Ski and Ride Conditioning



The weather has stayed chilly and snow has kept coming up on the mountain the last few days. That means skiing isn’t far off and its time to get our bodies ready. The last 2 posts I wrote about two tenets of conditioning, load capacity and grading. Those posts are here if you missed them.  and

Ski conditioning, or any sports conditioning is the combination of these 2 things. Figuring out what your load tolerance is. Then steadily building your capacity at a rate that won’t injure you by doing too much too fast. Some of this we can do in the fall on dry land. Some will need to happen once the mountain opens, when you can actually ski or ride. Building up your vertical as your body allows.

Unfortunately, there is no exact recipe for grading and building tolerance. Everybody starts at a different point. From someone who has been very active all off season with different sports to someone who hasn’t done much since last season to someone who is coming back from an injury.  The first thing to do is be realistic with where you are and start building from there.

There are a few types of activity or loading that you can look at aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, strength, and plyometric capacity are some major ones to be aware of.  All of them are valuable for skiing. And you can be strong in one and not in another.

Aerobic capacity is the ability to maintain exertion over a sustained time. This needs to be at a certain level to progress to other activities that are more aggressive. If you don’t have a good aerobic base, you may find your self  out of breath all the time when trying to load your body more vigorously. You can build this with running, swimming, cycling, hiking up hill, or elliptical machine. Think of getting your breath and heart rate up and maintaining it for a while.

Anaerobic is shorter bursts of activity that force you to work closer to maximum capacity. This is very much like skiing or riding as we may exert ourselves for a few minutes then rest on the way back up the lift. You can stress your system anaerobically with things like intervals running or on the bike, wind sprints, or sustained hopping or jumping activities.

Strength is the capacity for your muscles to tolerate load and continue to control your movements. This involves control, power, and endurance. You need a base amount of strength to perform plyometrics. You can build plyometric strength with various types of resistance training. Weight machines, free weights, and band training are some examples.

Plyometrics are activities that require you to load your muscles quickly and then use that energy to recoil and produce force in the opposite direction. Again, an important ability for higher level skiing and riding, especially for bump skier and steep skiers. Activities that you can do include jumping and hopping activities.

Many of these things will overlap its easy to do anaerobics and plyometrics together. What is important is building up steadily, so your body increases capacity to keep you safe and ski more efficiently come winter. Over the next couple weeks, I will try to post some examples of different types of exercises. As always if you have any questions, post a comment or email me at keith@ascent-pt,com.

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1 Response to Ski and Ride Conditioning

  1. Pingback: Ski Injury Prevention | Ascent Physical Therapy

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