Skiing is a popular Winter pursuit for many but how often do we turn up slightly ill-prepared and spend the first couple of days battling horrendous stiffness and aches and pains.
And just when your body has fully got the hang of it all… it’s time to go home!
We are firmly in the European ski season so if you really want to prepare, the time is now..!
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Joey Bull is a leading international fitness expert, a multiple Fitness Champion and a resident of the Swiss Alps where she can indulge in plenty of winter pursuits on the slopes.
So who better to ask a few questions!
Why is it so important to get fit ahead of the ski season?
A long day at a higher altitude than you are used to, kitted up in attire you are not used to is just one reason to consider getting fit ahead of a ski holiday.
Then factor in the physical aspect of being in a variation of a squat position
much of the day, leaning into the front of the boots and not being able to straighten your knees like a normal day at home, there’s another reason to get your legs accustomed to some winter sports conditioning.
Prepare for a full body workout
But above all, if skiing/snowboarding is a reasonably infrequent sport in your life, there can be a fair amount of tension in navigating yourself around, staying upright, picking yourself up after a tumble, avoiding other tourists and hanging on to drag lifts for dear life.
It can be exhausting!
And that’s before mentioning the after ski temptations of rich food and fun nights out, probably still in your ski kit!
Perfect the basics before you start
Having that good fitness base is going to save you so much energy and it means that you can be buzzing around the slopes all day rather than feeling achey, shattered and guilty about wishing the day to end.
Ski passes are expensive, make the most of skiing all that terrain and soaking up the wonder of it all without any regrets of not being fit enough!
What elements of fitness should a ski bunny be looking to improve?
Should you start with endurance, lower limb… strength?
The best things to improve for a ski holiday is leg strength and bursts of short explosive fitness
. Mostly a ski run down takes little time, a few minutes, then the ski lift up takes longer.
So that’s your rest time.
Any high level skier does work to strengthen the core. But it is also important to keep the core mobile and not just rigid and strong. More obviously important is the leg conditioning.
What are your top exercises/workouts for areas of fitness noted above?
To get the heart and lungs in shape for these Alpine outings, look at short sharp pushes in your usual run or bike or training session.
No need to pound away for 30 minutes, just use 15 minutes really effectively.
Say three minutes warm up, then a minute of higher intensity, followed by a minute or two of lower. Keep alternating and making that alternate active minute really work for you.
Those legs need to be used to holding a mid squat position while skiing or boarding, with a few ups and downs and bumps.
Regular leg pressing or lunges help, but they won’t hit the spot.
Varying the weight distribution on the feet
Move side to side slowly while holding a squat, bouncing in a squat
, holding a squat on a camber incline so that one thigh is more loaded than the other, will awaken your ski legs.
Then add a few power jumps and you’ve earned yourself some ski stamina.
Working on an unpredictable surface
Try using something inflated, wobbly or spongy (wobbly board, Bosu, a pile of towels or a mattress) as this will highlight all the weak spots and ensure all muscles are engaged.
We’re getting nitty gritty here but this is the stuff that gets you ready and makes a difference.
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