Updated: Oct 10
Winter Olympics has concluded for another four years and with summer ending there are alot of people getting excited for the frosty season. Although winter sports are a niche in Australia it is a common place to pull up sore or injure ourselves. To put simply its more fun to be fit and ready for the snow. With good preparation, and appropriate gear(helmets and well fitted boots) we can prevent some of these injuries and have a great time enjoying the slopes.
Its not too early to start your preparation now for the snow season ahead. It takes about 8-12 weeks for changes in your muscle strength, so that means plan a season ahead.
Downhill snowboarding and skiing are two unique winter sports. The power our muscles use is primarily eccentric isometric contractions. These types of muscle contractions require great amounts of muscular torque, and good cardiovascular fitness. In addition to this downhill sports require good core for board or ski control, and flexibility for our joints. Finally we need to maintain this over the day, so endurance is a must to prevent fatigue and fatigue related mistakes and injuries.
So what exercises do you need to do to ready your body for the slopes?
Cardiovascular fitness - maintaining our heart health. Walking, runnings, cycling or swimming regularly. to make this sports specific a combination of longer sessions for endurance and adding an interval or sprints to increase intensity which would mimic your day on the slopes.
Strength and power in our legs and hips - a focus on slow movements. incorporating a hold, starting slowly holding for 3-5 sec and building slowly on this. Incorporating eccentric control and isometric holds will increase the strength of your slope muscles and give you greater control of your board or skis.
squats or wall squats
Core strength - physiolates or yoga for core and flexibility.
Most importantly you should visit your local physiotherapist if you have any pre existing injuries or to tailor an exercise program to your health and fitness needs.