Your winter ski holiday can seem a million miles away in the summer, however it’s a really good time to get yourself into shape for when your holiday comes around. Having a good level of ski fitness will allow you to ski well and more importantly enjoy your ski holiday and lessons with us.
This post is the first a three part blog that will answer the following
- What is fitness?
- Which areas of fitness you should be focusing on for skiing according to sport science
- Good exercise you can try anywhere with very little cost
What is Fitness?
Fitness isn’t just one thing, it cannot be simply defined by the score you get on that painful bleep test you did back at school. So, before we get too carried away and follow the latest fashionable fitness programs or just continue with what we think we know, it’s important to understand the very simple basics of what the key areas of fitness are. Knowledge is power people, however simple it might be!!
In its simplest form physical fitness is widely accepted to be broken down into 4 main areas;
Although this knowledge is important, it doesn’t help us all that much towards our goals of getting you ready for the winter. Therefore, the next step is to break these 4 areas down into 8 more specific areas and relate them to skiing, again simple stuff but knowledge is power!
- Cardiovascular Endurance – the ability of your heart and lungs to work efficiently at a moderate intensity over a long period of time and to help speed up recovery from intense bouts of exercise. – Eg, Skating along the flats, or recovering on a chair lift when your lapping your favorite morning ski run.
- Strength Endurance – a muscle’s ability to perform a sustained work load time after time. – Eg, When you can make it down a steep red or black run making linked short turns without breaking rhythm or Marcel Hircher doing this….
- Strength – The maximum force a muscle/group of muscles can apply against a resistance. – Eg, simply standing up from your chair lift, managing the forces in a turn or why Axsel Lund Svindal does “the heavy lifting” in the gym.
- Agility – The ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing direction. – Eg, How quickly you can move your feet in the moguls before you faceplant.
- POWER! – A combination of strength and speed. – Eg – A big push with poles to carry speed onto a flat.
- Flexibility – The range of movement from, around or across a joint. Eg – being supple enough to be able to make good technical movement that are not limited by a poor range of movement.
- Balance – the ability to control the body’s position, either stationary or while moving. Eg – Being able to stay on your feet when you’re having fun chasing one of our coaches down the hill.
- Coordination – the ability to integrate lots of the above so that effective movements are achieved. Eg – being able to seamlessly adjust body movements with changes in the terrain and snow conditions.
However simple some of these points might seem it just goes to show how multifaceted skiing is when it comes to its demands on our fitness.
Therefore, it is important to be working on many areas of fitness in our training. Even if you just consider the very simplistic themes we have explored in this post, it now seems a tremendous waist of time if all your training for the winter involves lots of long distance running or hours on the bike. Neither of these activities seem particularly helpful for our balance, power, agility, strength and to some extent our strength endurance. Like I keep saying, knowledge is power, however simple!
So now we have a little bit of a deeper understanding of the what makes up physical fitness, and how these relate to skiing we can start applying it to what sport science tells us about the physical demands of skiing.
We will explore this more in our next post.
Until then enjoy the sun….