The mountains are calling! I hear you!

It’s a good idea to do some prep for your body so you can be balanced, strong and have enough endurance to get through the days with ease.

I learnt to ski only 4 years ago. And believe me, I’m still not that great. I am scared of speed, steepness and ice. Arghhh! Even so, I do love my days on the mountain. I love the cold air in my lungs, I love the view and most of all I love seeing my son Ben come alive up there. Being in nature can spark so much joy, and is especially important in certain types of people. (More on this another day) 
Even though I’m a bit of a timid skier, what I do know is how to strengthen and prepare your body so that you are balanced and confident.

I’m going to give you some great exercises to prepare your body for skiing, and the essential warm ups to do right before you jump on the chair lift.

Things to do to prepare your body before you go Skiing

Have you ever done a couple of ski runs and felt your legs start to shake and wobble?

You’ll want to strengthen your quads so you can hold squat-like shape for an extended time and push up out of this shape. A good way to develop strength here is to do some squats and lunges.

Squat – Knees aligned over toes and sit back like you’re sitting in a chair.
Step forward lunge – both knees bend

I’d do:

  • 20 Squats like you’re sitting down in a chair,
  • 20 lunges – step one foot forward and bend both knees keeping your alignment.
  • 20 jump squats – These are similar to the above only you’ll add a little jump. Get your heart rate up and warm up quickly with these!
  • 20 lunge switches – Similar to the lunge just with a jump switch.
Side to side lunge – transfer of weight.
Standing balance – Essential for ankle strength and balance training
Do 10 on each side
Side lying exercises – These will develop glute strength, reduce low back pain and knee pain.

I’d do:

  • Lift and lower the long top leg (20 each side)
  • Bend the top knee in towards your chest and then extend (20 each side)
  • Clams – Start with your knees together and bent. Then open the top knee to the ceiling while keeping the hips stacked. (20 each side)
  • Leg circles – extend the top leg and keeping the leg long, circle the leg. (10 in each direction)
Criss cross chest lift

This criss cross move will help you move your ribs separately from your pelvis. If you’re into Pilates, no doubt you’ve already been learning these skills. This criss cross chest lift is a good one!
It is important is so that you can shift your pelvis as you turn, while keeping your upper body facing down the hill.

Things to do up the mountain to warm up your body

Knee circles – Warm up your joints by placing your hands on your knees. Circle the knees around, allowing your feet to roll with the movement. Reverse the circle.

Knee circles in each direction

Arm Circles – Have you fallen and felt your arm pull as you try to support yourself? I know how you feel! Warming up the shoulders is important to feel relaxed and this will help your form too. It’s important to do this to warm up the body especially when you first get going as your body will be cold. Start with shoulder rolls and then gradually get your arms involved in the movement, making the circles bigger.

Arm circles

Neck stretch – gently look over your shoulder and then roll the chin to you chest lifting the head back up.

Neck stretch

Have a fun day on the mountain, and remember, you’ll develop your strength as you continue skiing through the season. Take it easy for the first few days as your body adjusts, and have fun!