If you want to stay in skiing and snowboarding shape all year long, you need to invest your energy in off-season ski training. All of the aspects of fitness that you use while skiing including muscular strength and power, muscular endurance, flexibility and balance should be included in your off-season plan. A well-rounded plan will ensure that you're ready to hit the slopes when ski season arrives.
The Best Off-Season Ski Training
The best off-season ski training is consistent, progressive and well-rounded. When an exercise or a routine becomes easy, add resistance or work harder in order to continue seeing results.
Not only is cardiovascular exercise just plain good for your health, the right exercises will help you stay in shape for ski season. Choose cardiovascular exercises that work your legs, butt and core, helping to keep your "skiing muscles" strong throughout the year. Interval training is particularly helpful because it mimics the alternating effort required during a tough run down the slopes, followed by a period of rest as you ride the lift back to the top. The best cardiovascular exercises for skiing include:
If you're a cross-country skier, you may want to invest in a cross-country ski machine which would allow you to mimic the skiing movement throughout the year.
As you fly down the mountain in a crouch, you probably start feeling the burn in your calves, thighs, hips and butt. If you spend a lot of time turning or trying moguls, you probably also start experiencing fatigue in your abs and back. The strength of your legs and core are especially important when skiing. Not only will remaining strong help prevent ski fatigue, it can also help prevent injuries that could keep you from hitting the slopes. Make sure you incorporate the following exercises into your off-season ski training routine:
- Wall squats
- Calf raises
- Hamstring curls
- Straight-leg dead lifts
- Bicycle crunches
- Stability ball crunches
After targeting your lower body and core, balance out your routine by performing exercises that will strengthen your chest and back. You can add to this routine as you see fit, but at a minimum, perform these three total upper body exercises:
- Pull-up or assisted pull-up
- Push-up or modified push-up
- Chair dips
Balance and Power Training
When you hit an icy patch or an area of unexpectedly deep snow while skiing, it's important that you're able to maintain your balance. Similarly, in order to make quick movements and powerfully change direction, you need to have muscular power. You can accomplish these two tasks by incorporating balance training and plyometric training into your routine. To improve your balance, try performing a set of squats while standing on a BOSU ball or using a stability ball to perform hamstring curls. To improve your power, perform a set of squat jumps or up-downs.
Remaining flexible will help prevent injuries and maintain range of motion. If you've ever fallen while skiing, you probably know that your arms, legs and body all fly out in different directions, and you don't have a whole lot of control where they go. A flexible body will have more success at falling without injury than an inflexible body. Spend five to 15 minutes at the end of every workout routine cooling down and stretching out.
How Much You Should Exercise
It probably sounds like your off-season ski training workout is going to be a doozy. It's actually not as hard as it seems. Aim to get 30 to 40 minutes of cardio, three or four days a week, then set aside two or three days for strength training. If you perform two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, it'll only take 20 to 30 minutes. Add the balance and power training moves at least once a week, adding another five to 10 minutes to your routine. With your stretching time included, you're only looking at an hour of exercise each day, five to six days a week - just about what you're supposed to be getting for health-related fitness. If that still seems excessive, take heart knowing that any consistent exercise routine will help keep you fit, which will end up paying off on the slopes.