In our last post about maintaining and regaining your fitness to ski at any age, we talked about the importance of older adults cross-training and ski exercises, and the demands that are placed on the body when skiing.
In today’s post, we’ll explore 4 simple tests to see if you have the minimum fitness required to enjoy some ski runs. Later, we’ll explore how to get the most out of your ski days and remain injury-free.
Ski Exercises to Determine if You’ve Got it Or Not
Lower Body Endurance/Strength: The Wall Sit
This is a simple ski exercise that will challenge your leg strength and endurance. This exercise is very similar to your tucked position and replicates quite nicely the demands you will feel on your legs. Each ski run can take you several minutes depending on your skiing style and the length of the run.
The goal here is to be able to hold this for 60-90 secs.
Some set-up pointers:
- Keep your shins vertical
- Strive to get your hips to 90 degrees
- Keep your weight through the middle of the foot-not the ball or heel.
Balance: Tightrope VORs
This is a deceptively simple and challenging balance drill. VORs stands for Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex. Fancy terms meaning that when you move your head, your eyes have a reflex to move a certain way. We also know that your inner ear is the center of your balance. By moving your head you will be activating your inner ear to a greater degree than just standing on one foot. This will also translate more closely to your movements of skiing: twisting and turning your body while focusing downhill.
- Stand one foot directly in front of the other
- Looking directly forward, you’re going to trace the 8 compass lines with your nose, all while never losing focus on the center point in front of you.
- Don’t go too fast, and explore the range of motion
Ankle Mobility: Knee to wall test
Ankle mobility is critical in staying over your skis in general, but especially in turning. Ski boots have come a LONG way over the years, but you shouldn’t rely on the boot to falsely give you mobility you don’t actually have. That’s a recipe for disaster, injury, and discomfort.
- Get in a 1/2 kneeling position with your front foot about 4-6 inches away from the wall.
- Pro tip: find something soft to kneel on-like a pillow
- You can support yourself by putting your hands on the wall
- While keeping your front heel firmly on the ground push your knee towards the wall.
- Passing = getting your knee over/in front of your toes
- Excellent = touching your knee to the wall
Agility: 4 Square hopping
This exercise will assess your ability to move forcefully and quickly. Think of this drill as testing your ability to make quick turns or moguls.
If you can do this drill without touching any ‘lines’ or double-hopping is the first marker. Next can you do 10 revolutions in 20 seconds. If so, can you do so on one leg?
- Stand feet together, on the balls of your feet
- Hop forward, then to the right, then backwards, to the left (as if you are jumping into 1 of the 4 quadrants of a box.
- Don’t let your heels touch.
- Avoid touching any ‘lines’ or double hopping.
There you have it. While it may not seem like much, these 4 simple ski exercises or ski assessments can gauge how fit and ready your body is to begin skiing. If you had some problems with any of these assessments, spend some time to work on it.
If these 4 simple assessments were too simple, make sure you check out our final installment on how to take your performance to the next level.