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Training and Preparation for Snowsports

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by Liang Kaixiang

Planned a ski trip this winter? Get your body ready too! Specific conditioning workouts help strengthen the muscles you need to perform well and last longer on the slopes, but more importantly they also reduce your risk of injury. This article covers a few tips to get you started, especially for beginners who have never been on snow. They act as a supplement to whatever form of exercise you are doing on a regular basis.

Flexibility and Stretching
The following are developmental stretches aimed to increase the working length of the muscle for an extended period of time, unlike those that you do for warm up. They are held longer (30-60 seconds) and are coordinated with your breathing. This should be done regularly up to and during your trip. A minute or two throughout the day works best and gets your muscles conditioned.

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Core twist
Stand with your knees relaxed (ie. don’t lock your knees) and your arms crossed in front of you. Slowly look over one shoulder and let your whole body follow until you feel a good stretch in the back and side. Repeat on the other side.

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Quads stretch
1. While standing, grab your right ankle with your right hand and pull your heel towards your backside until you feel a good stretch down the front of your thigh. Repeat on other leg.

2. As a variation, grab your right ankle with your left hand and pull your foot towards your left cheek; this should wind up a slightly different part of the muscle. Repeat on each side.

Hamstring stretch
Start by sitting with your legs straight in front of you and crossed at the ankles. Then slide your hands down your thighs towards your feet until you feel the hamstrings stretching. Cross your legs over the other way and repeat.

Skiing-specific exercises
Skiing places high demand on your stability and balance, and requires single leg performances. Exercise such as single leg squats, lunges and hops can focus on building the muscular strength of each leg. Plyometrics, such as box or bench jumps, lateral jumps and skips can help to simulate quick reactionary moves that are found when skiing.

Single Leg Stand Up
Sit down, and straighten your left leg out to 90° off the ground, keeping the right leg on the floor. Stand up with your right leg, keeping the left leg in the air. Then slowly sit back down. Switch legs and repeat after 30 seconds.

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Snowboarding-specific exercises
The purpose of snowboarding exercises is to build a solid core to assist with strength and flexibility in movement, especially the rotation of the torso. Exercises such as Box Jumps, Mountain Climbers, Squats and Russian Twists will build muscular endurance in the core.

Quick Getup
Lay on your back with feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Sit up as you stretch both arms out in front of you. Continue rising until you are standing up; keep both feet firmly on the ground in the same position throughout the whole movement. Return to the floor in the reverse way you stood up.

situp

Balance
To increase the difficulty and to improve your performance if you’re an intermediate skier or snowboarder is to include the use of BOSU ball or balance boards. To become an advanced skier, you have to be able to ride in different conditions where the surface of the runs will be uneven.

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Nutrition and hydration
Having an adequate amount (i.e. more than just a hot beverage) for breakfast will give us the energy to start skiing strong. Choose a breakfast that includes wholegrain carbs such as oatmeal and wholegrain bread. Have snacks (e.g. nuts, trail mix or bars) in your pockets to refuel in between runs for you to make it to lunchtime without your stomach growling.

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Lunch and dinner are important for energy and recovery. It’s easy to indulge while we’re on vacation, but if you intend to ski strong for a couple of days then it’s wise to balance the pizza and some fries with lean proteins, vegetables and fruits. And go easy on the alcohol.

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Coming from Singapore, we associate dehydration with the heat and are quite susceptible to not drinking enough when we’re in the cold. In fact, the likelihood of dehydration is increased when we’re exercising (i.e. skiing) in the cold, because of the drier air (plus the lungs working harder to humidify that air). The easiest way to tell if you’re hydrated is by the colour of your urine.

You should not only rehydrate with water, but add electrolytes and carbohydrates (such as an energy bar) over the course of the day. If you’re at higher altitudes, drink more.

You’ve made the plans to get out and enjoy the snow and to enjoy your turns, so make the best of it by preparing your body and nourishing it. Lastly, remember to check the conditions before you head out there and be safe on the slopes!

One Response to “Training and Preparation for Snowsports”

  1. Helen says:

    Fruits and vegetables provide the fiber as well as vitamins that are essential.

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