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How to Get in Shape for Skiing & Snowboarding

 
 
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DISCLAIMER: We hope that this does not come as a surprise to you, but you should be in good physical condition to participate in these exercises. evo is not a licensed medical care provider and represents that it has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition. Consult with your physician if you are unsure. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in any of these exercises, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge evo from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of evo's negligence.

 
You just got your fresh new pair of skis mounted with five coats of hot wax and your boots are molded and ready to rock, but are you? Don’t forget, the most important part of being able to charge hard all day and stomp landings with the least risk of injury is your physical condition. Correct form in skiing and snowboarding (or any sport for that matter) is crucial to staying injury free and maximizing the efficiency of your movements on hill. You fatigue throughout the day and your form deteriorates, leaving your legs feeling out of control and sloppy. You’ve probably experienced that close call before quitting for the day, where you couldn’t muster the leg strength to get your sticks or your board pointed in the right direction fast enough. Pre-season training will also decrease the soreness and sluggishness you get on your first day back on the slopes.
 
When talking about strength and training in the context of skiing and snowboarding, it is important to put emphasis on functional movement and strength. In reality, the best training for skiing is skiing itself. However, exercises that mimic rapid shifts in terrain, and shifts in your body’s center of gravity relative to the slope, will be effective in preparing your cardiovascular and muscle systems ready for the shred to come.
These are only recommended workouts. Always listen to your body and don’t do anything that hurts or over-exerts yourself.
 
The key areas of physical fitness that will pay dividends on the slopes are:

Flexibility 

Whether before a workout or before a day of shred, paying time to work on your flexibility is important if you plan to stay mobile and active all winter (or in general).  One of the best options for flexibility is yoga (which we highly recommend, haters be damned). Dynamic warm-ups before workouts and stretching after workouts are crucial if you want to recover faster and stay on the hill all winter long without injury.
 
Bikram Yoga Warm-Up:
  1. 10 Deep Breaths: With fingers crossed under your chin, exhale out bringing the elbows together and pushing the head back. Take a deep breath in as your elbows go up, chin comes down, and stomach gets sucked in. And repeat.
  2. Side Bend: Cross your fingers, point, and reach your arms straight up. Bend your arms and upper body far from side to side while pushing your hips out to the other side, all while maintaining a flat plane with your body.

     

    Side Bend
  3. Back Bend: With arms still pointed straight up, look behind you and lean back while pushing your hips forward. Come back and bend your body all the way forward, touching your hands to the ground. With knees bent, alternate stretching out your hamstrings.
    Back Bend
     
  4. Deep Stretch: Crouch down and place your hands under the back of each heel so you are standing on them. Bend forward, hug your face to your knees, and slowly work towards straightening your legs out while pulling with your hands.

Other Warm-Up Examples:
  • High knee walk/skip/run
  • Straight-leg walk/skip/deadlift walk
  • Backward run
  • Backward/forward lunge walks
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Lateral lunge
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumping jack/seal jack/ski jack
High Knee WalkHamstring StretchMountain Climbers

Post Workout Stretch Routine:
  1. Lunge: Hold for 60 seconds.
  2. Lizard: From a lunge, turn your foot out, drop the back leg, and put your arms out on the floor. Hold for 60 seconds.
  3. Triangle: From Lizard, straighten the front leg, drop the back heel, and bring your head down to your knee with your hands on the floor.
  4. Twist: Lift your upper body up and put your opposite hand outside your foot. Twist and point your other hand straight up into the air. Switch sides.
  5. Head to Knee: Straighten out and bend your head down to your knee again with hands on the floor.  Switch sides.
  6. Downward Dog: Bring both legs back and extend your butt into the air, making a triangle with your body. 
  7. Deep Stretch: Walk your hands towards your feet, try to get your hands under your feet, and hold.
 

Aerobic Base

Aerobic endurance allows you to sustain physical performance for sustained periods of time. In boiled down tech-talk, aerobic endurance maximizes your body’s ability to consume and distribute oxygen to your muscles efficiently. While anaerobic exercises don’t improve the power of our bio-mechanics, or the ability for us to put out more work over the shortest period of time, they do allow us to stay on the hill without getting burnt out before lunch.
 
Some basic examples of aerobic exercises are running, cycling, hiking, swimming, and jump rope. Performing any of these exercises for 30-60 minutes, 3-5 times per week will do a lot for your aerobic base. 

Cycling
 Jump Rope
 

Anaerobic Endurance

In “sciency speak” anaerobic endurance is your muscles’ ability to function in the absence of oxygen. In anaerobic metabolism, lactic acid builds up in your muscles. This mechanism causes that “burning“ sensation you get in your thighs mid run. Anaerobic exercises improve your body’s ability to process the build up of lactic acid, allowing you to send it for longer and harder. Many anaerobic workouts involve High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), with periods of intense effort followed by rest periods and then by intense efforts again for a number of repetitions. One example of an anaerobic workout is Fartlek training, which is Norwegian for speed play training.

Try this one for size. On a 2-4 mile run, perform 1-3 (depending on fitness level) of the following 10-minute strength intervals:
  • 1 minute of burpees
  • 30 seconds of easy jog
  • 2 minutes of burpees
  • 1 minute of easy jog
  • 3 minutes of burpees
  • 1.5 minutes easy jog
These workouts are usually pretty intense, but pay dividends on the slopes.
 
Burpee
 

Strength and Power

Let’s face it, not all of us are blessed with the Champagne Powder of Steamboat or Cold Smoke of Bridger Bowl. Strength workouts improve your ability to bust crud and keep your skis pointed the direction you want in the thickest and dampest of Pacific Northwest Pow.

Some basic examples of strength and power workouts are:
  • Squats (weighted or unweighted)
  • Box jumps
  • Lateral Side Jumps (these closely mimic a skier movement laterally across a slope)
  • Medicine ball throws
  • Planks
SquatBox Jump
Medicine BallPlank
Another workout to use in the gym regularly is (a treadmill helps with pacing) Dynamic Stretching followed by 1-mile warm-up run @ 7:30 pace followed by 1-3 sets of the following intervals:
  • 10 Burpees
  • 15 Bodyweight Squats
  • 400 Meter Run at 9 mph
  • 14 (7 a side) 25 lb. T-Push Up: Lift one are into the air after each push up.
  • 8 Pull Ups
  • 400 Meter Run at 9 mph
  • 10 15 lb. Medicine Ball Throws
  • 20 Lateral Side Jumps (10 a side)
  • 400 Meter Run at 9 mph

While getting at it outdoors is the favored choice for staying fit throughout the summer and into ski season (and just getting stoked on life in general), performing aerobic, anaerobic, and strength and power workouts in the pre-season can do wonders for your performance on hill.
 
We would like to thank Sound Mind & Body Gym in Fremont, Seattle for use of their awesome facilities. Check out their Ski & Sport Condition class for more help getting ready for ski season. Pray for snow!


Learn more with our other Ski Guides:
Skis – How to Choose & Size Chart
Skis – Kids' Size Chart
Skis – Rocker Technology
Alpine Touring Skis – How to Choose
Skis – Weight Chart
Ski Boots – How to Choose & Fit Guide
Ski Boots – Size Chart
Ski Boots – How to Try On
Ski Boots – How to Make Your Boots Fit Better
Alpine Touring Ski Boots – How to Choose
Ski Boots – Weight Chart
Ski Boots – Boot Sole Length Chart
Ski Bindings – How to Choose & DIN Setting Chart
Alpine Touring Ski Bindings – How to Choose
Ski Bindings – Weight Chart
Ski Poles – Size Chart

And Snowboard Guides:
Snowboards – How to Choose & Size Chart
Kids' Snowboards – Size Chart
Snowboards – Rocker Technology
Snowboard Boots – How to Choose & Fit Guide
Snowboard Boots – How to Put On Your Boots
Snowboard Bindings – How to Choose & Compatibility Guide


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