Going Off Base
Don’t Get Piste Off!
When the hottest trending thing right now is the Ski-Trax App and the general patter around the water cooler inevitably turns to the snow report in Chamonix, you know that “ski season” is almost upon us!
When skiing or snowboarding, you activate and use muscles that are not called into action during your normal day-to-day life, and this is usually the reason why you struggle to get out of bed on the second or third morning of your trip.
The muscle soreness not only makes your winter break less enjoyable (especially going up or down stairs) but it also puts you at a greater chance of getting seriously injured on the slopes.
With many of you headed off for a touch of “shoop-shoop” over the next few weeks, here is my easy to follow preparation guide to make sure you stay on track and not face down in a snow drift!
Going from a slow walk into a full-on sprint is not usually recommended. Most people would do a warm-up, right? Or at least practise with a jog? That sounds like common sense.
But when it comes to skiing, the vast majority just strap on their skis and head straight for the slopes. From your muscles’ point of view, this is the equivalent of the slow-walk into a full-on sprint.
Prepare yourself a few weeks beforehand by getting your legs and core moving on a daily basis: this can be as simple as doing some leg specific movements, such as squats and lunges in the gym or at home.
Throw in a plank or two and all of a sudden you are bulletproofing your body and getting the key muscle groups ready to do battle with The Piste.
Aim to increase the number of reps that you do for each of these movements as you get closer to your trip, whilst making sure your form is good and you are feeling it in the target muscles.
Build Up Your Lactic Threshold.
It may be a bit of a throwback to the workout videos of the mid-80s, but for this one I really want you to “feel the burn”!!!
That is the lactic acid building up in your legs and funnily enough is the same feeling you will get as you are gliding down the slopes on the second or third run of the day.
Get your body used to this feeling and increase your ability to perform when it kicks in by increasing your “lactic threshold”. This can be done by getting in a few intense spin classes before your trip, or by clocking up some miles in your legs with a couple of longer runs.
You may not think it at the time, but your body will thank you for it and it is well worth getting these under your belt ahead a few weeks before your trip…
Stretch It Out.
For most people that work in The Square Mile, we spend the majority of the day sat at a desk… staring at a computer screen. This posture almost certainly lends itself to developing tight hip-flexors, hamstrings, and glutes: all muscles that are vital when you get away on your ski trip.
Take the time to focus on stretching out these muscles, or even hit a couple of Yoga or Pilates sessions to keep you limber before you get on the ski lifts.
A couple of hours in the yoga studio will be much better time spent than a couple of hours on the treatment table recovering from a pulled or strained muscle on the first day…
Skiing is one of the most exhilarating sports and past-times out there and the après-ski is second to none: make sure you put in a little bit of ground work before you depart for the slopes to ensure you stay fit, healthy and skiing as much as you like on our winter break away.
Shaun Stafford is a Director at City Athletic Performance Gym where they run a specific “Ski-Fit” class to get you ready to hit the slopes. Check it out at www.cityathletic.co.uk.