Pre Ski Season Checklist - Is Your Body Ready?

Is Your Body Ready for the Slopes?

Ensuring your body is physically prepped for skiing is not an easy task - the demands of skiing require that you are ready in almost every aspect of your fitness.  Doing wall sits or squats with a barbell on your back will do very little to help you if you can't balance on one leg or stabilize your knees and back under the unpredictable situations that you might find yourself in while up in the alpine this year. 

So, in line with our "Don't Workout" mantra for year 1, we are recommending that you skip the ski fitness workouts, and just come into HealthOut instead!  An holistic approach to your fitness what you really need in order to enjoy your trips to Whistler or wherever else you are headed.

Here are the aspects of Healthing Out that are most important for skiing this year:

  • Stabilize the Knees and Back

    • The hamstrings, hip abductors and hip rotators are particularly important to protect these regions of the body.  Remember all of those twisting movements and exercises with the cables from the side or bands at the knees?  Guess what those are doing! :)  If you aren't a ski racer that needs to tuck, then don't bother doing exercises in which you are rounding forward in your lower back, its not worth it

  • Strengthen your Legs (but it's not all about squats)

    • Squats with a bar on your back are way overdone for skiing.  When you ski, your legs need to work independently, and often one at a time - choose exercises like step ups, split squats, lunges, or single leg squats.

    • At HealthOut, we squat all of the time, but its often with loading from side or rotational demands, and it is rarely with excessive resistance so that the muscles that protect your spine and knees are worked properly.

  • Move Fast and be Powerful

    • The ski hill is unpredictable, and you may be required to move fast and explosively as well as decelerate your body all day long.  Jumping exercises and agility drills are essential if you want your body to be 'ready for anything' as well as if you want to feel powerful and 'max out' your more intense experiences.

    • Our FB and IG pages have some great examples of agility drills with the ladder.  Jumping explosively up onto boxes is something we do plenty of in order to convert the strength in your legs into something you can use for life and for sport.

  • Balance

    • Snow sports require enormous amounts of balance.  80% of your balance comes from your eyes, but unfortunately the ski slopes do not always offer you the luxury of sight!  Closing your eyes is a great thing to practice while balancing and can help prep you for the fog and flat light.  Keep varying the types of challenge as your body adapts and learns. 

  • Energize with Intervals

    • Do interval training in which you are practicing working in the same time frames as you would on the slopes - anywhere from 20 seconds up to 90 seconds at a time.  Longer intervals are also helpful, but these usually require high amounts of motivation and can be quite stressful.

    • Give yourself adequate rest when you do interval training - at least the same amount of time you took for your interval, and up to 3X the work interval could be the length of your rest periods.

  • Get a HealthOut Hat-trick

    • Doing physical activity once per week will not ready you for doing sports and enjoying them fully.  You should have at least 3 exercise sessions per week (or more) in which you are working hard, getting out of breath, and feeling fully "healthed out" by the end of it.

    • HealthOut's weekly calendar is structured so that you could come 5-6 times per week and continue to maximize your health and fitness benefits rather than overload you in certain aspects of your fitness.

When I started this business over a year ago, I promised myself I would always send you things that are helpful, and never to just make noise.  These messages do not come without effort, and I appreciate the positive feedback from everyone, it helps to keep me going - thank you! 

See you on slopes! 

- Dr. Ryan Oughtred, ND