Ski Preparation Exercises
Best Ski Preparation Exercises
This blog is the first in our new four-part series that focuses on how to best prepare for the upcoming ski season. In this first blog, we will take you through some of the basic ski preparation exercises that we recommend you add to your training to closely replicate the demands of skiing so that you can make the most of your time on the slopes and have a great holiday.
THE VIDEO: Ski Preparation Exercises – Best Ski Conditioning Exercises
Ski Preparation Exercise 1- Squat Pattern
One of the predominant positions that you’ll see many adopt when descending down the slopes on a pair of skis is the half squat. Depending on the size of the slope, you could be required to hold this half squat position for extended periods of time. As a result, we need to ensure that we train and strengthen this movement to make the most of your time on the slopes. The first exercise that we recommend to target this is the isometric wall sit. Look to hold this position for 20-30s and repeat 3 times within your training program. When you start to feel that this exercise no longer challenges you, progress this into the isometric half squat for the same duration. As you will no longer have the wall to support you, it will require more stability and core control hence making it more challenging. Finally, should you feel the need to progress this further, you can perform the loaded isometric half squat. Adding load and displacing it outside your centre of mass will truly solidify your strength and stability in this position enabling your skiing performance to improve.
Ski Preparation Exercise 2- Single Leg Knee Flexion
Competency on one leg is important for skiing as you will not be working on both legs the entire time. We need to achieve strength, stability and confidence on each leg independently of one another. The first exercise we recommend to achieve this is the split squat. You should look to perform this exercise for 10-15 reps on each leg for 3 sets in your training program. When you start to develop confidence with this and feel it getting easier, then you can progress onto the lateral lunge. This is very similar to the split squat, but it targets a different plane of motion, so requires more work from the synergist (stabilising) muscles, helping you to get stronger. Finally, should you desire to push further than this and feel that 15 reps per leg across 3 sets of lateral lunges has become easy, the next stage will be a McConnell squat for 3 sets, 10-15 reps per leg. By taking the supporting leg completely off of the floor with this progression, it requires even more balance, stability and strength so will be extremely beneficial to improve skiing performance, specifically improving your ability to turn and cut so you can navigate those pesky slopes more effectively, more quickly and more safely.
Ski Preparation Exercise 3- Hip Hinge Pattern
This fundamental pattern is important as we will frequent this position when tucking going down the slopes or tucking before hitting a jump. Learning this technique will teach you how to effectively load through the hamstrings and glutes to keep your lower back safe from fatigue after a long day on the mountain. The first exercise we suggest you utilise to start developing competence and strength in this movement pattern is the waiter’s bow, and we recommend you add this to your training for 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Once you feel strong and confident with this exercise, and require more of a challenge, you can progress onto the low-hold Romanian deadlift for the same number of sets and reps. Finally, once you have developed the adequate adaptation and strength in this exercise, then you can progress onto the dumbbell deadlift for the same sets and rep scheme to not only continue to improve your physiological systems, but your skiing prowess as well so you can hit and land from those jumps safely.
Ski Preparation Exercise 4- Core Bracing and Anti-Rotation Pattern
The fourth and final movement we are going to focus on is core bracing, but more specifically, core anti-rotation. This ability is crucial to keep you injury free throughout the holiday season. Core bracing and anti-rotation will help you to maintain appropriate posture and reduce strain on the spine whilst skiing, as well as help you maintain control of your hips so you will have better control of your legs for balance on the slopes. Training your brace technique also helps reduce imbalances that can lead to injuries. The first exercise we have chosen to prescribe is the Paloff press, and just like the previous we recommend you add this to your program for 3 sets, and aim for 12-15 reps per side. Look to supplement this with 3 sets of either 10-15 reps of deadbugs or 3 sets of 20-30s front planks to achieve the necessary benefits listed prior and improve your skiing durability, reducing overall soreness and fatigue on the slopes. This will allow to keep going all day long and really make the most of the mountains.
The addition of these exercises will help ensure you stay healthy and injury free on your ski holidays to make the most of your trip.