Life & Style Magazine – Get in Piste Condition

Life & Style Magazine – Get in Piste Condition

Snow junkies be warned. Unless you want to come a cropper on the slopes, now is the time to get fit for the next ski season. Abigail Butcher reveals how …

Anaerobic exercise

Anaerobic exercise increases strength and muscle mass. It consists of brief, intense bursts of activity, such as weightlifting, jumping or sprints. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is great for this, so start to include regular circuits or plyometrics (jump-training) classes. For those who already have a high level of fitness, invest in the Insanity DVDs, which set out a 60-day cardio-based, total-body conditioning programme. ‘Increasing your anaerobic threshold means you will be able to do more before lactic builds up, which is the stuff that causes achy and stiff muscles,’ says Rob Madden, a physiotherapist at the for Health and Human Performance (CHHP). ‘Consistency is the biggest thing, so pick something you enjoy. And as long as you increase the weights, repetitions and the cardiovascular work you’re doing, you’ll build muscle density.’

Strength training

Snowboarding and skiing require strong quads (front of thighs), glutes (bum), adductors (hips) and hamstrings (back of thighs), so concentrate on increasing muscle density in these areas. This will take the load off your knees. Core strength is also important for stability and rotation, so include strength training twice a week. ‘To increase muscle mass you need to cause muscle fatigue,’ says James Vickers, a former Team GB physio who works at CHHP. ‘You should be aiming to fail when doing your final few reps. Good exercises include squats, split squats, deadlifts, side plank with rotations, etc. I find offers some good fitness ideas.’

Warm up

Remember, spending six hours a day on the slopes is a workout in itself, so it’s important to warm up with dynamic, as opposed to static, stretches. These replicate movements your body will perform during your session. Spend the first half an hour skiing slowly and mixing short, sharp turns with wider, longer ones. evidence shows that static stretches could reduce the muscle’s reflex to stretching,’ says Vickers. If the worst happens and you start to feel sore, seek help. But if the pain is minor Vickers suggests active recovery, which we’re taking to mean a walk to the nearest spa for a gentle swim and some hot tub action.

Lifestyle & Fitness, Get in Piste Condition, [October 2014]