on skill-related fitness. A traditional fitness program, which includes a combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise, will only take you so far. A specific training program to develop specific skills for skiing will take you from the peaks to the valleys in record time.
There are several ways to begin a sports-specific training program. The simplest way is to include several new exercises in your regular workout schedule. For example, performing wall sits that require you to “sit” against a wall will help you build up the isometric strength needed for the tuck position in skiing. Squats and lunges will build lower body strength for skiing tough terrain like moguls. Exercises such as crunches to work your abdominals are essential in creating a solid “core” for balance and agility.
It is important to train your body to withstand and absorb the impact associated with skiing. Plyometric movements, such as hopping from side to side, develop muscle power and strength as well as improve agility.
A great way to integrate these elements into your existing routine is to create a circuit training program, which involves rapidly moving from one exercise to the next. You can set up a circuit in any large room or at your club’s aerobic studio. Many health clubs offer this type of class specifically for the ski season. Be sure and place all of your stations before beginning your workout so you don’t have to stop in the middle. Set a specific time limit for each exercise as well as a set period of breaks between each station. Thirty seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest are common interval periods. Then, simply turn up the music and make your way down the circuit. You might even want to create your own music tape with timed interval of music for exercise and silence for rest periods.
Try these stations to help you gear up for the slopes; use the slide for lateral training, perform one-legged squats to develop balance and strength, and use a step-bench platform to improve power. Try catching a bean bag as it drops off your forearm to improve reaction times or bounce two tennis balls to improve coordination. To improve agility, create your own slalom by running between two comes. In sports-specific training you are only limited by your imagination.
Do your lifting before you hit the lifts! BAC offers a killer Snowsport Conditioning Training Class as well as a class for Recreational Skiiers.