The season here in Europe has all but ended, and with the seasonaires laying out on their terraces evening out their goggle tans, we’re already thinking about how to get in shape for next season (it comes around quicker than you think!).
So before you start thinking about booking cheap snow holidays for the 2018/19 season, you need to think about the strength and conditioning exercises you can use to get you ready for when you do arrive in resort.
Obviously, this isn’t just a vanity thing, and while you will look good and feel great after doing these exercises, they also have a great ski/snowboard-related purpose. They are the kinds of exercises that use the same muscles you will when you’re on the slopes. This will prevent you from getting injured, and it will also help you with maintaining stamina on your runs, meaning you’re much more likely to enjoy your time on the slopes.
Here are four of the best exercises you can do to get you nicely set up for the ski season...
Kick things off by hugging a heavy medicine ball. You can choose the ideal weight for you, but we’d advise going for anything from 5kg up to 25kg, depending on your strength and ability level.
The medicine ball should be held to your chest as you lower into a squat position. While keeping that low position, get stuck into some short, pulse-style pump squats without coming back up to your start. These pumps should only have you moving an inch or so.
Remember, your muscles should remain contracting at all times. Medicine ball pump squats build local muscular endurance in the quads, lower back and glutes.
You should be aiming for three sets that last for 60 seconds each.
Load a bar with 40kg. Start by bending your knees slightly, keeping your back straight, and then lean forward with the barbell, using your hips as the hinge point.
Push and squeeze those glutes and fire the hamstrings as you bring your hips forward as you return to a standing position. Don’t arch your back over or you risk injury, so keep your form solid and stay controlled.
This exercise is important to avoid ACL injuries as it helps to improve hamstring strength. Working those hamstrings means you’re helping to stabilise your knee joint, which will mean you avoid unwanted injuries.
Look to complete four sets of eight for this exercise; 32 in total.
Your feet need to be shoulder-width apart for this exercise. In a controlled, smooth motion, squat down, so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don't allow your body to fall forwards, and keep your knees behind the line of your toes.
The next motion is to jump as high as you can in the air, exploding off the floor! As you land, try and make it a soft one on the balls of your feet. Doing this will help your muscles when you’re skiing quickly and will also help you drive out of those silky turns on the slopes.
We suggest four sets of four repetitions for squat jumps.
This one’s a bit of a strange exercise, but if you’re not concerned about looking odd in the gym, you’ve got nothing to worry about!
Start by walking at normal walking speed on a treadmill; this is around three miles per hour. You then need to increase the incline on the machine to its highest level.
The next part needs to be done really carefully because you have to turn around and face backwards on the treadmill. Essentially, you’re walking backwards uphill, so as you walk, steadily fall to a squat so that your knees are almost at 90 degrees as if you’re emulating the tuck position of a skier.
Don't try and be a hero though; you still need to hold on to the treadmill arms while doing this exercise because you do not want to be taking any embarrassing tumbles on a steep treadmill!
The point of this backwards treadmill walk is to increase your muscle endurance in your glutes and quads.
Go for three sets, minute in length and gradually build up to three sets of three minutes as you progress.