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Get fit for the slopes!












Skiing and snowboarding preparation tips

Rosemary Marchese – Physiotherapist

The Australian Ski season is calling you but are you fit for skiing or snowboarding? While snowboarding and skiing are different sports, they both require loads of strength in legs, abdominals, back and glute (butt) muscles. The speed, change in direction and constant downhill nature of the sport lends itself to a high risk of injury. There are ways to get yourself ready so you can love every minute of your time in the snow.

What muscles do skiers and snowboarders need to focus on?

If you intend on hitting the slopes shortly there are a few exercises that you may need to start including in your fitness regime to get you ready.

Skiing muscles

* Quadriceps: your knees will be bent all day, and with one leg on each ski, you are going to need equal strength on both sides to be able to maximise control.

* Abdominals: protect your back by having strong abs and back muscles. Being constantly bent forward can strain your back and lead to pain. Be prepared and avoid this.

* Glute and hamstring strength: absolutely necessary for control of both skis. Make sure both sides are equally strong.

Snowboarding muscles

* Abdominal and core training: having strong stability through your abdominals and core area is going to help you with the frequent changing sides from heel to toe whilst turning, traversing and stopping and starting. Your legs will be burning but your core strength will help keep you stable.

* Legs: this goes without saying. You are going to need strong quadriceps! Knees are constantly bent in this sport and so you will need to ensure that your knees are protected through strong quads.

* Calves: your lower leg is going to be locked in all day. Avoid cramping in your calf muscles by having them prepared for those long downhill journeys.

Exercise preparation for skiing and snowboarding

Be sure to start your preparation at least four weeks before you leave. Having some basic level of fitness before that is also helpful to prevent injury. Fatigue reduces concentration and is related to higher risk of injury.

Legs and Butt (glute) exercises:

* Calf raises

* Lunges

* Squat leaps

* Single leg squats

* Theraband resisted squats (side-to-side)

* Sustained squatting


* Plank

* Russian twists with medicine ball

* V-sits

Balance and change of direction

* Bosu squats

* Wobble board balance or single leg balance (try closing your eyes)

* Trampoline balancing exercises

* Side to side leaps with a focus on knee control.

Be ready for the slopes and minimise your risk of injury!