We’ve all been there: your ski holiday is booked, you’re dreaming of perfect pistes and amazing après and then that voice in your head tells you that you really should get ski fit first… And it’s true!
Skiing is so much fun that it’s easy to forget that it is, in fact, a sport. And it’s worthwhile to spend some time working on your ski fitness beforehand, so you can get that much more enjoyment out of your holiday. You’ll also be able to explore more of the mountain before getting fatigued and most importantly – help prevent any potential injuries.
Ski Fitness for your Ski Holiday
How to boost your ski fitness
Skiing and snowboarding require the use of all of the major muscle groups. So it’s worth thinking about your whole body – rather than just focusing on one body area (such as your legs).
Ski fitness can be broken down into three main types of exercise:
- Aerobic fitness – to give you the stamina to keep going through ’til last lifts
- Strength training – allowing specific muscles to work continuously for long periods of time (aka those thighs!)
- Flexibility – gives you more range of motion for those turns and helps prevent injury
Aerobic fitness for skiing
It’s important to focus on aerobic fitness as this is something that will be affected by the altitude. The high altitude of ski resorts has less oxygen in the air, and therefore, will make any cardio workout a bit tougher than it is at a lower elevation.
The best way to improve aerobic fitness is to train for a longer period of time at a manageable pace. The usual suspects of swimming, cycling, and running are all excellent for improving aerobic fitness levels. You could also try skipping – which is great for co-ordination, balance, and agility – and rowing if at all possible.
Skiing and boarding also include bursts of anaerobic exercise from time to time. On your way down you’re often working harder than the amount of oxygen you can breathe in, before resting on a lift and doing it again. So interval training – short bursts of exercise followed by a rest period and then repeated – can also help increase your all-around ski fitness.
Strength training for skiing
It’s important to have a decent level of strength to allow you to get the most out of your day on the slopes. If you want to give yourself the best chance of improving your turns, perfecting off-piste, acing a bumps run (while staying injury free) then it’s undeniable that strength will be a big factor. Once you’ve built up a good level of aerobic fitness you can focus on training your legs and core. Too many people focus heavily on cardio fitness when strength is usually the limiting factor.
Try to focus on exercise that involves the muscles you use on the slopes, such as your core and legs, in a way that closely mimics the movements you make on your skis. We’ve got 4 quick exercises that you can do in your home that will help get you ski-ready.
Want to get some expert advice on how to build strength for your next ski trip? Visit Peak Condition in London and take advantage of their complementary ski performance assessment at their studio. You’ll find out everything you need to know about ski training for your specific needs.
Flexibility for skiing
Flexibility is also an important element of ski fitness. Forgetting to stretch after a ski will cause your muscles to shorten. So to maintain flexibility make sure you stretch after each day on the slopes. Hopefully, you’ve got a wood burner in the chalet you can sit in front of and make it feel less like a chore!
If your flexibility is poor you might want to consider yoga or some longer stretching sessions. Improved flexibility not only will improve your skiing but also reduces your risk of injury.
Out of time? Get ski fit fast
Heading out skiing very soon and realised you’ve missed the fitness boat? You haven’t! Something is better than nothing. Here are a few quick exercises you can do at home without equipment that will give you that extra boost to ensure you’re slope-ready.
We recommend 30-second sets of the following for a few repetitions:
- Wall Sit – A skier’s best friend the ‘wall sit’. It may feel like your thighs are on fire but it will get you strong in no time.
- Squats – It’s important to strengthen all of your leg muscles so the active but classic ‘squat’ is a good one.
- Lunges – Not only does this dynamic exercise work wonders we think you look pretty stylish while doing it.
- Sit-ups – Don’t focus solely on your legs. A strong core will help you just as much whilst skiing.
- Plank – The plank works your whole body so is a great one to finish on. Plus if you are tired afterwards you are perfectly positioned to lie down for a nap!
We can’t promise this will carry you up a couloir with your skis on your back, but it should see you through to last lifts with the occasional hot chocolate break thrown in for good measure. Fueling before a workout is very important after all!