Skiing is a skill built over a lifetime; for most of us, we have to wait a full year until we can get those boots on, get back up that mountain and start practicing to slide down it again. We want to make this year different so this week’s blog post shares how you can use the Form mat for conditioning to prepare your body at home.
These exercises are not just for those heading to the mountains: conditioning is something we should maintain year round to prevent injury and maintain good form in all other exercises, including yoga.
While skiing, if properly conditioned we are able to use our muscles for longer, at a higher rate while reducing the chance of falls. That means less muscle burn and longer days of skiing!
4 key attributes are required for skiing:
Click the links above to read our previous articles on developing flexibility, balance, fitness and strength. Whilst skiing is an all-body workout, we’ve focused on 2 keys areas: legs and core as they are the areas usually under prepared for the demands of skiing.
We recommend doing these exercises 2-3 times per week in the run up to your escape to the mountains. Many of these exercises are can be used as high-intensity cardio exercises within your normal HIIT workout. We’ve shared some starting numbers of reps and sets: be sure to increase these overtime.
Legs and knees
Skiing exerts considerable force on both the muscles and joints of your legs, with the thighs and knees taking the most work. It’s important prepare the muscles for both the endurance and high-intensity workload that skiing exerts while building the supporting muscles around the joints.
Lunges are a fantastic exercise because they are a compound movement, meaning they work multiple muscle groups and joints at once. Place your hands on your hips and step forward, pushing the back knee towards the floor forming right-angles with both knees. Be sure not to overextend and avoid your back knee making contact with the floor.
Start with 3 sets of 16 lunges (8 on each side). Increase the intensity by holding weights during the exercise; mix it up by standing at the front of your mat and lunging backwards.
2. Two-footed side jump
Before starting this exercise, be sure that your mat is gripping to the floor (and not slipping on a dusty floor) as this could lead to injury.
While standing, place both feet together on one side of your mat; keeping your feet together as if they were bound, jump up and sideways. Land with feet together before jumping back to the starting point and repeating. It can help to jump over the centre point of your mat and pick an intersection on the Form Grid on both sides to land on.
Start with 3 sets of 20 jumps and increase the distance of the jump and the frequency of jumping to increase the intensity and burn.
3. One-footed side jump
Similar to the two-footed jump, pick a starting intersection on the Form Grid and aim for an intersection on the other side of the centre point. Leap sideways, leading with one foot with the other following shortly after. Jump back to the starting point and repeat. Start with 3 sets of 20 jumps.
Again, be sure your mat has good grip to the floor.
4. Squat jump
Position yourself over the centre point of the Form Grid with feet shoulder-width apart; squat so your knees form right angles, then explode away from the ground jumping into the air. Land in the position you started again and repeat. Start with 3 sets of 12 squats.
5. Wall squat
Stand around 30-50 cm from a wall, facing into the room. Squat so your lower and upper back make contact with the wall holding the pose until the burn in the thighs is too much. Repeat and try to increase the time you hold for. Feel the burn!
This exercise can be done just about anywhere, for example, you could try doing it while cleaning your teeth twice a day.
6. One leg squat
Stand in the centre point of your Form Grid; lift one leg off the floor to form a right-angle in front of you and squat slowly on the remaining leg until it too forms a right-angle. Push up on this one leg until you return to standing; swap legs and repeat. Start with 3 sets of 6 squats on each side.
Core and abs
Without good core strength, we will find the balance required by skiing tiring and may feel lower back ache.
Whether you love it or you hate it, plank is one of the most effective ways to build core strength and as well as working the back and stabilising muscles such as the obliques. Assume the plank position: be sure that your upper arms are vertically upright forming a right-angle at the elbow and ensure that your body is straight (the hips should be form a straight line with the shoulders and ankles. Hold the pose until you feel your form start to slip or the burn gets too much. Time how long you managed and look to increase the time each day.
Strengthen your abs with this classic crunch. Place your hands on each side of your head (not behind) and squeeze your head towards your knees. Avoid doing a sit-up or using a back keeping connection between your lumbar and the floor at all times. Start with 3 sets of 20 reps.
9. 8 minute abs
We’ve shared this fantastic 80’s throwback before; it’s a great, guided, 8 minute routine which hits all areas of your abs.
Elevate: Designed by skiers, for skiers
Elevate provides you with the perfect platform to condition your body all year round throughout the year. Giving you space to strengthen your knees, tone your calves and improve your flexibility so by the time you get back to the slopes, your body is ready for the challenge.
Featuring the Form Grid: engineered to give you guidance on correct alignment and consistency throughout any workout.
Here's your chance to make it down to après in one piece.