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Fall Training Tips for Ski Season
Ski and snowboard season is right around the corner. Are your legs and lungs ready? We called on three Breckenridge fitness pros for their top pre-season workouts and training tips for ski season. Here’s what they had to say.
Hit The Gym
The good news about transitioning from summer to winter sports is that most of the sports utilize the same major lower body muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal and calf muscles, says Kelly Gerken, Fitness Coordinator for the Breckenridge Recreation Department.
When that first snow hits, there’s a rush to the rec center to get into “winter shape.” Most people are working on feeling stronger, limiting injuries and improving stability and balance. Gerken recommends the following strength and balance exercises for a smooth transition to winter:
Warm-up with high knees, butt kicks, plank walks, lateral band walks (with a resistance band at ankles), walking opposite toe reaches, and climb the agility ladder at the rec center.
Lower Body Strength & Balance: Leg press, deadlifts, lateral lunges on Bosu ball, side planks, single-leg Kettle bell deadlifts, step-ups on a bench or box, Russian twist on Bosu ball.
Full-Body Strength & Endurance: Wall sits, walking lunges, TRX push-ups, lateral box jumps, hamstring curl on stability ball, single arm bent over row, Ski Erg machine.
Cool down by stretching and using a foam roller on the low back, hip flexors, hamstrings, quads and calf muscles.
Hop on a Bike
Psycle 9600 owner Melissa Dasakis has created two classes at her cycling studio for a perfect fall fitness cocktail of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and steady state cardio. Spin® & Core and Spin® Bootcamp begin on the stationary bike to build cardiovascular strength and then transition off the bike to strengthen the entire core, build strong quads, glutes and hamstrings, along with agility and balance.
“The core is used for stabilizing, twisting, bending and rotation, all super important when skiing, snowboarding or performing other outdoor activities,” Dasakis says.
Fall hiking is another great way to train the muscles for skiing, especially when descending steep terrain. “Think about it. When we are skiing we are using the leg muscles to control speed as we descend, which is hard to train in a gym,” she says. “However, when hiking we get the benefits of building strength and stamina while ascending and the ability to train similar movements to skiing on the descent.”
The best pre-ski-season injury prevention technique? Yoga! The instructors agree, staying flexible is crucial to remaining injury free. Bonus: Stability and balance movements such as chair pose and warrior III are great for control and power needed to ski fluffy powder all day.
Get in A Mental and Physical Workout
For Bhava Yoga founder Jenni Frank’s training tips for ski season, it’s all about using rituals to stay grounded as the seasons change. “I love carving out time first thing in the morning to set the tone for the day: journaling, a quick breathing practice or a short yoga and meditation practice,” she says.
Frank calls on yoga for all-season cross-training to stay strong and flexible, adding in resistance training and weight lifting to pump up strength and stability. It’s also important to support internal health this time of year by eating more warm, cooked foods like soups, stews and casseroles.
“When it’s cold outside and you’re at 10,000 feet, you use more energy for everything,” Frank says. “Add healthy fats and eat enough protein. Try to keep your meal times consistent so your body develops routine; early dinners are best.”
When the snow begins to stick, check out these local go-to winter workouts.