It’s time! It’s snowing in the North American mountains and winter is truly “just around the corner.” No matter how fit you are from your summertime adventures, you’ll feel better and ski stronger if you take the time now, to do some pre-season training.
For the last two years, physical therapist Bryan Whitesides created pre-season workouts for The Brave Ski Mom. Rather than work up another new workout this year, I’m posting links to each of these 15 minute wonders.
There are workouts for alpine skiing, nordic skiing, and snowboarding. There is also one workout that does it all. Choose a workout and do it 2-3 times a week. Mix things up and try different workouts each day. Get your kids involved, and make it 15 minutes of family fun!
Get Ready for Ski Season in 15 Minutes Per Day (All-in-one wonder workout from 2011. Equipment: exercise ball, resistance bands.)
Getting in Shape for Skiing, Alpine Skiing, That Is (Become BFF’s with a big exercise ball. Equipment: exercise ball.)
Getting in Shape for Telemark and Cross-Country Skiing (Scissor jump your way to joy and strength. Equipment: kettle ball or one dumbbell weight. Video instruction included.)
Getting in Shape for Snowboarding (Improve your balance fore and aft. Equipment: bosu ball.)
- Upsides: Quick, effective workouts you can do at home and with your kids.
- Downsides: Some special equipment needed.
Get Into Balance
Martin Breach didn’t plan on being an inventor. A British family doctor with a specialty in sports injuries, Breach was participating in a skiing clinic in the Alps when he learned something that rocked his world.
For years, Breach had balanced on the balls of his feet, not the center of his feet. When he learned how to make this slight change in balance, it changed the way he skied. He no longer was fighting his skis with every turn. Not only that, but his new understanding inspired him to invent the SKiA Sweetspot Ski Trainer.
I recently tried out the trainer and here’s what I found.
What is it? The trainer is a plastic tray attached to your ski boots with two plastic ratchet straps. Underneath the tray is a removable plastic balance block. The trainer comes with four blocks that descend in front-to-back width. The widest (green) block is easiest.
The SKiA trainer does, in fact, offer an easy way to practice correct skiing position and skiing balance in your home. Daily practice takes very little time, approximately 5-10 minutes. Users balance on the block in an athletic stance. The goal is to keep the toes and heels off the ground as you crouch lower in the stance and eventually practice pivoting and edging. Emphasis is on proper position and developing muscle memory (you’ll also develop strong quads).
The most difficult part of using the trainers is setting them up. Set up is a bit tricky, but quite important. The manual clearly states how to align the center of each trainer with the ski boot index mark. I was using last year’s manual and apparently I wasn’t the only person who successfully aligned the index mark and then spent the next 20 minutes trying to get the trainers on my ski boots. How do I know? The new, North American manual troubleshoots the exact problems I was having. Future SKiA consumers: you are so lucky.
- A quick and easy way to learn and reinforce proper skiing position in your home.
- Changing the blocks is easy, even if using the narrow blocks is not (it’s not supposed to be!).
- The workouts are simple and quick.
- The manual is full of useful information, developed and endorsed by professional ski instructors, including on-snow skiing drills which reinforce proper balance and technique.
- Use the trainers frequently and you’ll have quads of steel.
- An adapter for junior boots will be available this season.
- Video instruction is available on the SKiA website.
- The plastic trainers are stiff and a bit tricky to set up.
- Because the trainers are fit to a specific pair of ski boots, they have to be refit each time a different person uses them (I made this easier by marking the heel strap with a Sharpie to remind me how to adjust it).
- The trainers are not expensive, but not cheap either ($72.50 US or 55 Euros).
Welcome SKiA to Colorado, November 2-4
Interested in learning more about the SKiA Sweetspot Trainer?
Martin Breach will be at the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo in booth number 4164 in the Colorado Convention Center. Additionally, Chris Fellows, of the North American Ski Training Center, will offer “Total Sweetspot” clinics and demonstrations, during the Expo’s on-snow sessions at Winter Park.
This is Breach’s first visit to Colorado. Stop by, test his product and offer him a warm welcome!
Get On A Bike
Biking and skiing. Skiing and biking. They just go together. When one is off-season, the other is on. Best of all, since both sports work the legs in a similar manner, they make for excellent cross-training.
A recent post at Innovation for Endurance, How Cycling Makes You a Better Skier, recommends pre-season cycling, including 30 second anaerobic intervals on the bike, as great preparation for moguls, trees and tight turns in the steeps. I’ve linked to the entire post with the permission of Innovation for Endurance. If you’re a cyclist, check it out!
- Upsides: You can go outside! Fall weather can be perfect for biking. If it’s not, a stationary bike works well.
- Downsides: Biking takes time. A good workout starts at about 45 minutes, whether you’re out on the road or in a spin class. Requires a bike, or a gym membership.
To facilitate this post, I received a SKiA Sweetspot Trainer to test. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
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