8 Week Pre-Course Fitness Plan
These days it is more important than ever to be properly conditioned for the slopes before you arrive. Gone are the days when athletes just rock up and hope for the best – top skiers and snowboarders actually spend more time training off the slopes than they do on them!
You’re about to start an amazing new adventure and using this fitness plan will help you make the most of the lead up to ensure your body is properly trained and conditioned to endure the entire winter season and decrease the likelihood of injury.
This 8 week snow-ready fitness plan has been devised to train all the muscle groups needed for skiing and snowboarding: legs, abs and arms. It also works on aerobic and anaerobic fitness, agility, balance and flexibility, which are all equally important elements.
We’ve put together programme so you can train from home, without any equipment in preparation for your snowboard or ski instructor course. All you need is yourself and 30 minutes to an hour for 5 days a week.
Why its important to be snow ready
Being fit and ready for your season is important. It helps to reduce chance of injury and enables you to reach your full potential.
Snow Ready Legs
It is critical in snow sports to work our legs, they are the most used muscle group. It is vital we focus at least one day a week in the run up to the season to train our legs.
Developing strength and endurance is important so we are able to stay on the hill for longer. Quadriceps are the most used muscle group in skiing and riding, these muscles hold you in position and provide protection for your knees.
When skiing and boarding downhill, you will typically hold your body in a flexed position, which is leaning forward from the hips – this requires great strength from your hamstrings and glutes as they help stabilise your body.
Snow Ready Arms
Skiers: strong arms will help you push off with your poles while stabilising your shoulder joints. Strong arms help with pole-planting and will make traversing across the snow easier.
Snowboarders: increased arm strength helps with balance and stability and can save you from a fall.
Strong arm muscles will help you pick yourself up in the event of a fall, and, once a qualified instructor increased strength in your arms helps you to assist students who may have had a tumble.
The back of the arms (triceps) are where this plan will focus most strengthening, you’ll notice it used numerous times throughout the programme.
Snow Ready Abs
Strong abdominal and lower back muscles help to support your spine on the slopes, this is especially important when skiing or snowboarding down moguls, steeps or in deep snow. Having a strong core will help maintain balance on the mountain, the abdominals and hip musculature are there for one of the most important muscle groups for any snow-enthuiast to focus on.
Whilst skiing, your body is in a flexed, bent over position so your back has to work really hard to protect your spine from injury – a strong, well conditioned core is key. The same is true for snowboarding, especially with all the turning required.
A weak core will open up a lot of problems, especially for the spine, so we really need to build strength in our core and back to prevent this from happening.
Snow Ready Balance & Agility
Both skiing and snowboarding require strong balance to remain an upright position whilst speeding downhill. As the surface changes from powder to ice to hard-packed snow, the skier or rider needs to have a strong core to retain balance in the ever-changing conditions.
A winter athlete with strong balance is also less likely to sustain an injury as the risk of falling is decreased. Balance can be trained by performing single leg activities such as squats and heel raises.
Agility is also important for winter sports due to the need for the body to constantly adjust to changes in direction at varying speeds. X Hop workouts will help you increase your foot speed, explosiveness and agility.
Those heading for the terrain park on their days off from training will definitely see the benefits from balance, agility and core training.
Skiers and snowboarders should maintain a solid aerobic fitness level. This will allow for improved cardiovascular and muscular endurance, minimising fatigue which, in turn, decreases the risk of injury.
Some great ways to build aerobic fitness are long, slow runs or bike rides – these types of sports most closely mimic the changes in terrain seen in winter sports and strongly building up cardiovascular endurance.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Skiing and snowboarding are fundamentally anaerobic activities, meaning they require short spurts of energy with short rest periods in between. This fitness plan contains many elements which challenge your anaerobic fitness in different ways through HIIT.
This type of fitness allows the body to adapt quickly to constant changes in speed on different types of terrain. Great ways to train the anaerobic system are sprint intervals and plyometrics. Plyometric training might include squat jukes and jump lunges, these activities train your muscles to adapt to rapid changes in speed and intensity – similar to what you’ll experience on the mountain.
Make the most of your fitness programme
It’s no secret, the key to an all-round healthy lifestyle is exercise and nutrition. Whilst we won’t put you on a specific diet plan in the lead up to your ski or snowboard course, we have put together some information for a performance-improving diet.
Eating the right types of food and knowing the best snow ready nutrition in the run up and during your season will increase you performance on the slopes. Skiers and snowboarders diets should consist of lean protein, lots of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. This section will include foods that you should eating in the run up, during and after your time on the mountain for optimum performance.
The genius behind the programme
Board sport and fitness junkie Abbie is a sports science graduate, sports massage therapist and qualified nutrition coach. Currently working with the Fire Fighters Charity as an exercise therapist supporting the holistic rehabilitation of fire service personal. Years of working in gym settings coaching all populations, she has developed a wholesome approach to wellness and specific functional fitness. Operating freelance with a new venture “from. AM” her mission is to promote functional wellness and fitness for life’s demands.