Ski Fitness

The 3 Secrets To Ski Fitness Success 

No. 1 Strength, Power, Endurance

  • Downhill skiing is mostly a power/endurance sport
  • Lack of muscle strength and stability haemorrhages aerobic energy
  • There is very little benefit of stationary cycling for ski fitness
  • Fitness is very specific, i.e the Tour de France winner could not win the London marathon
  • Core strength is more important than aerobic exercise
  • You get little or no strength benefit from aerobic exercise but you do get aerobic benefit from resistance exercise

No. 2 Fun, Fun, Fun

  • If it hurts you’re doing it wrong
  • Be creative – change every session just a little bit by playing with the exercises
  • Periodisation (see below)

No. 3 Learn and Personalise

  • You are unique and so should your programme be
  • Listen to your body, understand it and develop your own programme with the knowledge herein
  • Learn from the ‘pain teacher’

A Periodised Programme

“Periodisation is all about maximising the results of training. By effectively varying the timing and intensity of workouts, athletes will achieve the greatest gains in strength, speed, power and endurance.”
Tudor Bompa, Olympic Coach & Periodisation Expert

The key to your ski fitness programming success is the concept of periodisation. This basically means starting at the correct level for you and steadily progressing in complexity, hardness (intensity) and ski- specificity. Most skiers start their ski-specific training somewhere in the middle in terms of complexity and hardness. They then complete the same programme week after week for the whole ski training period and they do this year after year!  

However, I’m sorry to say there are no actual any ski-specific exercises and there is certainly not one ski-specific programme. Instead, by following periodised programme, we endeavour to condition the body to be fitter, stronger, more aligned, injury-proof and powerful in order to deal with the many and varied rigours a ski holiday throws at the body. We do this by a undertaking a number of different phases of exercise for a period of time – say four to six weeks – each with differing objectives but, generally progressing in terms of hardness and complexity. This is periodisation.

A great ski fitness programme has the following periodised phases:

Phase 1 – Fun

Phase 2 – Core Rehabilitation

Phase 3 – Functional Strength 

Phase 4 – Power & Single Leg Strength

Phase 5 – Power Endurance Circuits

Phase 6 – Advanced Power/Endurance Plyometrics

Note: You do not always progress in a linear fashion: it is normally a case of three steps forward, one step back to ensure no ligament or tendon is left behind and that you are not over-training. In this programme, we have sample schedules and recovery circuits to help you achieve this.

To find out more buy Ollie’s Ski Fitness book on Amazon or book on Ollie’s Ski Fitness workshop.

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