This is a little outside the norm for Fullstoke, but I’ve been thinking about off season training recently, so here you go…
As skiers and snowboarders we live for the powder and spending hours each winter on the slopes. However, the sun has this annoying habit of melting the snow every spring. But all is not lost as the off-season is a great time to remain or get into shape to hit those mountains again once the snow starts falling again. At the very least, you should start working on your endurance, coordination and balance 3-12 weeks prior to heading to the slopes.
Core workouts are essential to skiers and snowboarders as you need a strong one to remain balanced and have the power to propel your body down the mountain. Crunches are famous core-focused exercises; you can use an abdominal crunch machine, utilize dumbbells or twist while during the crunches to increase the power of this exercise. It’s important to do crunches right so check out this video.
This part of the body is especially important to keep strengthened if work sees you sitting for long periods of time. One exercise that is great for this purpose is the Superman exercise. You lay on your stomach with your arms outstretched in front of you like Superman flying in the sky and then lift pretty much everything off of the ground other than your core and hold for two seconds before slowing lowering your arms, chest and legs. You can also lift parts of your body off the ground instead such as one arm, one leg and your chest.
Quadriceps are muscles that every skier and snowboarder use heavily, so they are important to keep in tip-top shape during the off-season. Exercises that will allow you do that include lunges (video) and squats, which are usually done with bands or barbells to improve their effectiveness. The wall-sit exercise is a good one too; to do it, you essentially lean against a wall while in a sitting position but without a chair so that your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle; hold this pose for 30 seconds.
Glutes and Hamstrings
Leg muscles also used heavily in skiing and snowboarding are the glutes and hamstrings. Deadlifts, hamstring rolls and step-ups are common exercises used to strengthen these muscles and help them stabilize you as you make your way through the snow. I also really like this post on butt workouts from the experts at Les Mills.
The most famous workout used to keep your calves, which help you ski and snowboard faster as well as allow you to put the brakes on when necessary, strong is the calf stretch. While standing, put your hands on the wall and move one leg in front of the other, having the back leg’s knee slightly bent before gently leaning forward to stretch the back leg’s calf for 30-45 seconds and then switch and repeat. Downward facing dog, a yoga pose in which your legs and arms form a triangle, also stretches your calves.
You also want to keep your heart in good shape in the off-season so that you have an aerobic base, high lactate threshold and lactate power when it comes time to return to the snow, and a variety of cardiovascular activities do the trick. Some like to go running or participate in step aerobics, other enjoy roller blading and biking, and a number who love to mimic the feel of riding down a mountain by surfing are situated near a beach and regularly do so. Those who like to exercise indoors can use a treadmill or a stationary bike to help build and maintain their cardiovascular fitness levels. Other cardiovascular activities that you should consider doing during the off-season include backwards treadmill walks and agility-focused activities such as cone drills and hurdle drills.
Although skiers and snowboarders should focus on the heart, back, core and legs, the arms should not be neglected. Pushups are common exercises used to strengthen the arms that can be done anywhere while barbells and other weights can be used in a gym setting as well.
Clearly, none of these exercises will match up to the thrill of being on the white stuff come winter time, but using them to get into and keep in awesome shape will make your skiing and snowboarding days much more fulfilling.