With the Turkey Sale over and five weeks to go to the official start of the 2012-2013 winter season, there's still lots of time to get yourself in shape for opening day.
Sitting on your couch and watching ski movies can inspire, but if you want to be fit enough to plow through heavy west coast shmoo, drop 1,500 vertical metres on top-to-bottom runs, hold onto that long traverse to get to the good stuff, bounce your way down bowls full of moguls and rip through the glades, you'll need to be prepared.
Craig Hill, strength and conditioning coach with Canadian Sports Centre Pacific (CSCP) agreed to provide
Pique readers with a few exercises people can do at home or at the gym to get ready for the season.
Hill trains Canada's national ski cross team, which was tops in the world last year. As well, he also works with athletes in a wide variety of sports — alpine, moguls, hockey, SBX and luge — out of the High Performance Centre in Cheakamus Crossing.
Whistler's Marielle Thompson, the current World Cup overall champion in ski cross, agreed to be our fitness model by demonstrating each exercise. The Canadian Sports Centre Pacific high performance centre in the Whistler Atheltes' Centre was used for the demonstration.
The workout is broken down into four parts; a general aerobic warm up, a dynamic warm up, the actual squat circuit workout, and a cool down recovery. Three to four times per week with one rest day in between is recommended in the months leading up to the winter season.
If you are experiencing knee pain, or any type of joint pain at all, stop immediately and visit a physiotherapist to get an assessment. If you're not sure if you can do the exercises, then consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. As well, exercise in front of a mirror when possible to make sure you're doing each exercise properly. Ensure proper exercise technique to maximize effectiveness and minimize chance of injury.
Step 1 — Aerobic Warm-up
Hill recommends a general aerobic warm up that includes 10 to 15 minutes of light jogging, a spin on your bike or any of the cardio machines in the gym. If you're at home and can't get outside, you can skip, do jumping jacks and burpees, run on the spot, whatever. "A lot of (fitness) is just being creative and working with whatever you've got," says Hill. "The goal is to get your heart rate elevated gradually, which in turn gets your muscles warmed up and your joints lubricated."
Step 2 — Dynamic Warm-up
This is a slightly higher-intensity part of the warm-up that focuses on key muscles and joints. Hill suggests these five dynamic warm-up exercises to prepare your body for the main workout. (That's getting off easy — the dynamic warm-ups he programs Thompson and other elite athletes can include 20 to 30 different movements before their workouts even begin).