Tips For Preseason Fitness
Our individual and collective primary interest is enjoying skiing and snowboarding, and the social camaraderie that comes with them. Many of us have already signed up for one or more upcoming winter trips; we’re just waiting for the snow that provides the medium for the thrills we are seeking. However, too often we skip (intentionally or not) giving much thought to preparation for the first runs of the season.
Taking our skis and boots to a favorite shop for sharpening, waxing, and function test is a simple task. Do we give the same level of concern to muscle toning, flexibility and balance to make the skis do what we want them to? Maybe it’s too easy to accept that our balance is adequate since we can walk or run without a problem. Or, do we believe that just skiing or snowboarding will get us into shape? Well developed balance is key to having good stance, timing, turn shape, speed control, and safety. We need to remember that skiing and snowboarding require quick reflexes and timing in order to achieve efficient and smooth turns.
From the Professional Ski Instructors handbook is this statement, “Your fitness level will ultimately determine your ability to enjoy your sport… your fitness level will determine your risk of injury and ability to improve performance. Basic components of a conditioning program include activities that focus on: balance and agility; muscular strength and endurance; and muscle flexibility and joint mobility.”
Does that mean you are committed to going to the gym? Only if you want to, or you already go there. Many fitness exercises can be done at home with minimal equipment, such as: hand weights (3-5 lbs.), resistance cords, and just stairs or even one step. (I also have a 3 ft diameter trampoline that provides aerobic conditioning and muscle toning; thanks to a suggestion from our dear friend Walt Gorgas.)
It’s important to strengthen the major muscle groups of the legs: quads, hamstring, and calf muscles. (One of the more frequent injuries is a torn or pulled calf muscle; very painful and takes a while to heal.) Include toning the core area (belt/waist) which is important for turning movements.
For your convenience, here are a couple of websites that provide specific exercise for skiers. https://www.self.com/story/workout-you-should-be-doing-if-youre-hitting-the-slopes , https://www.verywellfit.com/exercise-for-skiing-1231197
There are several other good sites.