Temperatures have dropped, snow has fallen, you’ve stocked up on all the latest ski gear, and you’re ready to hit the slopes—or are you? Don’t forget the most important ingredient for ski season: your physical condition.
No matter how fit you think you are, skiing is different. A pre-season ski-conditioning program can help prepare you for the physical demands of skiing, decrease your risk of injury, and increase your chances of having fun.
Most of us approach ski conditioning with a mix of dread and excitement. It’s hard work—but the payoff is huge. A comprehensive ski-conditioning program should focus on cardiovascular fitness, strength training, flexibility, balance, agility, and explosive coordination moves.
If you’ve spent the summer running or mountain biking on our valley’s awesome trail system, you’ve built a solid base of aerobic fitness—but now it’s time to get serious and amp it up. Here are the main ingredients for a successful ski-conditioning regimen:
Anaerobic Training: Anaerobic means “without oxygen” and refers to your muscles’ ability to function in a state of oxygen deprivation. Those top-to-bottom runs require your body to use both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. The byproduct of anaerobic function is lactic acid—that’s the burn you feel in your thighs at the end of a run. By training your anaerobic system, you improve your body’s ability to process lactic acid so that you can ski at a higher intensity for longer periods of time.
So how do you do that? Think intervals—lots and lots of intervals. You want to alternate hard work and rest—over and over and over. Need ideas? Try Tabatas.
Strength Training: You need strength to move and stabilize your joints as you navigate different snow conditions. Of course you want to strengthen your entire body—but ski conditioning will place a heavy emphasis on the legs and the core. If you want to be ready for opening day, you’ll spend a lot of time this fall doing squats, lunges, hamstring curls, wall sits, and more. For a strong core, focus on bodyweight exercises, planks, push-ups, and more. Zenergy is stocked with plenty of fitness balls, bands, BOSUs, and other equipment to help you build maximum strength.
Balance and Agility: Face it—you need abundant balance and agility to zoom down a mountain on skis or a snowboard. Practicing balance can help you avoid crashes on the hill. Spend some time on the BOSU, the fitness ball or a balance board. Give yourself an unstable surface and/or fewer points of contact with the ground and practice single leg squats or penny pick-ups. The best way to build balance is to practice.
Explosiveness and Coordination: To really prepare for skiing, you want to simulate on-slope conditions, reactions, and explosiveness. Plyometric moves involve jumping and bounding exercises that involve quick, powerful takeoffs and controlled landings. These exercises can improve reaction time and increase explosive power, eccentric muscle control, and coordination of fast movements. Try hurdle bounds or box jumps for optimal results.
Need help with ski/snowboard conditioning? We’ve got you covered!
Our ski-conditioning program is underway and will run through November 21st.
Join us on Tuesdays at Zenergy and Thursdays at Dollar from 5:30-6:30
FREE to members
Non-members: $25 per session or $70 four 4 classes.