With our 1st snow of the season here in the Vail/Beaver Creek area all of a sudden all of us skiing locals begin to think about the powder days to come. And its a good thing. The mountains are scheduled to open in about 2 months and that, coincidentally is about the minimum amount of time a good ski conditioning program can take.
Why ski conditioning? 2 Reasons come to mind. First you will ski better and longer and have more fun if you are well conditioned. Second, you want to avoid spending the season on crutches. Let’s try to avoid these debilitating knee injuries, shoulder injuries or back injuries. Skiing is inherently dangerous and preventing injury is important. So along with getting your equipment checked, get your body in tune. But even worse than getting injured skiing is getting injured getting ready for skiing. Here are 5 things to keep in mind while conditioning for the season.
- Do you have pain before you start?. Are you having pain with normal movements such as touching your toes, arching your back, twisting, or squatting? If you are get it checked. Pain with normal activity will only get worse when stressed in a conditioning program. Get a professional to find out what is going on and get it fixed before you make it a major problem.
- How are you moving? Do you have difficulty, but not pain, touching your toes, arching your back, standing on one leg, twisting, or squatting? If you are not moving well putting strength and fitness on top of that may cause you more issues than it solves. Our body will figure out a way to do things you ask it too, but may do it by compensating and eventually give you issues you don’t want.
- Are you training all your systems? Skiing requires proper movement, an aerobic base, a strength foundation, flexibility, balance, agility, and explosive coordination. Make sure your program takes all these areas into account. Our bodies respond specifically to specific training. So just because your are strong in one area doesn’t automatically make you strong in all these areas.
- Are you ready for what you are doing? Nothing is worse than getting injured in a program that was designed to keep you safe while skiing. Many group ski conditioning classes focus predominantly on plyometrics and anaerobic workouts, which can be beneficial, but must be ramped up under control. Make sure you have a proper aerobic and strength base before moving onto these activities and then when you do build up at about 10% week. That’s why 8 weeks is a minimum for this sort of program.
- Are you exercising in full body movements or isolated exercises? To train for the movement of skiing, we want to simulate that movement as best we can. Skiing requires our whole body to work together, legs connecting to our upper body through are core. Isolating muscles will get them stronger in isolation, but may not be the best way to get everything working together. Think whole body activities such as squats, dead lifts, hopping, and jumping.
Hopefully these tips can get you on the right track to a great pre-season conditioning program and keep you safe and having fun all season.