Thanksgiving turkey has been eaten, and resorts across the country have started opening for the season – some earlier than expected due to great early-season conditions! If you are like many of us, you may have overindulged on Thanksgiving – but not to worry, did you know that Thanksgiving day is the most popular day for running in the US? In our household, after eating too much, we tend to start focusing on getting fit, and Thanksgiving marks the start of when we really start getting serious about dialing in our conditioning specifically for skiing and snowboarding season.
Obviously, being fit greatly enhances the skiing experience, allows us to snowboard longer and recover easier – and most importantly, helps prevent injury.
So how do we structure our workout sessions? We’ve got a three-part workout plan that we focus on and recommend for others who want to get the most out of ski season.
PART 1 – STRENGTH
Firstly, focus on building strength. Quads, hamstrings and gluteal muscles especially, as these muscles handle the brunt of our sport.
Need some ideas for Strength day?
- Barbell Squats
- Lunges (Weighted, unweighted, or walking)
- Pistol Squats
Part 2 – Cardio
Secondly, we work on building our cardio fitness levels. Our goal is to get our heart rate up 4-5 times a week for at least 20 min at a time.
- Climbing stairs
- Jump Rope
- Rowing Machine (great way to combine cardio + strength)
Part 3 – Plyometrics
And the third and final piece of the puzzle is adding in plyometric exercises that build stability, balance, and build the trust in your body, that your knees, shoulders, hips and other joints can handle what comes at them when you’re moving at high speed on varied terrain. Plyometrics – also known as jump training – are quick, powerful exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in minimum time, with the goal of increasing power and agility via jumping, landing, cutting, twisting etc.
Good skiers and snowboarders have the ability to absorb the bumps in terrain. What does that mean? Absorbing the bump means flexing your legs with enough power so that your lower body – not your upper body – absorbs the force of impact. For a visual of this, think about the videos of Olympic skiers on mogul fields. Their upper body remains still and balanced, while the lower body flexes, compresses and extends, mirroring the terrain below.
- Box Jumps
- Squat Jumps
Check out US Ski Team Heather McPhie’s examples of a few plyometric exercised to add into your workout routine:
Build your exercise regimen around these three pillars, whether it’s focusing on one pillar per day (Strength Day, Cardio Day, Plyo Day), or breaking your fitness session into three parts each time (20 min Strength, 20 min Cardio, 20 min Plyo).
For a little fun check out this insane obstacle workout course made for Swiss skier Andri Ragettli:
Getting fit for the ski season will help you enjoy time on the slopes more, progress faster, and help reduce the risk of Emergency Room visits. Consult a doctor before starting any exercise program.
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