Ski season is upon us. Are you ready? If getting injured is not an option for you this season then preparation is key. People get injured because they lack adequate strength, agility. mobility, flexibility, and balance. This list of physical characteristics we need to have fun out there can seem big and insurmountable, but I have good news for you. It turns out that a few key activities combined with consistent practice go a long way toward getting us ready for and staying on the mountain all season long.
In this blog, I will dive into three “don’ts” that can lead to injury and how to train to decrease your likelihood of getting hurt and increase your abilities on the slopes this season.
#1 DON’T: Ski like a gorilla. Shoulders rounded forward and helmet first.
DO: Stretch out your hamstrings and hold your body(carriage) in its proper upright posture while you ski. This takes flexibility and core strength, it’s just a small adjustment but the added flexibility will allow for you to “carry” yourself down the hill easier.
HACK: Spend 2-10 minutes sitting upright against a wall with your head, shoulders, elbows and low back against the wall and your legs out straight. Toes pointing straight up. If 2 minutes of sitting like this is excruciating, this is an important exercise for you.
#2 DON’T: Ski scared (defensively).
DO: Ski calm and alert. Let those skis do their job and your job is to absorb what comes. Let the terrain come to you. Don’t be anxious, nervous, or in a hurry. Relax and work with the terrain, not against it.
HACK: Go into the season strong and confident! Being sure of your body’s abilities will help you focus on what’s happening in the moment, not your fear of yard saling. By doing specific exercises that will increase your ski fitness, your confidence will increase. Hold a kettlebell in front of your chest, maintain upright posture, and lunge down a hallway. As you lunge, twist toward the leg that you lead with. Nearly touch your back knee to the floor, bending both knees and keeping weight over both feet, not just the leading foot. On your way back up the hallway, hold the kettlebell straight overhead and lunge back down the hall, staying as upright with your carriage as you can while you lunge. If you can’t hold the kettlebell overhead without killing your shoulders see the next hack.
HACK: Do the doorway chest and shoulder stretch. Hold both hands at eye level with your arms out like wings in the doorway. Lean in and let your chest enter the room keeping your chin lifted. Stretch everything that feels tight for the time it takes to do at least 10 deep breaths, in and out through the nose.
#3 DON’T: Be a wheeze bag!
DO : Get your heart and lungs high altitude ready by climbing stairs. Then add some impact training to your workout on the way down. Skiing is a sport that involves impact and can be pretty high intensity and high impact depending on your skiing style.
HACK: Climb stairs for cardio or jump steps to get ready for impact. Find a building with several floors and climb stairs for a continuous period of time like 10-20 min. On your way back downstairs hold onto the handrail and hop down each step with the goal of making no noise. In other words use your leg muscles to soak up the impact as you land. Sustained, higher intensity cardio, like climbing and jumping stairs will get you winded. So does skiing! Practice ahead of time and pace yourself, starting slow and increasing your output as your confidence increases. Impact practice makes you sore so be gentle the first few practice sessions.
Want to train with Chris to get ready for ski season? Join our online Ski Fitness class on Tuesdays @ 9 AM.