New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Shap­ing up to hit the slopes

For those learn­ing to ski, the chal­lenge and re­ward, comes from mas­ter­ing an ac­tiv­ity, writes DAVID ROB­SON, that re­quires co­or­di­na­tion and pa­tience to

be­come adept.

The pop­u­lar win­ter pas­time of ski­ing is, for those with a pas­sion for the out­doors and an ad­dic­tion to adren­a­line, both fun and phys­i­cally chal­leng­ing.

Once the del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act of learn­ing the ski­ing fun­da­men­tals has been ac­com­plished, how­ever, many quickly be­come de­voted to hit­ting the slopes. To truly max­imise your snow ski­ing ad­ven­tures you must be phys­i­cally fit, strong and well co­or­di­nated. With­out enough stamina you may quickly find your­self trail­ing your friends and tir­ing be­fore you can re­ally en­joy your­self; with­out suf­fi­cient strength you may be­come in­jured; with a lack of co­or­di­na­tion you may find your­self spend­ing more time in the snow than on it.

While be­com­ing a good skier re­quires skill, which can only be gained through ex­ten­sive prac­tice, a suc­cess­ful skier will have the phys­i­cal­ity needed to nav­i­gate tricky ter­rain, while fur­ther im­prov­ing his or her skill level. To be sen­sa­tional on the snow, a skier’s physique will be strong in all ar­eas (in­clud­ing the core) and aer­o­bi­cally fit. I will now ex­plain how to build a body wor­thy of one of the world’s tough­est and most re­ward­ing, sport­ing pur­suits.


As they rely heav­ily on mus­cu­lar bal­ance and core strength, the ac­com­plished skier must be strong through the ab­dom­i­nals, lower back, hips and obliques. In­deed, a strong core will de­crease the risk of falls, im­prove per­for­mance and en­hance pos­ture; all of which en­ables us to bet­ter con­trol our


Aside from direct core work, pre­par­ing phys­i­cally for ski­ing ex­cel­lence will in­volve de­vel­op­ing all over mus­cle strength. While

tar­get­ing the core is of fun­da­men­tal im­por­tance, with­out strength across all mus­cle groups, var­i­ous im­bal­ances may oc­cur, which may lead to ski­ing-re­lated in­juries. To build to­tal body strength, do the fol­low­ing: Train each ma­jor mus­cle group once per week, with one day of rest be­tween work­outs (dur­ing which the core may be trained). Tar­get­ing any group­ing will stim­u­late the core so to avoid over­work­ing this area, con­sid­er­ing the spe­cific train­ing we will be do­ing for it, other ar­eas must be hit weekly. Com­plete the fol­low­ing move­ments for three sets of 8 to 12 each: Work­out one: Dumbbell shoul­der press; in­cline dumbbell press; front dumbbell raises; side lat­er­als and tri­ceps kick­backs.


Since skiers are at cer­tain times re­quired to ap­ply max­i­mal aer­o­bic ef­fort (such as when travers­ing hills and gain­ing speed) their aer­o­bic fit­ness must be suf­fi­ciently high.

The best way for skiers to build the en­durance needed to last the dis­tance and max­imise their time on the snow is to in­cor­po­rate high in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing (HIIT) into their rou­tines. This type of train­ing will push you to just be­low the anaer­o­bic thresh­old to develop a greater tol­er­ance for the lower oxy­gen lev­els one may ex­pe­ri­ence per­form­ing at higher al­ti­tudes. To train HIIT style, do the fol­low­ing: Cy­cle or run for one minute a at mod­er­ate aer­o­bic in­ten­sity level (around 75 per cent of max­i­mal heart rate) be­fore switch­ing to 95 per cent of heart rate max for a fur­ther 20 to 30 sec­onds. Con­tinue in this fash­ion for 25 to 30 min­utes. Com­plete four HIIT ses­sions per week, prefer­ably first thing in the morn­ing (on an empty stom­ach), as train­ing aer­o­bi­cally at this time has been shown to lower body fat lev­els faster (ex­ces­sive adi­pose may also pre­vent the ac­tive skier from en­hanc­ing their du­ra­tion of per­for­mance and co­or­di­na­tion on the skis).

To be sen­sa­tional on the snow, a skier’s physique will be aer­o­bi­cally fit and strong in all ar­eas (in­clud­ing the core).

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