The snow is not flying yet, but that is what makes pre-ski season preparation programs ideal to integrate into your macro exercise program now! Every year we offer a 7-week ski preparation program preparing our clients for ski and snowboard season (really all winter sports) with excellent results. While training the entire body for ski/snowboard season is crucial to ensure safety, effectiveness and fun, there are several lower-body specific training drills/skills that should be included regularly during preparation. There are dozens of possibilities; however, include the following three types of drills which concentrate on improving power, strength, agility, coordination, balance, stability and reaction time. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Drill #1 Lateral Motion Training Drills – performed on a slide board, gliding discs, bongo boards, BOSU Balance Trainer, mini trampolines or step platform, training in the frontal plane is part of all sport’s performance training and is of particular importance during ski preparation. The lateral motion strengthens all of the lower body muscles, and naturally requires significant nose to toes core engagement. There are dozens of drills which may be performed on the board which vary from novice to advanced in difficulty and once a client has become proficient on the board, they often progress quickly to more challenging drills/skills. Gliding discs are also useful for side lunging, unilateral lower body training. The BOSU is an invaluable tool for ski preparation as edging drills and plyometric jumps/leaps/hops may all be performed from this tool which also requires significant core engagement due to the balance/stability elements of the BOSU. Other tools such as step platforms, the Strongboard and Step Pro 360 may be incorporated within the lateral motion training modality.
Drill #2 Transverse Plane Training Drills – all of the fitness tools mentioned in drill #1 may be utilized to perform drill #2. Transverse plane training includes rotational movement patterns such as simulating a downhill approach, keeping the shoulders square to the downhill and rotating the hips independently of the torso (think twists on the trampoline or BOSU). Gliding discs may be utilized during stationary front lunge drills with a medicine ball, Versa Log or ViPR, rotating the torso toward the training leg side during the lunging movement pattern. Kickboxing drills such as front, side, roundhouse and back kicks necessarily require rotational movement patterns as well as improving nose to toes core strength and power.
Drill #3 Shuffling drills – while part of the lateral motion training modality, you may train in all three planes with this type of drill (i.e. sagittal/frontal/transverse) by simply shifting the direction of the shuffle. For example, shuffle forward, backward, right, left, diagonally and figure 8’s. Adding medicine ball bounces, slam ball or clubs to this shuffling movement pattern, increases the intensity considerably. And, you may perform multiple movement patterns with an agility ladder such as lateral runs, high knee sagittal runs, hops, leap, and jumps or arrange cones in a challenging pattern to simulate traversing the hill. A simple shuffling drill is to shuffle four times to the right and left and as you reach your fourth count, bounce or slam the ball/club.
You may perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each type of drill, two/three times per week on non-consecutive days to prepare for the season. Begin 6-8 weeks prior to your first run for the best results and continue with your regimented exercise program prior to the season and throughout the year to ensure a fit and healthy body!