If you’re a skier or snowboarder, chances are you’re also a biker, a hiker, a runner, a yogi or maybe even a gym rat. You know, someone who is in pretty good shape.
And while that may be true (or especially if it isn’t), it never hurts to spend time during the fall getting in shape specifically for skiing or snowboarding.
So which muscles do you need to pay attention to? Both skiing and snowboarding require core strength. For snowboarding in particular, you engage your leg muscles – quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves – to guide your board. When skiing, you engage your ankles and feet in addition to your leg and glute muscles. You also engage your arms, especially when you’re using the poles to drag yourself across the snow at the bottom of a run.
To help you whip yourself into shape just in time for ski season, we put together a workout circuit that you can do three to four times weekly, or incorporate into your existing exercise routine.
Ideally, your workout routine will include both aerobic and strength training. Try doing at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and doing the below strengthening exercises ideally three to four times per week. Or just follow our six-step 15-minute circuit as described.
First, warm up: Get your heart rate going, and get your muscles warmed up in about two minutes. Try this:
- 30 seconds jogging in place
- 30 seconds jumping jacks
- 30 seconds high knees
- 30 seconds jump squats – a jumping jack where you land in a squat position.
1) Squats: With or without using weights, stand straight with your feet about hip width apart. Squat, keeping your knees over your toes. Make sure your back is straight, chest is up, and butt is out. Keeping your gaze straight ahead will help you maintain proper form. Repeat 15 times.
Bonus (if you want a more intense workout!): Wall squats: With your back firm against the wall, pretend you’re sitting in a chair, ensuring your quads are parallel to the floor. Keep your knees lined up straight between your hips, ankles and feet, without splaying inwards or outwards. Hold 30 seconds.
2) Side leg squats. Start out standing straight with feet together. Starting with your right side, take a large step out to the right, shift the weight to the right, and lower your knee to make a 90 degree angle. Keep your chest and shoulders open. Step to center. Do the same on your left side, alternating legs. Repeat 10 times on each side.
3) Burpees: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lower into a squat, place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet. Shift your weight onto your hands and jump your feet back softly to land on the balls of your feet in plank position. If you can manage it, do a pushup. Step your feet back up to meet your hands. Stand up straight with your arms over your head and jump up. Land and immediately lower back into a squat, leading into the next burpee. Repeat 5-10 times. (Remember: quality over quantity. If you find that you’re struggling to maintain form because you’re getting tired, move on to the next workout.)
Extra burpee tip: As you get into pushup position, be careful not to let your back sag or your butt stick up in the air, as both can keep you from effectively working your core. Make sure your body is in a straight line.
4) Abdominal leg reaches: Lie on your back. Raise your head and shoulders just above the mat; you can put your heads behind your head for support. Bring your knees toward your chest. Holding your core strong, reach your legs out straight at about a 45-degree angle. Pull your knees back in and repeat 10 times.
5) Planks: Get into a pushup-like position, ensuring your body is in a straight line. Engaging your core, hold the pose for 60 seconds. As a modification, if you’re tired, you can get on your elbows instead of your hands.
6) Side-lying hip abductors: Lie on your side with your hips stacked. If you need to, bend your lower leg at the knee for stability. Keeping your upper leg straight, raise it as high as you can, hold for 2 seconds, and then slowly lower it. Repeat 20 times on each side.
Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat this entire circuit once more. If you’re a beginner, you can try doing the circuit just once, and then over time, you can even work your way up to 3 full repetitions for a 20-minute workout.
Finish strong with stretching
Particularly when you’re getting into shape for activity as taxing as skiing and snowboarding, stretching is important to keep your muscles strong and healthy, and maintaining range of motion in the joints. Chances are, you work in a day job in which you’re sitting most of the day, which means you could have tight hamstrings in the back of your thighs.
Save a few minutes to stretch, focusing on your quads, hamstrings, and calves.
If you suffer from tight hamstrings, try legs up the wall. Lie on your back with your butt against the wall and your legs straight up, supported by the wall. Flex your feet and feel your hamstrings stretch.
How do you get in shape for snow season? Tell us in the comments below!