Skiing is a very physically challenge sport and therefore requires adequate physical preperation if it is to be performed both safely and with enjoyment. In this article we will talk through the physical characterists required for skiing and then look at how you can improve these physical characteristics through both resistance training and cardiovascular training.
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Skiing can be a very dangerous sport, especially for those who are performing the more extreme style competition skiing. However it can pose a risk to recreational skiiers who perform very little physical activity throughout the year and then demand their bodies to perform physically difficult tasks days on end. This is especially true as we age, when injury can be more challenging to recover from.
Waking up with a great deal of delayed onset muscle soreness after your first days skiing isn’t fun. We all know those early morning walks carry skis in our ski boots are difficult enough, even without having to deal with pain in the muscles in our legs. Being physically prepared for skiing can help prevent the prevalence of this muscle soreness, helping you focus on finding flow and enjoying your skiing to the maximum.
Making technical improvements to your skiing can be challenging enough as it is, but when you’re dealing with physical fatigue it can be nearly impossible to think about improving your technique. If you are physically prepared for your ski trip you will be better able to focus on improving your technique, rather than just getting through the day.
Skiing requires both strong knees and quadriceps, being in constant knee flexion for a sustained period of time can be challenging for a lot of people. This is why having a strong and endurant lower body can be highly beneficial for recreational skiiers looking to enjoy their week.
Skiing requires good balance on two feet and one foot, this is because we are constantly shifting our weight from one foot to the other when using the correct ski technique. Having good balance will help building competent technique that will allow you to flow whilst on the slopes. Poor technique can create a lot of tension in the body and take away from the about of fun you have on the slopes. A good test of your balance is your ability to perform Ski Jumps , if you cannot perform these, aim to make this possible before your next ski trip!
Falling is pretty common when you go on a ski trip, it’s just likely to happen at some point, therefore having strong and resistant lower back will be of great benefit to help deal with these falls. I actually have a friend who had a severe injury while skiing, the doctor said that the gravity of the injury would have been much more severe if he were not in such good physical condition. The often unseen benefits of resistance training, like increased bone density, can have a huge impact not only in day to day life but also when it comes to sports like skiing.
The core can be tough to define, and a lot of us have different ideas of what it is, that being said, we all think roughly think about the abdominals, the obliques, the erector spinea, and all of these are important when it comes to skiing. The core musculature allows us to move as one system through tying all the major muscle groups together. This often results in a general feeling of physical competence not only when performing day to day tasks but also when on the slopes.
The quadriceps and the glutes are constantly in a flexion-extension rebound through a short range of motion when skiing, this is often powerful extension which is especially important when tackling more challenging slopes and moguls. This is why having the ability to create powerful extension will be important. The ability to take impact in the knees and hips is also crucial, again this is for the more advanced skiiers, when dynamic loading of the knees and hips occurs the body needs to be ready for this type of physical task.
Skiing requires some general endurance, it usually takes up the vast majority of the day, and although it does not put a great of stress on the cardiovascular system, if you have very poor levels of cardiovascular fitness you will certainly feel this on your ski trip. This is why performing low intensity steady state cardiovascular training can be highly beneficial when preparing for your ski trip and also for your general health.
Now we have defined the physiological characteristics for skiing, we can select training emphasis based on these:
Monday - Full Body Resistance Training
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Low Intensity Steady State
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Full Body Resistance Training
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Hike / Long Walk
A1) Goblet Squats
A2) Ski Jumps
B1) Wall Assisted Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift
B2) DB Bench Press
B3) Suitcase Holds
A) 45 Minute Bike Erg @conversational pace
A) Seated Jumps
C1) Squat In Lunge
C2) Tripod Stance Row
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.