Snow enthusiasts everywhere are counting down the days until they can hit the slopes. Both skiing and snowboarding are fun and exciting winter pursuits. But these demanding physical activities also pose high risks. Without proper training, you won't be able to keep up with your friends. Or worse, you'll suffer an injury that'll put you on the sidelines for the whole season.
Photo by Gatto Ashutto
But with proper preparation, ideally starting six to twelve weeks before you hit the mountain, you can improve your balance, coordination, and endurance while reducing your risk of injury. Our workout plan will help you get in shape for the season--and stay that way until the snow melts. There are four fitness components that every skier and snowboarder should incorporate into his or her workout plan. Here's what you need to know about each one:
1. Core Training
Both skiing and snowboarding rely heavily on balance and core strength, which help reduce your risk of falls, improve your posture and enhance your performance. Your core comprises your abdominals, obliques, lower back and hips, which you can strengthen with targeted strength training exercises. These muscles also help your body remain stable and balanced during a variety of activities.
In addition to strengthening your core muscles, it's a good idea to perform specific balance training exercises. These can range from simple beginner exercises like balancing on one foot to advanced moves involving a stability ball, BOSU ball, or balance board. Train your core muscles two to three times per week (both pre-season and during the winter), trying at least one balancing exercise per session. Rest for one day between core workouts to allow those muscles to recover and repair. Strengthen your core and improve your balance with any one of these "snow" workouts:
2. Strength Training
Besides using your core, snow sports rely heavily on strong muscles and joints-especially in the lower body. The body mechanics of snowboarding and skiing involve using the knee and hip joints repetitively, which means that the muscles surrounding those joints (hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, and more) need to be strong and have endurance. Skiers also need upper body strength in the triceps, shoulders, and back because of their use of ski poles.
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