The temperature is dropping and the ski season is weeks away. Here are three ways to make sure your body is ready
THE OLD-SCHOOL WAY
Nothing beats an old-fashioned work-out when it comes to getting ski fit.
Raine Hunt from Matt Roberts Personal Training suggests concentrating on mobility as well as leg strength to cope with the reactive power of twists and turns, and core strength to maintain alignment. “It’s a good idea to work on flexibility in your key moving joints – hips, knees and back. Do this at least four or five times a week,” recommends Raine. For increased endurance, aim for three aerobic (running or hill-walking) sessions a week.
CSIA instructor and personal trainer Will Prideaux-Brune is an advocate of kettleballs for pre-season fitness: “Kettleball swings match the requirements of skiing in many ways. They emulate the positioning, rhythm and range of motion a skier requires, and help improve the mobility in your hips and legs.”
Will also suggests goblet squats (to improve lower body strength and prevent overflexing of the ankle) and hard-style planks for core strength. Go here for more info on these exercises.
THE DIGITAL WAY
Not one for the gym? SkiFit, an app released last month, could be for you. Designed by Neil Maclean-Martin, a Chamonix-based physio, it uses video to demo over 100 skier-specific exercises, giving you a training programme to follow over eight weeks – so best get started now!
The SkiFit app brings together strength, flexibility and balance in four phases. Each phase consists of an hour’s guided session from warm-up, core, circuits and so on to warm-down; building you up as you work through the phases. SkiFit calls it “pre-habilitation” – a term based on physio Neil seeing enough injuries to realise how many can be avoided by training properly before the season gets underway.
The app can be downloaded or bought on smartphones/tablets. It costs £4.99 for Phase 1 or £9.99 for the full programme.
THE SCIENTIFIC WAY
Game Ready is a system that has been used by American footballers, rugby players and skiers like Lindsey Vonn and Chemmy Alcott for years, and increasing numbers of surgeons are using it for post-op recovery. The components are a box with an air and a water pump and control panel, hoses and various wraps depending on which body part needs treating. Knee and ankle wraps are the most popular; hip, shoulder, wrist, elbow and other areas can also be covered.
The system relies on iced water being pumped around the wrap next to your skin, with the air delivering the compression which can be altered. It feels… numbing. The system delivers a cycle of cooling and compression which can be set to run throughout the night which, according to the consultants who use it, delivers a significantly decreased recovery time.
The clincher is that these systems can now be rented for a month for £250, rather than being bought outright for £1500, as was previously the case. Since we skiers tend to have a selection of twists and tears on the go, Game Ready looks like a useful aid to recuperation. We’ll be testing one later this season. No, we’re not pessimists – publisher Dickie is in for a hip op.