Getting into shape for winter sports is not the same as getting into shape for bikini season. Your body needs proper physical preparation before jumping into your boots and hitting the slopes. The amount of training required depends on your current physical condition and will require more if you’re not already exercising regularly. But it’s only a few steps away.
STEP 1: Write down your goal(s).
If you don’t write it down, it was never a goal to begin with. Here are some examples:
• “I want to be able to ski for 3 hours without stopping.”
• “I want to be able to do a back flip.”
• “I need a stronger core and lower body.” (Hint: everybody should have this goal for winter sports.)
STEP 2: Begin with a movement prep/ warm-up routine.
A lot of injuries occur due to lack of movement preparation. This should consist of a light cardio warm-up (five minutes) and movement prep simulating movements using the same muscles and joints you’ll be using that day. This reduces your risk of injury.
STEP 3: Work on your core everyday.
Core strength is as essential as having opposable thumbs. You can’t do much without it. Your core consists of more than just your abs. It is a pillar from your pelvis up to and including your shoulder girdle. Your core is the anchor your limbs transfer energy through. If it’s not stable and strong, your movement efficiency decreases, and you fatigue more quickly. Challenge your abdominal strength both actively with full body and side pillar bridges. Don’t neglect your back. Shock not absorbed by the legs travels north. (Hint: Deadlifts are great for increasing core strength.)
STEP 4: Strength circuits.
Most winter sports involve an intense five minutes of strength/endurance/quick bursts of power, followed by a long rest. Target various types of strength training such as holding a “tuck” position for static strength endurance, squats (your best friend) for active strength, and plyometrics such as box jumps for explosive strength. A great complement to your weight training is cycling, hill climbs, and ice skating.
STEP 5: Prevent Injury.
Injury leads to pain. Listen to your body. If you feel pain, don’t push through it. Be sure to stretch all major muscle groups. Include your trunk muscles, hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, abductors, and calves.
STEP 6: Go for the gold.
The only way to get better at anything is by doing it. Get a routine and follow it. Check your goals and go farther, harder, or faster than you did the time before. You can’t expect greater results with the same amount of effort. Believe that you can exceed your own expectations and just see how far you get.
Originally from PRO Pulse November-December 2011
By Hillary Allen