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  • Writer's picturezelechowski mathieu

Summer Training for Winter Skiing Performance: A Physiotherapist and Osteopath's Guide

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

a physiotherapist osteopath  from courchevel having lunch in bali during summer

As the summer sun shines and temperatures rise, it may seem odd to start thinking about your winter skiing performance. However, preparing your body during the off-season is crucial to optimize your skiing abilities when the snow-covered slopes beckon. As a physiotherapist and osteopath, I understand the importance of maintaining and enhancing physical fitness year-round. In this article, I will guide you through a comprehensive summer training program that will help you develop strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility – all essential for achieving peak skiing performance in the winter.

  1. Cardiovascular Endurance: Skiing demands cardiovascular fitness to sustain long hours on the slopes. Engaging in activities that elevate your heart rate during the summer will improve your stamina for winter skiing. Options such as running, cycling, swimming, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are excellent choices. Aim for at least three to five cardiovascular sessions per week, gradually increasing intensity and duration as you progress.

  2. Strength Training: Developing adequate strength in the right muscle groups is crucial for skiing. Focus on exercises that target the lower body, including squats, lunges, step-ups, deadlifts, and calf raises. Incorporate resistance training using weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises to build strength and power. Additionally, don't neglect your core muscles, which play a significant role in maintaining balance and stability on the slopes. Exercises like planks, Russian twists, and medicine ball rotations are beneficial for core strength.

  3. Balance and Stability: Skiing requires exceptional balance and stability to navigate varied terrains and maintain control at high speeds. Include balance exercises in your training routine to enhance proprioception and coordination. Activities like yoga, Pilates, single-leg exercises, and using stability equipment such as balance boards or Bosu balls can significantly improve your balance and stability.

  4. Flexibility and Mobility: Maintaining optimal flexibility and mobility is essential for preventing injuries and performing ski-specific movements effectively. Incorporate regular stretching sessions, focusing on major muscle groups such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves. Additionally, consider including exercises that promote mobility, such as hip openers, thoracic spine rotations, and ankle mobility drills.

  5. Plyometric Training: Plyometric exercises involve explosive movements and can help improve power, agility, and reaction time on the slopes. Incorporate exercises like box jumps, lateral hops, bounding, and squat jumps into your training regimen. However, plyometric training should be approached with caution and gradually progressed to minimize the risk of injury. Seek guidance from a qualified professional if you're new to this type of training.

  6. Injury Prevention and Recovery: To ensure a successful winter skiing season, prioritize injury prevention and recovery strategies. Warm up thoroughly before each workout session, including dynamic stretching and mobility exercises. If you have any pre-existing injuries or concerns, consult with a physiotherapist or osteopath to address them appropriately. Regular rest days and adequate sleep are vital for recovery and allowing your body to adapt and strengthen.

  7. Skill-Specific Training: In addition to physical conditioning, take time to hone your skiing skills during the summer. Attend ski-specific training camps or clinics to improve your technique, learn new skills, and familiarize yourself with the latest equipment. Dryland training exercises, such as ski-specific drills and balance exercises on simulated slopes, can also be beneficial.

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