The 2015/16 ski season is fast approaching, and I cannot wait to hit the slopes with both my girls during February half-term holiday.
An average day on the slopes will mean around five hours of intense exercise, so unless you’re heading over purely for the après-ski, you’ll need to get yourself slope-ready.
I’ve been sent some tips below from a Virgin Active expert on how to increase fitness, strength and flexibility before you hit the mountains, along with some information on altitude training which I would like to share with you today.
by James Trevorrow (Virgin Active’s National Product Innovation Manager)
As your feet are fixed in one position when skiing, it is important that your hips and upper body are mobile, in order to give your joints and connective tissues support. No need to use weights with these motions, this is all about increasing your range.
You want to increase mobility across all planes of movement within the hips to prepare for parallel turns. You can do so with the following moves:
· Step forward into the lunge position. Either reach your hands over your head or cross them over your chest. Do the four movements below, swapping legs and increasing reps.
· Maintain your balance and remember to keep the feet locked in order to mimic the motion of skiing.
· Move your hips backwards and forwards in a thrusting motion.
· Keep your knees soft and bounce the hips from side to side.
· Keeping the hips forward, twist the upper body from left to right, lowering it down towards the hips on each turn.
· Cross your left leg over the right and reach your right hand over your head. Lean the torso to the left and bounce over the hip. Cross right leg over and reaching over with your left arm, repeat movement.
When skiing, you load, unload and hold significant weight on your legs. Leg strengthening workouts are great way to prepare for such endurance.
· To ensure your legs are strong enough for a week on the slopes, do rotation squats with dumbbells, lunges, step-ups and bike intervals.
· Wall squats are fantastic preparation for skiing – start with 30seconds and work up, adding weights as you go.
VIRGIN ACTIVE’S ALTITUDE STUDIO
Set at an altitude of 3000m, around the same height as ski resorts such as Val D’isere, Virgin Active’s Apex High Altitude Studio is ideal for anyone hitting the slopes this winter.
Virgin Active members can choose from a range of altitude training programmes, including Apex Sprint, Apex Strength and Apex Group Cycle.
These classes are perfect for those looking for an intensive workout in a short time period. Aside from improving physical performance, altitude training assists greatly in the following three areas:
In high-altitude ski environments, we place more stress on our working muscles than in normal air. A structured altitude training programme ahead of a skiing holiday will improve exercise capacity and ability to ski for longer, without being compromised by muscle weakness and pain.
This is because the maximum amount of oxygen you can transport to your muscles will also improve, which in turn will enable your body to ski at a higher intensity for longer during your trip.
When training at altitude the heart rate and breathing rate increases, meaning more blood gets pumped around the body and muscles have to work harder.
As a result, doing a 30 minute session in the Apex High Altitude Studio will stress the cardiovascular system in the same way a 60 minute session at normoxia would.
This improves overall fitness fast, giving participants effective results such as lower overall fatigue, higher endurance levels and an increased capacity to ski all day!
Training at altitude can be a great additional tool to help prepare you for a trip to the mountains.
For anyone who is planning on going skiing, training in a hypoxic environment can help to acclimatise and effectively improve tolerance to altitude, minimising the effects of altitude sickness during your trip.
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