Just because some people make skiing and snowboarding look easy doesn’t mean the sports require no exertion.
Part of the effort serious skiers and snowboarders expend includes preseason training to get their bodies in the best shape possible for their favorite winter activities.
Being in the right physical shape to conquer the slopes can mean the difference between a good season and a bad season - including whether skiers and snowboarders end up with injuries.
“It takes a lot of lower-body and core strength, the glutes and quads especially,” Sarah Gogarty, co-owner of SGO Fitness of San Diego, said. Gogarty is an ACE-certified personal trainer who specializes in high-intensity interval group fitness training.
Lunges and squats are among the most important strength-building exercises skiers and snowboarders can do, Gogarty said. One of the best kinds of lunges to perform is a drop lunge.
To do it, stand in a half squat position with feet positioned shoulder width apart and the knees behind the toes with weight on the heels. Cross the right leg behind and beyond the left leg, dropping as low as possible while keeping the pelvis and shoulders straight ahead. Perform at least 10 repetitions on each leg to work the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.
A great leg exercise for snowboarders in particular is the jump squat. This type of squat not only increases strength, but also explosive power for performing better jumps and hits.
To perform a jump squat, cross the arms over the chest and position feet at shoulder width. Squat until upper thighs are at least parallel with the floor. Pressing with the ball of the feet, jump straight up into the air as high as possible while exhaling. Squat down again as soon as the feet hit the floor and prepare to do the move again. Perform eight to 10 repetitions.
Strength isn’t the only component to being ready for the slopes. Working to improve balance also is important in preseason training.
Some exercises offer both strength and balance training in one move, allowing for that one-two punch that can reduce workout time.
“Single-leg squats done on a Bosu are great because they will challenge balance in addition to building strength,” Gogarty said. “Anything that challenges your balance and stability is ideal.”
Core-strengthening exercises also are important for skiers and snowboarders. A Bosu Balance Trainer can be used for both core and balance exercises. Plants, V-ups and Russian twists are great for working the abdominals to build core strength. “It’s good to train the obliques for stability,” Gogarty said.
Strength and balance are only two aspects of preseason training. Cardio training also is important when getting ready for the slopes. Gogarty recommends interval training for the best results, which includes 10 minutes of warm-ups, followed by one-minute intervals of sprinting and walking.
“It really increases your cardio endurance, which will help with a long day of skiing,” she said.
Gogarty recommends starting a strength, balance and cardio program at least two weeks prior to hitting the slopes for the first time this season.
“It takes an average of two weeks, at two to three days per week, with these exercises before you won’t experience that really excruciating muscle soreness afterward,” she said.