Warm up for Skiing

You’ve arrived, read the snow reports and settled into your accommodation, perhaps already been to the equipment hire shop and now you’re ready to hit the Snow! However are you muscles ready? Winter sports use your muscles very differently compared to sports during the rest of the year. So send a message to your body and activate the muscles you’re going to be using, straining and feeling throughout your holiday. Try to reduce those sore legs in between days and prevent some of the most common injuries caused on the mountain.

Here is our top five tips for an effective warm up at the start of a day’s skiing.

Warm up: Standing around, waiting in queues, sitting on lifts is the typical start to a day’s skiing, most would agree this isn’t the ideal start. It doesn’t help raise the heart rate or warm up your muscles, so as soon as you jump off the lift, take a minute of two to work through 15-20 simple ‘Squats’.

– How? Facing forward, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees up and down into a squat 15 to 20 times. A great exercise to warm up your quads, hamstrings, glutes and lower back. To understand the squat position, the deepest point should be the same as if you were going to jump as high as possible.

Mobilise: It’s not stretching, this exercise opens the body up. ‘Leg swings’ take your hip, knee and ankles through the range of movement needed to move well.

– How? Using your ski poles for balance and ski boots for extra resistance, find your balance then first swing one leg forwards and backwards, then staying on the same leg, swing side to side across the body. Try to work through ten to twelve before switching to the other leg.

Activate for skiing: It’s time to switch on the key muscles you’ll be using for skiing. The ‘Skier’s Lunge’ uses the side to side motion to reinforce good movement patterns and reminds your muscles how you want them to work.

– How? Place your feet wider apart, then lunge from side to side keeping your shoulder, hip, knee and foot in line on the outside of the lunge. Work through 10-30 repetitions.

Really activate: ‘Jumping’ helps to reinforce activation and can keep your muscles switched on for longer.

– How? Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, jump up and down six or seven times, keeping your balance and control.  If you want – have a go with your skis on.

Head space: You’ve warmed up and switched on the key muscles you’ll need for a great day’s skiing. Most knee injuries happen either at the end of the day when you’re tired or at the beginning of the day when you might not have found your flow. Taking a few minutes to warm up effectively will put you mentally into the right space to move well and enjoy a great day out on the mountain. Now click in and go …..

And when you’ve finished a great day out on the hill, take a few moments to stretch out those used muscles, take a warm bath, perhaps make use of the hot tub or sauna. Remember to hydrate (anything non-alcoholic really!) and rest so that the next day you’re ready to go again.  You can do the leg swings at any time to help loosen out the hips and back.