Article by Alana Colombo, Physiotherapist at Renwick Physio
With the cold weather creeping upon us, many people will be hitting the slopes this winter and there’s nothing worse than spending your precious holiday time with aching limbs and feeling unfit. To make the most out of every day on the slopes, and to reduce your risk of injury, a certain level of cardiovascular fitness and strength will be required. Check with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine, especially if you have been unwell or sedentary recently.
Cardiovascular fitness should be started several months before your trip. Activities like jogging, walking or even incidental exercise like taking the stairs over the lift will make all the difference to your overall stamina once you’re on the slopes.
Muscular strength should also be considered. Here are 5 muscle groups used in skiing and some examples of exercises:
1. Quadriceps: Probably the most used muscle group, Quads hold us in position as we ski and protect for our knees. Great exercises for the quads include squats and lunges and wall squats.
2. Hamstring and Glutes: When skiing downhill, you typically hold your body in a flexed position by leaning forward from the hips which requires a lot of strength from your hamstrings and glutes. Work your hamstrings and glutes with pelvis bridges, deadlifts, step ups and hamstring rolls on a swiss exercise ball.
3. Inner and Outer Thighs: Your inner thighs work very hard to keep your skis together while your outer thighs keep your body stable and help your steer. Exercises that focus on these groups include side lunges, ball adductor squeezes, sliding side lunges using discs.
4. Ankles: Because your knees are bent as you ski, your calves help you stay upright so you don’t fall while your ankles are used to help us turn. You can work these muscles by doing standing calf raises, heel walks and scissor hops.
5. Abs and Back: If you want to last all day long and remain in good condition until the very last run, you need excellent core muscles. As you twist and turn, you core muscles will keep you stay balanced on the slopes and provide extra power through your entire run. These muscles can be strengthened with exercises like crunches, bicycle crunches, medicine ball twists, mountain climbers, pully wood chops, back extensions, latissmus dorsi pulls, and dumb bell rows.
If you have any questions, or would like a tailored exercise plan, call for an appointment on 02 9564 6463