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  • Jessie Mayo

Prepare for winter sports now

The temperature is dropping quickly in Victoria with snow falling in the mountains last weekend. It may only be Autumn but now is the time to prepare for Winter. Hit the snow season strong and ready to maximise your enjoyment out there on the slopes.


Winter sports are very demanding on the body. They require cardiovascular fitness to get you through a whole day of physical activity. They require strength to maintain your ski or snowboard posture and make turns and absorb impacts. They require dynamic stability to get down the varied terrain. They need core stability and strength to enable those strong legs to do the work. Winter sports are so much fun, however to enjoy them to the maximum we need to be prepared.

How can you prepare for the snow season? Starting now you have ample time to start small and build up slowly and safely to feel good and avoid injuries. Whether you want to get into the gym, group exercise classes or prepare at home, there are many options. The elements to include in your pre winter workout are:


Cardiovascular Fitness

Improving your cardiovascular fitness will allow you to enjoy longer runs, longer days and better recovery. Depending on what you like and what your body likes, you could include riding (stationary bike or outside), running, cross trainer, rowing. Get your heart rate up a little and build your endurance slowly and steadily. If you're new to cardiovascular fitness please check with your doctor before you start.


Strength

When you think of snowsports we think of strong legs, which you certainly need. You also need to have a strong core and strong upper body posture. Building a strong strength foundation is both performance enhancing and assists in injury prevention. There are many exercises you can include whether you're at home or in the gym;

- squats

- lunges

- lateral lunges

- step ups

- plank

- mountain climber

- rows

Even better, you can combine some of these exercises. As with your cardiovascular fitness, start small and build. You want your strength exercises to be challenging however achievable. Seek advice on your program to ensure you are performing it safely and effectively.

Power

Power comes into the training a little later. You need a good base of strength to include more dynamic exercises to ensure you are ready for the load. Power is strength at speed. In snowsports power is important, so get onto that strength part as soon as you can.

Power exercises for winter sports might look like:

- bench jumps

- burpees

- box jumps

- lateral jumps

These are all great exercises to get you strong and dynamic with your strength and ready to take on the hard terrain out there.


Dynamic Stability

Biomechanics and balance are key to responding to the changing nature of the snow. Dynamic stability is moving with balance and co-ordination. A great place to start might be:

- single leg balance

- single leg squats

- landing onto one leg

Then you can add challenges:

- change the surface ie bosu ball, balance mat

- add movement ie shoulder press, ball throw

- make it more dynamic ie lunge onto bosu

With dynamic stability it is quality over quantity. Watch your form and position. If you need advice or assistance in understanding how your body should best move, see your physiotherapist or health professional.

Winter sports preparation sounds exhausting. Make it fun, mix it up. The pay off is longer, stronger days on snow. If you have any questions, need advice or direction, get in touch. Here's to a great season ahead.

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