As the days get colder in many parts of Europe and the winter holiday season approaches, so does the much anticipated ski season. If you’re counting down the days until you can pack your suitcase and head to the slopes, be sure to take a look at these exercises to help ensure that your body is ready so you can get the most out of your trip.
Although jogging and more general workouts are of course healthy for your body and wellbeing, there are some more particular exercises needed to gain the necessary level of fitness and flexibility for a safe and fun ski holiday. These help build both your up cardiovascular fitness (for skiing and also coping with the thinner air at altitude), and muscles (like stabilising muscles) that we don’t typically focus on at the gym. Poor physical fitness can contribute to accidents in the mountains, so by doing your best to prepare pre-trip, you can enjoy it to the full once you’re there.
Skiing and snowboarding are very complete sports, which require good cardiovascular capacity, plus strength and endurance in the muscles of the lower body and the coreDominique Bosca, Personal Trainer at Aspria
Tips to bear in mind
The Aspria wellbeing team stresses the importance of incorporating technique into your training. “At Aspria Brussels Avenue Louise, we run a series of circuit-based classes designed specifically for those getting ready for a ski trip. These workouts incorporate legs, core, stability, balance, flexibility and cardio, but I also help members get to grips with some of the fundamentals of skiing, using exercises that simulate some of the moves they will need to do on the slopes. For ski turns, for example, we work on transfer of body weight, keeping the weight forward rather than sitting back, and isolating the upper and lower body. In the end, strong legs aren’t enough to make you a good skier. You need good technique too – and some of this can be developed in the gym!”
Kjell Mailleux, Wellbeing Manager and Floriane de Maere, Wellbeing Advisor, show you some of those exercises.
Sessions on the rowing machine are a great full-body workout, builds your general fitness and stamina through cardio, as well as working your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, arms, and back muscles.
2. Squats on Bosu
Highlighting how important it is to do exercises that challenge your balance, Kjell recommends doing exercises standing on one leg in order to build up stabilising muscles, or performing them while standing on a Bosu. “For example a simple squat is far more challenging when you’re trying to maintain your balance at the same time”, he explains.
3. ViPR Ice Skater
The ViPR ice targets the outer thighs as well as (although to a lesser degree) the biceps, calves, forearms, glutes, groin, hamstrings, hip flexors, lats, lower back, middle back, quads, shoulders and triceps.
4. Power Pull TRX
The primary benefit of Power Pull TRX exercises is back strength, as it develops the large muscles in the upper back.
5. Russian Twists on Swissball
This is a great abdominals exercise which promotes stability and coordination as well as strengthening the core.
As always when exercising, stretching is key. Florianne reminds us, “Don’t forget to work on your flexibility. Regular stretching before your ski holiday – as well as gentle stretching before each day of skiing – will not only help your performance on the slopes, with your body more able to move freely. It will also help ensure a fall – something that might cause a holiday-ruining injury if your body has no ‘give’ in it – is no more than a minor hiccup from which you can get up and carry on skiing.”