Ready to hit the slopes this winter? If you spend most of your week cooped up at a desk, the annual ski and snowboard trips could leave you with strained muscles, sore back, or even worse, an injury.
However, all that can be avoided with the right preparation, including strengthening your hamstrings, quadriceps, back and core, and you won’t have to risk injury or suffer from the usual aches and pains, says Mike Morin, alpine program director at Stratton Mountain School, who coached the U.S. Ski Team for 10 years through the Lillihammer, Salt Lake City and Torino Winter Olympics. These five exercises, recommended by Morin, will get you into the right shape to be a true winter weekend warrior.
1. Leg Work
Having flexible hamstrings is crucial for skiing and snowboarding, says Morin. While something as simple as a seated forward bend can stretch your hamstrings, active and dynamic stretches are most effective, he says.
2. Range of Motion, Balance, and Coordination
Skiing and snowboarding are both “leg sports,” so strengthening the quads is highly important, Morin says. “When you start skiing and snowboarding, all of a sudden you’re using these big ranges of motion you wouldn’t normally use.” Improving your sense of balance on the snow, is as imperative ax developing sea legs for the water sports. Make sure to strengthen your quads, glutes, improve your range of motion, and develop a better sense of balance and coordination, which you’ll definitely need on the slopes.
3. Equal Opportunities
“Whenever you strengthen one side of the body, you want to balance and strengthen the other,” says Morin. That means it’s a good idea to follow up a quad exercise with one to strengthen the hamstrings. Muscles are designed to work as a group rather than trained in isolation.
4. Planks And Side Planks
Also vastly important for our everyday functional movement, spine stabilization, as well as all downhill sports is: the core. There’s no need to get fancy, Morin says. Basic planks and side planks will do the trick. Better yet if you can perform these while rotating your legs on a “propeller”. Trust us, if you don’t do core work, you’ll regret it after a few runs.
5. Target your Weaknesses – Strengthen Your Spine
To compensate for sitting all day long during the week, it’s important to exercise the lower back before hitting the slopes, Morin says. The stronger your back, the less likely you’ll experience lower back pain as a result of a day on the mountain.
And don’t forget to warm up before getting on the lift. A few reps of spinal mobilization such as arches, curls, and spirals will get you warm and limber. After your ski or snowboard session, some fluid 3D stretches will get you ready for day two, as will some well-deserved hot tub time.
If you are ready to discover the most comprehensive, fluid 3D approach to functional fitness, please visit our Wellosophy 360 Studio to get ready for the slopes and have a stronger, and healthier New Year!