Preparing well for skiing means proper physical training before you arrive on the slopes. Skiing as a sport calls on all the body’s muscles and more specifically thighs, abs, and arms. So it is important to work these muscle groups over time. Good physical preparation will mean less fatigue at the end of the day so you’ll be able to enjoy après-ski activities serenely. Below, we present the different steps in your pre-ski training:
Work on your aerobic capacity. Cardio training is endurance training for your heart muscles. The following exercises will help to better fight the fatigue that comes from the physical effort but also from the altitude which can bring on shortness of breath. Jogging a minimum of 45 minutes per outing is ideal for improving endurance. The important thing for beginners is to gradually and regularly increase their jogging time until they reach 45 minutes. When running, it is important not to stop suddenly; after a run, walk to cool down and bring your heart rate down progressively.
For non-runners, there are several possible alternatives: speed walking, biking or swimming. The important thing is to set objectives and to stick to them so the results are efficient and long-lasting.
Don’t hesitate to incorporate cardio training into your daily activities by avoiding the elevator and taking the stairs to optimize results.
Develop your core. Core work exercises the complete torso - not only abdominal muscles but also back muscles - and is good for toning and stabilizing the entire body. Core training will mean better skiing, greater stability and balance, and better muscle tone all of which will also come in handy when you fall.
A very simple exercise like the chair will quickly give good results: place your back against the wall and bend your legs at a 90° angle as though you were sitting on a chair. You should be able to do 3 times 30 seconds or 1 minute if you’re stronger. The advantage with this exercise is that you work your thighs at the same time!
There are also core exercises which can be done laying on one’s back, stomach or side, but it is important to be well-placed so as to avoid injury. Lie on your stomach and place your weight on your forearms and toes, keeping the back straight, contracting the abdominal muscles, and holding the body in a straight line. Hold this position for 2 sets of 30 seconds to 1 minute with a 30 second interval.
Muscle strength. It is now time to strengthen the muscles so they are more resistant to physical effort and muscular stress. Strengthening the abdominals and the quadriceps is an absolute necessity for skiing. For the abs, the exercise to do is a series of crunches. Lie on your back, bend the knees, and place the hands to either side of the ears; imagine bringing your navel to your spine while lifting the top of the torso towards your knees. Do 3 sets of 30 seconds with 30 second intervals. You can then work the obliques by twisting the torso towards the knees as you come up.
For the thighs, squats or lunges will work the entire muscle group. To do squats, stand with your feet shoulder- width apart, slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles until you reach a 90° angle and slowly return to the standing position. Do 3 30-second sets with 30 second intervals. You can also do lunges being careful to not let the knee move beyond a 90° angle.
Some ski resorts such as Les Contamines-Montjoie or La Feclaz organise workshops for physical preparation training for skiing.
And once you’ve finished your training exercises, don’t forget to stretch which you’ll also do before hitting the slopes and after your last run.
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