So, maybe you haven’t gotten out over winter as much as you had planned, or perhaps spent too much time at the snow or playing winter sports. But that’s over now, it’s time to get back on the water! But what about the pain of getting some ski fitness back? Here are some tips to help you get the ski fitness back quickly and minimise the pain:
Off The Water
It’s never too late. Even if you haven’t hit the gym as much as you had planned over winter, a little fitness is better than none as the season starts.
If you follow some of the pro’s on social media, you may have noticed that there is a high proportion who are mad about CrossFit. In case you have been living in a box the last few years (not a CrossFit box, obviously – in joke), CrossFit incorporates elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic, plyometrics and powerlifting, aiming to improve, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Pretty much exactly the kind of elements what we are after in waterskiing. Pro’s like Karina Nowlan, Marcus Brown and emerging slalom superstar Brian Detrick all swear by it.
If you don’t feel the need to emerge yourself in the CrossFit lifestyle, you can still take lots of the elements into your own fitness regime, include high intensity interval training, using resistance, power and plyometrics to build the kind of fitness we need to start back on the water. I have been including some of these elements into my workout and I think they are great for skiing.
On the Water:
Wakeskating, trick Skiing, low impact wakeboarding:
This is a great way to start the season, these lighter impact watersports will give your body the chance to regain some of the specific ski fitness without the strain on your body a full on slalom set will put on it. It will also be not only great for balance, but also help toughening up your hands without tearing them apart. Try wakeskating, trick skiing, even riding the disc. It may sound silly, but it is great for your slalom and also adds some fun and change into your ski day.
No matter what you do in the gym, or how much snow skiing you have done over winter, you will not have the same level of ski fitness you did at the end of last season. Instead of beating yourself up with long sets/ ski rides, take shorter ones. You will not to be able to concentrate on technique when fatigue sets in at the end of a long set, plus you will open yourself up to injury. At the end of your day skiing you may have the energy for an extra ride you hadn’t planned on.
A common early season complaint is the spray leg, anyone who has had it knows exactly what I’m talking about! I suffer from it, as do many other skiers. I recommend trying to persevere through it, as generally it will go away within a few days skiing. There are neoprene socks you can wear on your rear calf if it is really hindering you, however, if you do go down this avenue, make sure you try each day to start without it, because your leg will toughen up over time.
Warm Up, cool down & replenish your body
Your flexibility may be a little lacking if you have had a period of inactivity, plus the water will probably still be on the chilly side, so make sure you incorporate a good warm up routine into the start of your ski day. Some light cardio (jogging or bike riding is normally pretty nice thing to do along the side of the river or lake) followed by some stretching, particularly legs and back prior to your ski set (again, a nice thing to do under a tree on the shore). Be sure to finish your day with some stretching as well, particularly back/ shoulders, this will lessen the soreness for the following day. Also, make sure to finish the day with some protein, obviously the steak or palmy is normally the most popular, however protein shakes/ bars may be more accessible on your way home from the lake or river. This is something you should be doing all year. Be sure to replenish the water & salts you have lost though the day before you start to reward yourself on a great start to the season with a more adult beverage!