With all of the storms that keep pounding California, ski resorts are bousting record snow falls. Mammoth received over 185” in 20 days and snow summit has a base of several feet which is the most they have had in years. With all of this “white gold” most athletes can’t wait to head to the hills. However, as with any sport, preparation is the key to success. Without it, you will increase the risk of injury as well as limit your time on the snow. Most of us know how important it is to have a regular exercise routine for basic health, yet that task becomes more difficult as we get older and busier in our daily lives.
As the price of lift tickets and accommodations increase, you will want to prepare for your ski trips to insure that your investment pays off. You will need cardiovascular endurance as well as full body strength. Most of us hit the slopes and plan on skiing all day, even if it’s been months or years since we last skiied. By afternoon, you’re so tired you lose focus and this is often when injuries and accidents are most likely to happen.
To prepare your heart and body for all day skiing, your cardio program should include 3-5 days each week of your favorite activity (the best for skiing include running, Stairmaster, cycling, strong hiking, rollerblading and sports specific training). Try to have a variety of workouts (listed below are examples of different workouts that you can use) lasting from 20-45 minutes. As you get closer to your trip, you can also add time to one of the workouts so that you have one long workout each week. It is best to hire a certified trainer to customize your training, however, if you are unable, the below examples area good guideline.
Workout 1: Interval training (stairstepping 4-5 sets with bursts of high intensity-recovery training), 20-30 minutes
Workout 2: Medium pace workout (average wt, 3 sets with reps of 15-20), 40 minutes
Workout 3: Short, intense workout (heavy wt, hard work, 1-3 sets wit reps of 2-6 speed and quickness training), 20 minutes
Workout 4: Medium pace workout, 45 minutes
Workout 5: Long, slow workout (endurance training), 60 minutes
Build Your Strength
What makes skiing such a great exercise is that is uses all of your muscle groups. However, some muscles are used more than others and those are the ones you want to concentrate on when it comes to your strength workouts. Skiing involves:
1. Quadriceps: The quads are possible the most used muscles in skiing. These muscles hold you in position as you ski, and they also provide protection for your knees. Great exercises for the quads include squats, leg presses and lunges.
2. Hamstrings & Glutes: When skiing downhill, you typically hold your body in a flexed position–meaning you’re leaning forward from the hips. This requires great strength from your hamstrings and glutes as they help stabilize your body. Work your hams and glutes with deadlifts, leg curls and lunges.
3. Inner/Outer Thighs: Your inner thighs work very hard to keep your skis together. Your outer thighs keep your body stable and help you steer. Work these muscles with side lunges, inner thigh squeezes and leg lifts.
4. Calves: Because your knees are bent as you ski, your calves (specifically the soleus) help you stay upright so you don’t fall over (your ski boots help too). You can work this muscle by doing seated calf raises.
5. Abs, back and CORE: Because you’re in a flexed position, bent over, your back has to work to hold your body in that position. Your abs help in that endeavor while also protecting your spine. Your lats get involved as you ski on a flat surface or uphill, using your poles for leverage. Work these muscles with exercises like bicycles, woodchops, back extensions, lat pulldowns and dumbbell rows.
6. Arms: Along with your back, arms help push off with your poles while stabilizing your shoulder joints. Be sure to work your biceps (barbell or dumbbell curls) and triceps (try dips or dumbbell extensions).
Injuries to your back and knees can be minimized by engaging in an active exercise program that is specific to snow skiing. Take care of your body and it will take care of you while you are enjoying the great outdoors. You are tuning up your muscles, don’t forget to tune up your structure. WHENEVER, you start or change your workout routine, see your Sports Chiropractor first to align the structure so your muscles will have the RIGHT pattern to follow!
Dr. Terry Weyman is the owner of Chiropractic Sports Institute. There are two offices to better serve you. One in Westlake Village, Ca and the other in Moorpark, Ca. For more information on CSI go to their website at www.gotcsi.com.