Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, prepare for the white stuff with a full-body workout
While some people long for sun, sand and bikinis, others can’t wait for ski season to arrive. As snow descends on mountains around the world, make sure you are equipped with more than just a ski pass before you tackle the runs of Chamonix and Mt. Baker.
Below are three exercises worth incorporating into your gym programme this season.
Improving your hamstring strength will help prevent anterior cruciate ligament injuries, prevalent in skiing.
While we regularly use and abuse our quads – even those who skip Legs Day (gasp!) – hamstrings are not so often isolated. A significant amount of knee injuries occur during an alpine fall due to the hamstring simply not being strong enough to catch us.
The Romanian deadlift is brilliant at hitting hamstrings. If your hamstrings feel as if they’re not working during the exercise, push your glutes back further to fully engage the muscle.
Cable machine kickbacks
There is no sport that relies on external hip rotation as much as skiing does.
External hip rotation occurs when your thigh bone turns away from the midline, turning your knee out to the side. External hip rotation recruits muscles such as the quadratus femorus, piriformis, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus.
Strengthening your external hip rotators will improve the all-important alignment of your pelvis and knees when skiing.
There are a number of exercises that will improve your external hip rotation, from cable machine kickbacks to resistance band exercises such as the clamshell.
Related content: Find out about sports conditioning
Barbell front squats
When skiing, the body undergoes eccentric strengthening as it changes position between standing and bent over.
Eccentric strength is “negative” strength, the kind you need in able to lower yourself into the bottom of the squat (rather than power up from the bottom of it).
Strong quads are crucial on the slopes. Front squats put particular emphasis on the quadriceps, rather than the hamstrings and glutes, but don’t limit yourself. Back squats, sumo squats, zercher squats, Jefferson squats: the world’s your snow-topped oyster.
While there is a huge client base for people who simply want to look good on the beach in the summer – and there’s nothing wrong with that – personal trainers should also consider clients that want a functional, strong body that can perform and not just pose.
Different sports and activities come with very different and often very specific physical requirements. Skiing and snowboarding are proof of this. A course in sports conditioning will give you the tools to break a sport or activity down, analyse it's components and train with specificity in improving them.
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