How Pilates Can Help Get You Ready for the Ski Season
As the weather cools down here in Melbourne, it’s exciting to welcome back autumn sports like Australian rules football and rugby. But did you know this is also the perfect time to start conditioning your body ahead of the return to the slopes in winter?
The Victorian ski season officially kicks off in June, but if you want to make the most of your time at the snow it’s recommended to prepare physically just as you would for any other sport.
That’s why we’re excited to be launching our new 6-week Fit to Ski program, designed specifically with skiers in mind to provide you with a physical foundation of strength and mobility. Not only will this help you to become a better skier, but it will also reduce your risk of injury.
Why do I need to prepare my body for the ski season?
As a high-impact sport, skiing does demand a lot of your muscles and joints. Fractures, sprains, strains and head injuries are the most common ailments which affect skiers; and evidence indicates that skiers with lower skill levels and less experience are more at risk of injury.
How do ski injuries occur?
Ski injuries are predominantly the result of falls, responsible for up to 73% of incidents on the Victorian slopes.
With poor physical preparation being a major catalyst for injuries, these do tend to coincide with times on a typical ski trip where the body is either unused to the movements or alternatively fatigued. According to UC Davis, these include:
– The first day
– Early mornings, before the body is warmed up
– Later in the day, when the body fatigues after hours of activity
– At the end of the trip, as the cumulation of a week on the slopes
Why is Pilates the ideal physical preparation for snow sports?
Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, incorporating Pilates into your routine in the weeks prior to the snow season has many benefits:
– Reduce your likelihood of injury
– Improve your performance through developing greater strength, mobility and control
– Increase your body awareness
– Build your confidence when skiing or snowboarding
– Pilates specifically develops flexibility and mobility, crucial to the movements incorporated in snow sports.
Having maximum range of motion in your ankles, knees and hips helps your body to withstand the often sudden and sharp changes in direction; while working on your core strength develops your obliques and abdominals, key to hold your upper body stable while the lower body moves. This prevents you from unnecessarily wasting energy, reducing the feeling of tiredness at the end of the day.
What can I expect from the Fit to Ski program?
Focussing on strength, form, conditioning and endurance, the Fit to Ski program will develop your physical capability over 6 weeks.
You’ll be provided with a schedule for which of our classes to attend and key focus points to get the most out of their pilates practice in preparation for skiing or snowboarding.
Over this time, you can continue to challenge yourself through increasing the spring resistance, attending additional classes and/or trying more challenging variations.
With up to 40% of snow sports injuries affecting the knee, preparing this joint is a key area of focus for the program. You can expect to focus on knee position over the middle of your foot, and learn to maintain a supportive foot arch to help facilitate this knee position.
Broader goals over the 6 weeks include:
– Greater endurance – you’ll develop the capacity to be on the slopes all day if conditions allow
– Improved strength and conditioning – prepare your legs for consecutive days on the slopes
– Increased core strength for stability in your trunk
– A development in mobility and flexibility – for performance and injury prevention
– A focus on alignment to encourage proper form and decrease risk of injury
– Improved balance to reduce the likelihood of falls
We’ve structured the program to allow you to track your progress week-on-week and see how consistent Pilates practice can help you to get stronger.
If you’re ready to commit to your best snow season yet, enquire about our Fit to Ski program in-studio or email us.