There are many articles out there that give you advice on how to strengthen your muscles and prepare for skiing. The only problem with these exercises is that most are used to improve the overall body conditioning, but are not as useful for skiers.
When you are a skier, you use your whole body, particularly your legs and core. It is important that these are strong, but not to neglect other parts of your body such as the upper torso to perfect form. When it comes to skiing, it is important to understand exactly what will work and improve your body’s overall capacity to tackle the slopes.
What Should I Train For Ski?
The most used portion of your body in skiing is the legs. This includes a wide range of muscles and how to develop them, including quads, hamstrings, and calves. Strength training for skiing is extremely important as well as beneficial. The normal routines would include extensive stretching to loosen the muscles and to prevent any unnecessary injuries from popping up.
Strengthening Your Muscles
To strengthen the hamstring, squats and curls can be utilized to build the muscle. To avoid any pulling of the muscle, it is critical that this be done without any weight, then gradually added to the workout. Leg raises are also another good leg muscle exercise that is performed on the ground belly first, to lift each leg off the floor while remaining straight.
To strengthen the quads, heel slides can be incorporated into the exercise routine. These are simple to do, just sit with your legs straight out before you and slide one leg up at a time to work the front muscles in the leg. Using a stretching band can increase resistance and in doing so will work and strengthen these muscles.
Another of these, including the squats that are also good for the quads, is an alternate method of this called wall slides. These are done with your back against the wall and your arms out to the sides as you slide up and down against the wall, pressing against your weight the farther down you go. This is a great way to strength train for skiers.
To strengthen the calves there are several variations to do so. You can do steps, where you step up on a surface two to three inches off the floor, and use your legs to lift you up and then step back down and repeat. Or you can lift up onto the tips of your toes and bring your heels back to the floor.
Don’t Forget The Core
Skiing requires more than leg strength. Core strength is crucial. A strong core helps protect the back during those unexpected pits and bumps on the slopes. It stabilizes the body. It minimizes the impact on the knees. But don’t fly into set after set of power sit-ups trying to turn those abs into ribs of steel.
Core Strength Exercises for Skiers
Whether a professional or beginner, a good skier should maintain a static, but loose position. Bent knees, low center of gravity, and a slight lean can help ensure you won’t make an unexpected face-plant, or lose your skies out from underneath you. This sounds simple enough, but as run after run will demonstrate, it takes its toll. Concentrate on exercises that will help you to maintain this position for the duration of your run.
Lay on a bench and move to where your upper body is hanging off the end. Your hips should be at the edge of the bench. Have someone brace your legs. Slowly, carefully, tighten your core and lift your torso, then gently lower it again. If you don’t have a bench, you can do this on the floor, but preferably you need to lay on something that you can “dangle” off of so you feel the full benefit.
This isn’t an exercise to rush through. Make sure each movement is careful, and slow. Hold the upright position for a count of ten, then slowly lower your torso. Repeat. Try to work up to holding the position for 45 seconds.
For Back Injuries
If you have a back injury, try this. Lie flat on the floor, face down. Stretch your arms in front of you, and your legs behind you. Alternate lifting your right arm and left leg, with your left arm and right leg, then raise arms and legs together and repeat. You should have a slightly curved back and are working your abs. You will feel the burn along the sides of your lower back, and in your abs.
In yoga, there is a pose, or asana, called plank. Again, lie face down on the floor, and brace your hands just underneath your shoulders. Curl your toes underneath you, and rise into a push-up position. Now, lower yourself halfway, and hold for ten seconds. Repeat.
If you want to get those crunches in, use a stability ball. You are forced to use the muscles that matter, rather than depending on your neck or tailbone to ease you up and down. The ball should brace your lower back and tailbone area. Place your feet at a comfortable distance from the ball: the closer you feet are to the ball, the more difficult the crunch.
Tuck your chin slightly (you can make fists underneath your chin to help) , contract your stomach, and slowly raise to a near-seated position. Slowly lower yourself back down. This exercise will not only engage your abs, but requires upper leg strength as well. Start with three repetitions of five.
Sit on the ground, knees raised. Slowly twist your torso to your right, as far as your body will allow, and lower your hands, letting your body lean. Repeat on the opposite side, moving very slowly and deliberately. Eventually you may want to use a weighted ball for this exercise. Be certain to give those abs a chance to engage. Do not use your shoulders for this exercise. The bending and twisting should be in your abs only, with the upper body to follow.
After performing these exercises, be certain to gently stretch your back muscles. Bend forward and touch your toes. While you’re down, carefully twist from one side to the other to stretch the side muscles. Stretch your arms over your head, and perform simple side stretches. Be sure to breath and allow your body to relax.
These exercises are simple and can be varied depending on what you wish to do. Weights and stretching bands can be incorporated for resistance and further strength to get the best stretch possible. These leg muscle exercises will help you prevent injuries and are great additions to leg strength training for skiers.