The Value of Ski Conditioning Classes

October 17, 2007 by  
Filed under features

In anticipation of the upcoming winter snow skiing season, skiers should be assessing their level of fitness. With the knowledge that skiing works the body in ways that are very different from day to day movement, or even a standard gym workout, serious skiers appreciate the value of ski conditioning classes. The benefits of taking a ski conditioning class are many and include perfecting power moves, increasing endurance for top to bottom runs, improving agility, strength and flexibility; thereby decreasing the possibility of injury.

Ski conditioning classes are designed to progressively build strength and endurance over a period of six or seven weeks. Classes use speed, power, overload and plyometric drills, as well as balance control, agility and strength exercises. Plyometrics are exercises specifically designed to use explosive movements with the goal of developing muscular power and having the ability to generate a great amount of force rapidly. Progression to the next level of a course is determined individually, and participants need to challenge themselves in order to reach their fitness goal by the end of the program.

It is highly recommended that skiers do some fitness training before signing up for a ski conditioning class. This will allow a skier to gain the most benefit from a class right from the first lesson. Ski conditioning classes include a lot of jumping on and off steps, high and low squats, and lateral side-to-side movements, as well as lunges, squats and single leg-balancing. When you are working out, bear in mind that you need to be kind to your knees. Any sharp pain in your knees is an indication that you need to stop or slow down. Don’t ignore this warning from your body, as there is no point in injuring yourself before you even reach the ski slopes.

A jumping rope (skipping) is a really good way to warm up muscles while at the same time getting the heart rate up. It is recommended to jump for about two minutes at a time for a 10 minute period – and then gently stretch the leg muscles. Follow this with a few minutes of walking-lunges making sure that the bent knee stays over the ankle with the foot pointing straight ahead. Next, try to complete three sets of fifteen jumping squat thrusts – bend your knees with your fingers touching the floor, then jump up with hands raised to the ceiling. Practice balancing skills with the use of a balancing ball – keeping the non-standing leg bent, try touching the floor and then reaching for the ceiling for a total of 20 repetitions with each leg. Finish off the session by jumping side to side as well as back and forth with bent knees keeping legs and feet together. Try to land softly without making a noise with your feet.

Once you feel that you are coping with this routine, you are ready for the challenge of your first ski conditioning class. This will prepare you to enjoy the pleasure of snow skiing and other great winter activities – so go for it and have fun!