CSIA instructor and personal trainer Will Prideaux-Brune on how to get ski-fit, the kettlebell way
Two Handed Kettlebell Swings:
Assuming the bottom of a deadlift position, grasp the handle of your Kettlebell. While maintaining a long straight spine, “Hike” the Kettlebell back between your legs. Once the Kettlebell has come to the natural apex of its swing, drive your hips forward and stand up straight. Your arms should remain straight and not be used to assist the rising of the Kettlebell. The Kettlebell swing should finish when it reaches chest height. As it comes back down again, absorb the weight with your hips while letting the Kettlebell swing behind you, and then drive your hips forward again to stand up.
Kettlebell swings match the requirements of skiing in many ways. Firstly it emulates the positioning, rhythm and range of motion a skiing requires. Secondly they challenge both the fitness and strength of your core and legs. Finally they also help improve mobility in your hips and legs, something that is important to skiing. This will all make you more dynamic and mobile on the piste
Hold a Kettlebell high on your chest, with two hands on the handle and your forearms gripping the ball between them. Keeping your spine long and straight, squat down until your elbows touch the inside of your knees. Hold for one second and then explosively push the ground away through your heels to stand back up. It is important that, as much as possible, you avoid flexing your knees forward (so sit back into your pelvic girdle). This will promote good form and make sure the right muscles are being worked. It will certainly challenge the balance of people with poor core strength (or who are just not used to to squatting correctly), but you can use the Kettlebell as a counterbalance to help keep you from falling over.
Squats are a basic expression of lower body strength. You are about to go skiing… you will be using your legs a lot. The stronger you can get them before hitting the slopes the less they will hurt on day two. Goblet Squats help you learn correct squat form, particularly in the area of teaching you to load your weight into your pelvic girdle and not your knees. From a skiing point of view, it also will help teaching you not to overflex the ankle joint. Overflexing the ankle joint causes it to lock, which will therefore lead to inability to adjust balance easily as well as causing upper body rotation during turns.
Adopt a plank position with your feet together, your forearms a shoulder width apart and parallel to each other. Your hands should be clenched in fists with your little finger on the ground and your thumb on top. Your spine and legs should form a straight line (no sagging). Tensing as tight as you can, imagine you are trying to pull your elbows towards your knees. You should feel an intense tension in your core as you squeeze your glutes, abs and lats. Hold the tension as hard as you can for ten seconds and then release.
Planks are probably the best all-round core strengthening exercise. Having a strong core will make skiing work better, particularly when going off piste, in the powder and moguls.