Monday, January 12, 2009

Do You SKi like a Robot?

Skiing and snowboarding involves a series of complex movements all lumped together. The end result should be smooth, fluid, efficient and most importantly – enjoyable! If you find yourself being stiff and unabsorbing, then the problem might be more related to your training and not your skiing or your equipment. Skiing and riding requires a total body response. The muscles work as a team or a network to help us accomplish the task of getting down the mountain successfully through various terrain options. That said, from a training standpoint, one should train by performing exercises that activate the entire body so as to have the most transfer onto the slopes as possible.

Unfortunately, many exercises and programs still attempt to train the muscles in isolation, which to the body and nervous system is "unnatural." Think in terms of training movements and not muscles (not that there is anything wrong with isolated exercise). Especially since your training is dictated by your goal. If your goal is to "winterize" your body and improve your on the snow performance, then sitting on a bench and doing preacher curls is probably not the best exercise (unless you are talking about apres ski!).

In an ideal world, your training should help your body solve complex movement problems, so that when you encounter them on the slopes (and in real life)...your body already has the reflexive solution. Remember, your movement machinery adapts to how you train it. If you train in a slow and rigid manner, then that is what it will do when you are on the slopes. To be fast and explosive requires you to introduce these variables into your program.

Start by observing your exercise selection. Are most of your exercises done while you are on your feet (like many activities) or are you lying on your back, stomach or even sitting in a machine? Except for the chairlift and off-mountain festivities, skiing and riding are performed (at least well) in the upright position!

“I can’t even pick up my skis, how can I survive the moguls!”

Very often our daily lives contribute to our “robot-like” movement. With so much time spent in the seated position and periods of inactivity, our bodies tend to become more and more rigid. No wonder why Helen Hayes said, “If you rest, you rust!” The goals of your movement program should help to undo the negative affects of life and not contribute to it. If you find that your body is not responding to your current movement-enhancing program, then there are a few adjustments that need to be made.

Since skiing and snowboarding involves flexibility, endurance, strength, power, agility, coordination, balance; then these components become not just a good idea but also a necessity in your training program. As winter enthusiasts, it is our desire to excel and enjoy every turn to the fullest while we are on our decent down from the summit. Get the most out of every trip on the slopes with the proper conditioning when you are off the slopes!

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