Here are some great exercises to get you fit and ready for winter, so you can make the most out of your trip to the snow!
Squats are probably the single best exercise to prepare the legs for skiing/snowboarding and build the strength needed for all the vertical movement that is required to flow neatly and smoothly down the slopes.
Try mixing it up with a variety of weights and repetitions (reps) as this will give you a good balance of strength and stamina.
Heavy weights with less reps (4-10) per set: This could be barbell, dumbbell or if you don’t have access to a gym simply some heavy items you can hold or place in bags to hold.
Lighter weights or even bodyweight with more reps (20+)
Isometric wall squats (30-120 seconds hold) with your back flat against a wall and knees bent at 90 degrees.
Top Tips: flex appropriately at the ankles, knees and hips to ensure the bar/dumbbells (if using) remain directly above the centre of the feet at all times. Keep your lower back neutral (no rounding or excess arching) and don’t let your knees come in (valgus knee). Keep your eyes up, your abs tense and your feet flat. Aim to get your femur (thigh bone) parallel to the floor at the bottom of the squat.
Again these can be done with a variety of weight and equipment.
Incorporating forward and reverse lunges both stationary and walking into your training will really get the legs and your balance in good shape!
Top Tip: Keep your torso upright with your feet hip width apart, then step far enough forward or back so that when you move straight down your knees flex around 90 degrees with your back knee 1-2cm from the floor.
This is a great way to strengthen your abs and obliques which will not only help stabilise you on the mountain but really help with any freestyle tricks you’re going to work on.
Sit on the ground or mat with your back and thighs 45 degrees to the floor keeping your feet in the air. Then rotate your torso from one side to the other. Try this for 30s to start with, then add time as it gets easier.
Top Tip: Straightening your legs and arms will make it harder, as will adding weight in the form of a medicine ball, weight plate, kettle bell, dumbbell etc.
Another fantastic way to strengthen your core and abdominal muscles. A mixture of front and side planks will really get you in shape for the winter adventures ahead. To start with try 60s for a front plank and 30s for each side planks. Then add time as you get stronger.
Top Tips: balance on your feet and forearms and keep your body in a straight line from your neck all the way to your ankles. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core. To challenge yourself try different variations of raising opposing legs and arms (either individually or together) whilst holding the plank but remember to keep your hips square.
Tuning into your body’s balance systems and working the muscles that keep you upright and in control is also a great idea before heading to the snow!
You can do this in many ways with varying difficulty, and can be practiced balancing on two legs or one. Start easy by standing on a cushion or pillow, then you can progress to a wobble board, a BOSU or for a real challenge a Swiss ball.
Top Tip: To make it harder try catching and throwing a ball whilst balancing or shut your eyes and “air write” your name out in front of you. (If you’re on top of a Swiss ball I recommend staying on both feet with your eyes open!)
Some simple upper body exercises like press ups, chin ups and rotator cuff rotations can also really help prevent injury from the odd inevitable fall.
Doing multiple sets of these exercises with a rest between (take longer rests when using heavier weights) is a fantastic starting point but don’t be afraid to get creative, this will help keep it fun and fresh!