Sarah's Series #2 - Strength & Endurance

Why is strength and endurance important? Well, often skiers and boarders will spend up to 7 hours on the slopes every day of their holiday, of course this will differ dependent on whether you are a “hard core” holiday maker or prefer to spend your time at a more relaxed pace. Regardless of whether you’re going to be hitting the slopes hard or not, it’s likely to be a significant increase on your level of daily exercise.

A good level of endurance is required to maximise the time you are able to stay out enjoying the slopes, but it also reduces your risk of injury.

A common theme we see when we’re treating patients is this; a tired skier or boarder who’s heading home for the day. Their muscles are aching, they feel their technique slipping and then they hit some unusual terrain or catch the edge of their skis or board. Because their muscles are fatigued, they have less capability of correcting and instead injure themselves either falling or while they remain upright.

Frequently these types of injuries occur at the end of the second or third day out on the slopes when there’s also a cumulative effect of fatigue on their muscles.

To increase endurance, exercises should be completed for longer periods with shorter breaks in between.

Cardiovascular fitness (how well your heart and lungs manage with exercise) is also very important. This can be increased with any exercise which gets your heart pumping!

For skiing and boarding, leg strength and core strength are the two most important areas to focus on. Below are some exercises to start with. Remember you should be completing them until your feel your muscles really working hard and start to “feel the burn!”

To make them more difficult add some resistance (weight) or increase the number you are doing!

All of the following exercises are demonstrated and talked through on videos that you’ll find at the end of each section on Leg Strength and Core Strength.

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Leg strength

Squats
Start with your feet about shoulder width apart.

Keep your knees in line with your toes. Try not to let your knees fall inward.

Aim for no deeper than a 90° angle at your knee.

Easiest to think of driving bottom backwards during the movement

 
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Lunges

Aim to keep your feet about shoulder width apart and just over a meter between them (dependent on how long your legs are!).

Think about dropping the back knee down towards the floor.

Try and keep knees in line with toes and avoid any side to side movement of your thigh.

 

Heel raises off step

Start with only the balls of your feet on the step. Drop your heels down then drive up through your calf onto your tip toes.

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Hold onto a banister if you need help with balance.

 

Abduction

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Stand with your feet together to start with. Keep torso straight upright and take one leg out to the side. Try to keep you pelvis level without any hitching of your hip.

Try to keep your toes facing forward instead of out to the side.

 

Crab walk

Start stood with your feet about shoulder width apart and a slight bend in your knees.

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Side step along the length of your hallway ensuring that your toes always point forwards and that you don’t over rock your body. Ensure your knees stay out over your toes and don’t fall into the middle.

This can be made more difficult by using a resistance band around your ankles or knees.

 

Core strength

Planks

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Start with your elbows under your shoulders like the picture here.

Try to keep your bottom tucked in and your core engaged.

Hold for as long as possible.

Side planks

Start on your side like the picture shows.

Try to maintain hips that point directly in front of you without rolling forwards or backwards.

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If this is too difficult drop down onto your knees. Point to the ceiling with the opposite hand to stop your torso rotating.

 

Dish hold

Start sitting on the floor with your legs bent. Slowly lower your torso towards the floor as shown until you get to a point where you can feel your core engaged.

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To make this more difficult, lift your legs keeping them either bent or straightening them.

Russian twists

This is a progression of the dish hold. Turn your torso from side to side. You might find it easier to have your torso more vertical for this exercise.

To make it more difficult, hold a weight or lift your feet off the floor too!

Disclaimer:
The purpose of this blog is to provide general information and educational material relating to exercise, physiotherapy and injury management. Bonne Santé Alps has made every effort to provide you with correct, up-to-date information. In using this blog, you agree that information is provided 'as is, as available', without warranty and that you use the information at your own risk. We recommend that you seek advice from a fitness or healthcare professional if you require further advice relating to exercise or medical issues.

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