Deep down everyone enjoys the feeling of freedom you get as you fly down the mountain. Overcoming that moment of doubt as you decide to point yourself down the hill in search of that next hit of adrenaline. The wind rushes past, as your fear fades, and you experience the timeless pleasure of being outdoors in the mountains. As winter approaches, now, is the time to start thinking about your ski workout. It’s time to get those ski and snowboard legs in shape for the snow season!
Train Hard – Play Hard
October 29th 2020 | Albert Pinol Olea
Snowboarding, alpine skiing, and backcountry touring are the perfect gateway to infinite freedom. For a moment, imagine countless runs, fresh air, epic mountain landscapes, and unbound terrain. Sounds incredible right? With a little bit of hard work, this dream can be yours too. An ounce of preparation goes a long way. The only thing between you and a legendary winter season is a little bit of strength and conditioning and of course sweat.
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Strength and Conditioning
Strength and conditioning is targeted training that helps you to optimize your performance, improve functional fitness, and minimize the risk of injury. When performed correctly this type of training will improve your skiing/snowboarding, increase your enjoyment, and reduce your chances of getting hurt. It is an indispensable tool for anyone looking to have the best winter season.
The Benefit or A Pre-Season Workout Program – Preparing For Your Season
How you perform on the mountain is impacted by your STRENGTH, BALANCE, METABOLISM, ENDURANCE, and RECOVERY. A holistic pre-season ski workout should target all of these in order to optimize your performance. Your training program should take into account your individual needs and expectations and should be tailored to you.
Physical exercise has been proven to help people achieve better motor function, muscle strength, power, stamina, and body composition. While there is no set recipe that works for everyone, a pre-season ski workout program will upgrade your skills and performance, whether you are an all-mountain legend, a speedy “corduroy” addict or just looking to hit the slopes between a bevy at the lodge
Exercise improves your fitness level and it has been shown that training for 8-12 weeks, 2-3 times per week pre-season, can have significant benefits. Increasing your strength and endurance, balance, metabolism, and recovery ability will have marked changes in your fitness and your on-hill performance.
Outdoor winter sports carry with them inherent risk, it’s part of the game. Things happen that are out of your control, but strength and conditioning can help you prepare your body to deal with these situations. Conceptually, a house with a strong foundation will withstand an earthquake much better than a house with a weak foundation. Similarly, proper body mechanics and functional strength will reduce the chances of injury and will help you recover faster if you do get hurt.
Imagine yourself on the mountain with a crew of friends having a mind-blowing experience. All the training and hard work means you can come home safe, injury-free, and ready to hit the slopes hard again the next day. The benefits of training aren’t just physical, but also the increased enjoyment you feel while you are on the mountain. Those days of sweating it out and getting in shape are well worth it. How do you put a price on the time of your life?
Ski and Snowboard Workout – A Program to Get You Started
A ski workout program should be tailored to your goals and designed with BALANCE, STRENGTH, METABOLISM, ENDURANCE, and RECOVERY in mind. A functional movement assessment is a good way start out, by identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Your program should take your assessment into account and help you to restore proper movement patterns and fundamentals. Once a solid foundation has been built, the focus should switch to increasing strength and maximize fitness and performance.
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The following program provides a progression from fundamentals and focuses on building STRENGTH for skiing and snowboarding. Using no more than a suspension trainer, you can do this ski workout at home. Each exercise should be performed 8-12 times for 2-4 sets, with slow movements and a rest period of 1-2 minutes between each set. Complete all sets of each individual exercise before moving on to the next exercise.
A. Arm Extension with Suspension Trainer
Proper body positioning is important for skiing and snowboarding. Upper body strength will help to control movement and maintain stability while on the slopes.
B. Row with Suspension Trainer
Your spine is responsible for posture and stability throughout the day, whether it’s in the office or on the slopes. Posterior chain strength has an important role in stabilizing the spine and maintaining its function.
C. Hip bridge
A strong connection between the glutes, hip stabilizers, and your lower back is a critical factor for overall fundamental hip movement. The hip bridge strengthens all of these areas and promotes proper functional strength and movement.
D. One-legged Elbow Plank
Core engagement is another crucial point in balance and stability. Dynamic core exercises that also activate the glute muscles help to ensure proper core movement and muscle contraction.
E. Plank Trunk Cross
This exercise provides a mixture of functional spine stability, balance, and rotational mobility. Mastering this movement will help you to adjust your body position while your center of mass is in motion. This exercise engages and strengthens the muscles required to maintain balance while skiing and snowboarding.
F. Heel Raises
Despite wearing boots all day, ankle mobility is also an important factor for skiing and snowboarding. Having good control and strong ankle movement will reduce localized fatigue, improve riding stance, and help your riding skills.
G. Leg Curl Hip Flex with Suspension Trainer
Lack of knee balance due to muscle fatigue or joint stress is a major factor in many sports injuries. The following exercise is great for improving knee balance and joint dynamics. Definitely a very useful exercise for your ski workout.
This classic multi-joint exercise is fundamental to your fitness and has serious performance benefits. Focus on proper flexion and movement of the hip-knee-ankle complex by moving all three joints in unison, while maintaining balance over the center of the foot.
I. Bulgarian lunge
This exercise promotes contraction of the knee stabilizer muscles that will reduce on hill fatigue and help to prevent knee injuries.
A pre-season ski workout is important for a healthy enjoyable winter. No one wants to spend the first couple of weeks on the hill wishing they had the strength to make it to the bottom, or worse yet, getting injured. Proper preparation will go a long way in helping you to get the most out of your time on the hill. Ultimately how you get ready for the season is up to you, but we will be getting ready for our first turns in the gym. We hope to see you there and on the slopes.
Winter is coming. We will be ready! Will you?
About The Author
Albert Pinol Olea is the Head Exercise Physiologist, Trainer, and Founder of ATHL. Exercise Training. He is a registered Strength & Conditioning coach with a long history in the sports medicine field and has worked as the head coach and trainer for the Worldcup Spanish Freestyle Snowboarding Team. Albert spent 2 seasons working as a trainer in Hakuba Japan and now offers rehabilitation and training to clients throughout the world through ATHL. Exercise Training.
A Note From Events Hakuba
Albert is an exceptional trainer with tons of experience working with sports athletes and he personally helped me to recover from a broken ankle. I broke my ankle in the first couple of weeks of the winter season. With Albert’s help, I was able to put my boots on within 8 weeks of the injury and was back skiing full days within the season. I couldn’t have done it without Albert’s help. Take advantage of his expertise, try out the program above, and be sure to contact him for more advice.
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