'Pre-Season Training'...not a term we are all fans of...winter is still a stretch away, the snow hasn't yet begun to fall and the thought of slogging away at the gym all Autumn may not quite exhilarate the senses.
Skiers and snowboarders are not known for being insiders; we are at home in the great outdoors, with clean fresh air in our lungs, surrounded by 'stop-you-in-your-tracks' stunning scenery. However, We know to really get the most out of the season we need to be prepared.
'Failing to prepare is preparing to fail as they say'... So with that all in mind, we have decided to take a fresh look at pre-season training. We want to inspire you to start getting amped for this winter season by looking at forming a training programme from a more holistic and integrative perspective.
1. Set Your Intentions
First off we need to think about why we need to train in preparation for the season ahead. It is important to set your intentions and focus on the goals that you are going to achieve from your efforts. Preparing your body for the solid months of physically demanding exercise that is involved in a winter season is crucial. Being prepared can greatly reduce your risk of injury as your muscles and joints will have become more accustomed to the sort of demands that will be asked from them once you are on the slopes. Your performance on the mountain will be stronger due to improved endurance, strength and agility. Having the ability to tire less easily and suffer less from the dreaded muscle soreness will enable you to ride harder and longer on those powder days and help you get the most out of the season. Sounds good - When do I start?
Now! Starting a head of time is the ideal way to feel satisfaction in your progress, make real improvements and not put unnecessary pressure on the body by trying to 'cram' it in the last month and over doing it. Initiating your training programme a good 8-10 weeks in advance gives you enough time to prepare yourself physically and mentally and stand yourself in good stead for a fun and safe winter ahead.
So what do we recommend you work on? We have narrowed this down to three main focuses – endurance, strength and flexibility.
Aerobic workouts increase your lung capacity and develop your cardiovascular system . This enables you to be able to endure longer efforts by increasing your bodies effectiveness at delivering oxygen to your muscles and in doing so decreasing your tiredness out on the mountain. Exercises such as running, hiking, mountain biking/cycling, rowing, and swimming are all good options. Make them really effective by doing them 3-5 times a week at a pace where you are working up a sweat but can still manage to carry a conversation with a buddy!
3. Step outside
Why not try and do as many of your exercises outside - If you live near any hills or mountains even better - align yourself with the natural mountainous environment and the cold winter weather. We think the more you can do outside the more relative your training is to what your experience is going to be living and riding in the alps. It's impressive being able to hit targets at the gym but getting out in the wilderness gives your physical efforts a connection to the outdoors and can increase a sense of mental clarity that an indoor gym just doesn't quite compete with. We get a buzz out of being in nature when we are on the slopes so why not integrate that as part of your preparation for your season.
Coming from a previously injured seasonaire, developing your strength to increase power and limit your risk of injury is not something to be underestimated! Exercises such as squats, lunges, Romanian Deadlifts and leg presses are great techniques to improve your stability and enable you to power through varying snow conditions and terrain. Many of these types of exercises can be done at home using your own bodyweight or with resistance bands for added resistance. You could even attempt to incorporate them into your normal movement...need to get something at the other end of the house – why not lunge there?! Every little helps! Obviously strong legs are important to both skiers and snowboarders but don't forget to work on strengthening the midsection muscles such as the abdominals, obliques and lower back. For some more info check out this great article to step your fitness up a level in preparation for your next winter trip.
Enrolling on a yoga course is a great way to work on your stretching and flexibility which are both super important for your ski-ing/snowboarding and going to help immensely on the mountain. Having a regular yoga practice is going to help make you more limber and your muscles prepared, lowering the chances of common pulled/strained muscles. Not typically thought of as incredibly serious injuries these incidents can be way too easily done; damaging muscles early on can at worst be totally inhabilitating and at best leave you with an area of weakness– either way not a good start to the season. Yoga also practices incorporating a mind to body connection which can help tune your sense of instinct and awareness– increasing your focus on the mountain and making sure you make sound decisions by listening to your bodies own reaches and limits.
6. Getting in the headspace
Aside from the physical training we recommend getting yourself in to the zone by watching some inspiring ski/snowboard documentaries of films by riders you really admire. This not only get's you super excited for the season ahead but can act as a great motivating factor if you are starting to stray off your pre-season training plan.
We also never underestimate the motivating power of music, so now is the time to get downloading some new playlists Check out some of the CD Fitness Playlist we have made for your headphones– this alone can make those harder days training turn into Rocky Balboa moments with your very own soundtrack... You could even check out some professional rider's playlists for new music inspiration (if it works for them...?!) some of the more commercialised riders such as Shaun White and Travis Rice release playlists from time to time – it's worth a google.
Finally...gain the reward of your hard work when you start the season calm in the confidence that you are prepared for all that the next few months ahead are going to throw at you and amped that you are ready to bring it on and make it the best winter you have ever experienced. Why not look at Autumn with a whole new perspective – instead of this being a lull period between seasons, the next few months can be the beginning of your next ski season...Phase 1 = preparation!
P.S Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you get happier, healthier, fitter and stronger in only 120 days!
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