You know what it’s like, you wait all year for your precious winter sports holiday and then, by day three, those muscles that you didn’t even know you had are throbbing and you’re wondering if you should spend the day in bed. Luckily there’s no need to miss even an hour of action on the slopes if you take a little time to get your ski fitness levels up before you go.
Most of us wouldn’t set out to run a marathon (or even a 10k fun run) without putting in a little training to get ourselves ready, and yet many people head off on their annual ski holiday with little or no preparation.
If you’re lucky you’ll be spending up to seven hours a day on the slopes so why not spend a little time before you go making sure that this year’s holiday is a pleasure not a pain? Here’s my guide for a ‘get fit quick’ ski fitness regime which will have you out on the slopes at your best in no time.
Work on Your Core
When you think about which muscles you use for skiing and snowboarding you probably think about that burning sensation in your quads and that ache in your glutes, but it’s actually your core which should be the key area to kick off your ski fitness regime. That’s because a strong core will make the use of all your other muscles more effective. Check out some core exercises online as this is the best place to start.
Once your core is in shape move on to your quads and glutes. Squats make for the most perfect ski fitness exercise as they target exactly the same muscles that you will be pounding on the slopes. Start gently but work your way up to holding your squat for up to one minute.
Lunges, step back lunges and balancing are all great for building up strength in your key leg muscles, as well as improving balance which is vital in both skiing and snowboarding. Don’t worry if you wobble at first (it’s okay to hold on to something initially), you will improve with repetition, and you’ll see all your hard work reflected in your improved skiing!
Strike a Pose
Yoga may not seem very compatible with the high-octane thrills and spills of skiing or snowboarding, but if you want to really tone those glutes and quads then it can be a great way to do it. The Bridge Pose, in particular, works your core as well as those vital leg muscles you’re going to need on the slopes.
Once you’ve worked on all these exercises why not try combining them into a plyometric series. This high-intensity work out will not only strengthen your muscles, using things like squat jumps, lateral jumps and balance, and box jumps, it will also improve your coordination (another key winter sports skill).
Take the Stairs
Getting a ski fitness regime going can be a great way to get in shape for your ski holiday, but if the idea of going to the gym gives you the horror, then try to add a few simple exercises into your daily routine. For the weeks before you go, take the stairs (take them two at a time and you’ll soon feel your muscles begin to improve). Try core exercises like the plank at home or even wall squats while you’re watching TV. Just remember, the more you exercise you do before you go, the more fun you’ll have on the slopes.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re heading off on a winter break to test your ski fitness at any of the resorts in Europe, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport of your choice swiftly and safely.