As the season approaches, you've chosen your resort and required pass. You've gathered all your required kit. Flights & cars are booked. Now it's time to tune your own kit - your body.
For too many skiers, the first day on the piste is their first ski exercise of the season. By day three physical endurance is exceeded, injuries start to occur, and the remaining pass gets wasted.
By far the biggest injury zone is the leg, and yet with three simple pre-season ski exercises, you can strengthen key leg muscles, and reduce injury risks.
The Wall Sit
This is an all-in-one workout for your quads, knees and calves.
1 - Stand with your back against a wall, feet a shoulder width apart and two feet from the wall.
2 - Slide your back down the wall until your back and thighs make a ninety-degree angle. This should ensure your thighs are now parallel to the floor.
3 - If required, walk your feet in until your calves are ninety degrees to your thighs, with your ankles in line with your knee.
4 - Hold for 30 seconds.
5 - Rest & repeat.
This exercise improves coordination and works the hip, ankle and thigh. Find a space 8-10 foot wide, and clear 3 feet in front of you. It should be a cushioned surface, i.e. carpet or an exercise mat.
1 - Stand in the middle of the space, feet together.
2 - Imagine a 1 foot gap runs through the floor, just to the right of your feet.
3 - Make a controlled jump, with both feet leaving and touching the floor together, to the other side of that gap. Land balanced with no sideways or forward wobble. Feet land first, and then your body comes into a cushioned position vertically above.
4 - Immediately jump back across that gap.
5 - Repeat for 2-3 minutes.
6 - Once you are happy that your feet are landing together and you are stable, widen the imaginary gap, and continue the same jumps. Extend the width of the gap as far as you are comfortable jumping, without strain, ensuring both feet always land together.
The Reverse Lunge
The final major muscle to work is the hamstring, for which the reverse lunge is ideal.
1 - Stand straight, feet a shoulder width apart.
2 - Extend one leg back behind you.
3 - Keeping your torso upright, lower your front leg until your thigh is parallel to the ground, knee over the ankle, foot forwards. Your back heel will come up, back calf should be parallel to the floor, back knee pointing down.
4 - Hold, then push off your back leg to half straighten up. Hold again.
5 - Drop down into the lunge position and repeat.
6 - After ten reps, straighten up and switch leg.
The above three exercises will, with repetition, increase your resilience to injury and help improve your ski coordination. As with any exercise, work at your bodies own pace, and always stop should you feel any pain or discomfort.