To avoid injuries when out enjoying a number of mountain sports, it is essential to prepare both mind and body and take part in physical activity that includes endurance exercise. A review of the best strengthening moves and fitness routines to get you ski-ready for the upcoming season.
Cardiovascular endurance training
• For those who already have a fitness routine: alternate intense and low-impact phases in your regular physical activities, like cycling or running, for example, this works your endurance and breathing.
• For those less inclined towards endurance sports, train both your heart and lungs by using a row machine at the gym, cycling, swimming or brisk walking with a walking pole. Collective sports or tennis also intensely work out both organs. In terms of training, regularity is key: three sessions of around 45 minutes.
Most winter sports like skiing, sledding, snowboarding and skating put a lot of pressure on the lower limbs. Calves, thighs, triceps, bottom and back muscles all need to be strengthened.
• Developing and strengthening muscle is essential to help work your back and core abdominal muscles. Try getting into the plank position on a floor mat, pushing the toes into the floor and holding yourself up with your forearms for at least 30 seconds. Change up the exercise by standing with your back against the wall, knees bent, as if you’re sitting in an imaginary chair.
• Squats strengthen thighs, legs, knees and calves. In standing position, feet shoulder-width apart, bend your legs, keeping your back straight without falling or bending forwards and push up on your legs to stand back up. Begin with 3 series of 30 bends before slowly progressing in your own time.
Balance, stability and concentration
To completely prepare for the upcoming ski season, certain exercises that require stability and balance can be done a few times per week:
• If possible, try doing the exercises on a large medicine gym ball that helps with balance while simultaneously working the abdominal and bottom muscles.
• On a soft or unstable surface (a blanket folded onto itself for example), try standing up as straight as possible on one leg and then walking very slowly, practicing doing various jumps in different directions. You can also close your eyes to complicate the exercise.
• Learn to fall by practicing on a soft carpet, falling forwards, backwards and on the side to ready the body for eventual impact.
• Lying on your back, grab your knees in your hands before gently rocking your body back and forth and to the side.
• In an upright position, stretch the quadriceps by folding one leg behind you. Grab your foot in your hand and try to keep it glued to your behind while maintaining balance for several seconds.
• Standing up, stretch one leg out in front of you, heel touching the floor and toes pointed to the ceiling. Lower your upper body towards the knee as far as possible keeping your back straight.
• In sitting position, keep one leg stretched out and cross the other leg on top of it, foot at the same level as your knee. Stay in position for several seconds.