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May 11, 2021

It’s that time of year again, where you want to hit the slopes and après… or après and slopes, whichever way round you prefer!

Skiing is an amazing endurance sport that challenges our bodies in so many ways and we love it! Although most of us might hit the gym or take part in other recreational sports throughout the year, skiing uses muscles that we rarely use while sitting at our desks for most days of the year, and therefore it is essential that we prepare ourselves well to get the most of out of your holiday.

For most of us, it’s not all about nailing those big jumps and off piece slopes.

We ideally just want to stay upright and save the hysterics for someone else who has wiped out. We just need to make sure we can maintain; speed, balance, change direction and suddenly stop; balancing on one leg whilst drinking a pint of beer. Either way, it is a lot of ask on our bodies! So, whether it’s your 1st of 30th ski trip, let’s be kind to our bodies and this is a once a year sporting holiday means we probably shouldn’t just wing a week of skiing and boozing with no preparation! It’s all about that balanced approach.

Research recommends we start preparing with a strength and conditioning programme 4-6 weeks before we pack our skis and jet set off to find that idyllic snow. Our ski performance often depletes on the last few last runs of the day because of fatigue or hitting the après bar too hard! The high altitude also means we have less oxygen to help our muscles and so they tire more quickly. We therefore also recommend working on your cardiovascular fitness alongside your strength and conditioning programme for ‘peak’ performance.

What does a pre-ski training programme need to include?

Let us keep things simple and focus on these three key elements: Strength, mobility and balance. To apply this to your skiing practice you will need to keep low in that squat position, add more rotation to your bigger turns and find your centre point again after a wobble (which you managed to rescue and nobody spotted!)

Here’s my mini assessment for you try at home to see how ‘Ski Fit’ you are! You can also include these within your strength and conditioning programme for Pre-Ski Exercises.

Strength Test: Bridge

Level 1: Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat onto the floor. Lift your bottom/ hips off the floor, squeezing your bottom muscles as you lift.

Level 2: Perform this with one foot on the floor and the other lifted off the floor.

Level 3: Rest one foot onto chair and stretch to opposite leg out so it is lifted above the seat of the chair.

* See how many repetitions you can do on each side and compare right to left.

Endurance Test: Wall Squat and hold.

Level 1: Back against the wall and slide down into a squat position, so you are in a 90-degree angle at your hips and knees. Hold for 10 seconds at the bottom. Repeat 5-10 times.

Level 2: Hold in the squat position for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.

Level 3: Hold as long as you can manage – to your fatigue.

Repeat a further 2 times trying to achieve the same time on each round.

Balance Test: Balance on one leg

Level 1: Stand on one leg, time how long you can hold before losing your balance.

*perform this in front a mirror with your hands resting level onto your pelvis. Try to avoid letting one side of your pelvis drop as you stand on one leg.

Level 2: Balance on one leg with eyes closed.

Level 3: Balance on one leg on cushion with eyes open and progress to closed eyes.

Change of Direction Test: Jump and Land.

Level 1: Standing on one leg, jump forwards and backwards. Landing with a slightly bent knee position and trying to maintain alignment of that knee over the second toe.

Level 2: Standing on one leg jump side to side, again maintaining alignment of the knee over the second toe.

Level 3: Try to jump and land as if you were jumping to each number on a clockface. 1,2,3 etc. Each time jump back to the centre to the original start position.

Let me know how you get on and as always, these exercises are generic and not individualised so please ask for further information before completing if you have any concerns.

If you are suffering with a current or previous injury that you are concerned may affect your skiing trip I suggest you come and see us for a pre-Ski Assessment.

Lastly, have a brilliant time and the Physio in me can’t help but say PUT THAT HELMET ON AND KEEP IT ON!

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