Align Yourself Properly
If you want to be fit for the ski slopes, you have to work out your biomechanics. You can check out your position by standing up in front of a mirror. Put your feet in parallel, spread apart as much as to be right beneath your shoulders and try to take your natural skiing position. Check out the following alignments of the various segments of your body:
If you look down at your knees, you should see your knee cap positioned on an imaginary perpendicular line that falls between the second and the third toe. Anything closer to the big toe isn’t right, so you should make note that you have a problem here.
Your weight should be centered over the center area of your skis. If you sit down too much, this position results in an excessive strain in your quads and knees, thus making you to lose control and shift your weight towards the back of your skis. Most probably, you are going to fall if this happens.
Check your body weight as you bend your knees in your favorite skiing position, trying to maintain the neutrality of your pelvis. Observe your hips and see where they tend to move to. Stand up and then bend your knees again, trying to have the wight of your body falling towards the front, but without allowing it go to the front of your skis. You have to balance your body weight from your core, as this is how you can gain a maximum of control. This position allows you to turn extremely easily during your flight down the slopes.
Your quadriceps and gluteal muscles are the ones you are going to use intensively during skiing. This means the stronger they are, the easier is going to be for you to enjoy this winter sport. You can strengthen them by doing various exercise routines such as deep squats, split squats, step ups and lunges. If you want, you can do cycling, as it is also quite helpful. Wall squats aren’t as good, as they might get you to form a habit of skiing with the weight on your heels, which is not good for you.
“Quads training is neglected by too many people, too often” explains Margaret Turner from French ski chalet specialist Chalet Merlo. It is very important because it can help you on the slopes in more than one way. Fist of all, strong quads help you straighten your knees. Secondly, they allow you control the movement of your knees while bending. This kind of quads training is called eccentric strengthening and it is recommended by all good ski trainers all over the world.
Cycling doesn’t help you strengthen your quads, because cycling uses the power of your hamstrings to bend the knees in the process. Step downs off a step are very good for working your quads the right way, so you should include it in your ski training. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to have the proper alignment in order to reap the benefits of this kind of training. You can do this workout in batches of 30 reps to start with and increase as you feel stronger.
Gluteus medius, which is the lateral hip muscle needs to be trained as well, if you want to enjoy a good performance on the ski slopes. Skiing relies a lot on the rotation of the hip, so it’s important to strengthen your gluteus medius in order to avoid injuries. The “clam” workout is extremely effective. You need to lie down on one side and bring your hips and knees in skiing position. Stick your ankles together and lift your top knee, replicating the movement of a clam opening and closing. Watch out for your hips to remain in the same position during the exercise. If you do the exercise right, you should feel your buttock working. Repeat for 30 times to start with, and then switch sides and do 30 more “clam” openings. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of times you repeat this routine. Additionally, you can do sideways jumps on and off a step, increasing the height as you become more comfortable with the exercise.
After you make sure you have a proper alignment, you have to include some cardio routines in your daily training. Cycling or a step machine can be effective, so choose the one you like most.
Skiing needs you to be as flexible as possible mainly when you fall over. Consider doing dynamic stretching before and after your exercise routines. It helps improving your flexibility and protects your muscles against injuries.