Have you ever watched the program ‘Superstars’? Well if you haven’t it is a competition where different athletes from specific sports are invited to compete against each other in a variety of sporting events. Did you know that many high-level snowsports athletes across the globe have often won it or performed extremely well! There is a reason for this! (Could use examples here e..g Alain Baxter, Jonny Mosely, Hansdotta Frida, Bode Miller, Jeremy Bloom, Stenmark and others)

Snowsports are a constant battle against gravity, we must handle many forces placed upon the body (which is also the fun part!) Making turns down the slope is normally done in bursts of intense activity over relatively short periods. This type of activity requires dynamic explosiveness, balance, coordination, eccentric strength, reaction and timing and agility.

We should therefore look to have a training program that includes a lot of these elements. Try to avoid the common mistakes to help design a better program to help you reduce risk of injury, ride for longer, improve technique and enjoy your day on the slopes!

  1. It’s not about how many miles you cover/Too much long-distance training – this can be great to develop an aerobic base fitness. If your whole week is based upon doing lots of KM on the bike etc then perhaps look at swapping some longer sessions for power sprint intervals. We need to adapt our program to be sport specific. I’m not suggesting here you give this up if you enjoy it but perhaps look at how you maybe able to change this up into more interval based training or integrate it with strength training.
  2. Consistency is key – avoid doing just a bit of this or a bit of that.  Try not to just do one circuit training one week or go running another week. You will find yourself unable to record progress or work the required muscles groups enough times to promote change and adaptation. Get a diary and programe when you will go to the gym, what exercises you will do and apply the principles of FITT (frequency, intensity, time, type) Programe when you will do more of a cardiovascular based workout. Get your week set out so that you can stick to it, have a bench mark and record progression.
  3. Improve your relative force production – This sounds all fancy but its athlete ‘speak’ for power to weight ratio. Put bluntly are you carrying a bit too much timber to move effectively down the slopes! The go to strategy to lose weight is often to train harder. However, looking into your nutrition and diet to help lose excess weight is a key factor people might not consider when looking at being a better snowsports performer. Sure we can get strong and more powerful with training – but why not make it even better or more efficient by focusing on your nutrition and body fat reduction. Inversely those who have a slimer build may need to focus on a nutritional program that supplements a strength training program to help muscle development.
  4. One dimensional Strength training – snowsports like skiing and snowboarding have large rotational forces and our ability to shift and move laterally to balance. If you have just been training in the fore aft plane (e.g only focusing on a back squat) you muscles only experience movement in that plane. So mix up your training so that you have rotational and lateral directions. For example add in a speed skater lunge or train more from one foot to the other.
  5. Don’t mindlessly grind out exercise – Learn how your body moves and feels. It’s important that when we perform any exercises not just to grind them out but to develop a sense of our body limitations and intrinsic feelings. What limitations do you have? Are you weaker on one side consistently? What is your injury history? Do you have a good range of mobility through the joints in one way but not the other.
  6. High Intensity Training, take it easy under load/fatigue – It can be a powerful tool to develop aerobic/ and anaerobic capacity but be wary of performing complex moves under fatigue especially if you are new to the movement. To be clear here I am not advising against HITT but just to be aware of your experience level. If you are overweight and unfit, high intensity maybe be a quick way to drop the weight but at what cost? We don’t want to create compensations and muscle imbalances in the body.  For example, if you have an old knee injury and avoid bearing weight in that side then doing repetitive weighted jump squats may mean that you are consistently loading one side creating a poor movement pattern thus increasing injury risk. This is why it’s very important to start with simple movements without big loads and work with industry professionals when learning the movements.