In the last two months, we’ve seen a massive rise in clients who have stated on their feedback and booking forms that their primary reason for booking is for some pre-season ski fitness. If you’re planning to take a ski or snowboard holiday, you should begin preparing for it at least three months before you go, as that’s where the pre-season training can really make a big difference. Just one week at New You Escapes is the equivalent to doing just over four months of training in the gym for four hours per week. So for those who have left their training until the last minute, New You Escapes is the perfect place to go!
There are several benefits to New You Escapes’ pre-season training: –
At New You Escapes, we focus on the same key areas needed to get in shape for your winter ski season, but you can also prepare at home using the following handy guide and exercise suggestions.
Strength training should focus on your legs. Exercises such as squats, leg press, lunges and calf raises will help build the muscles in your legs most effectively. Leg extensions and leg curls can also help.
Endurance work is often ignored by people preparing for winter sports. However, you will be on your feet for hours every day, working hard at high altitude, so endurance is a must. Sports where you are on your feet are best, including running, stepping, cross trainers and cycling. These will help to build up the all important muscles around your knees. Endurance exercises are necessary so that muscles will be better able to cope with fatigue at the end of a busy day when injuries are most likely to occur. Circuit training is good preparation as not only are you working different sets of muscles, but you are also keeping the heart rate up for an extended period of time, thus increasing your stamina. You can devise your own circuit training programme by going running somewhere like a park or beach. This allows you plenty of time and space to include sets of press-ups, crunches, star jumps, lunges and squats in your usual run – as long as you don’t mind attracting a few looks. You can also use obstacles such as benches, fences or playgrounds to do dips, steps and other exercises. Weight training is also good for both strength and endurance.
Core stability can provide you with a muscular framework to protect your lower back, particularly as fatigue sets in. One good exercise for the stomach and back is the side plank. Lie on your side and raise your upper body onto your elbow. Try and keep your shoulders, hips and legs parallel so that your body is straight. Raise the rest of your body so that your weight is supported on the elbow and foot that are in contact with the floor. Hold this for as long as you can, keeping your stomach and lower back muscles engaged to maintain the posture. If this is too easy for you then raise your body on your hand rather than your elbow. You can also do raises with the upper leg if you really want to show off!
Joints and muscles need to have the correct range of motion to be able to perform the actions required for skiing and snowboarding. Good flexibility also enables the skier to be able to cope better with the inevitable falls. Regular stretching prior to the season will improve your flexibility and repeating these stretches just before you head up the mountain will warm your joints and muscles up, making you less prone to being injured. Stretching should be gradual and gentle – do not “bounce” on a stretch or push yourself so far that it hurts. Once you have reached what you feel is full stretch, breathe out and relax. So many people hold their breath and stiffen when they are trying to bend further. Yoga and stretch sessions are incorporated in to New You Escapes and can be beneficial for teaching you how to compliment stretching with breathing, to maximise the benefits.
Great reaction times and the ability to be quick on one’s feet can help your athleticism and again reduce the risk of incurring injury. A simple piece of kit, such as a skipping rope, can provide a good work out. Alternatively, try doing some of the static exercises (such as squats) on a wobble board. If you have a bit of space, such as a garden or driveway, you could set up a “slalom course” using obstacles that you do short shuttle runs through. You could also lay a ladder or a series of hoops on the ground and either run along them, placing your feet in the gaps, or jump from one gap to the next. Start slowly and build up, otherwise you could end up flat on your face!
To put it simply, getting fit before you go on a skiing trip means you’ll get more out of your time on the mountain and reduce your chance of injury. Most skiers who take regular trips know the feeling of their skiing “just coming together” as they’re about to go home. This is frustrating, partly due to re-familiarising yourself with an activity that you do infrequently, and partly waiting for your muscles and joints to get used to working together in a coordinated fashion. A New You Escapes break is a perfect way to get fit before going on your annual ski trip!