Tahoe skiing: Try these tips on how to train early and smart for winter sports | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe skiing: Try these tips on how to train early and smart for winter sports

Pandora Bahlman
Special to the Tribune

Summer has flown by and winter is right around the corner. For skiers and snowboarders, that means you have about eight weeks to get in shape for the winter season.

As with all sports, the best way to increase ski/snowboard performance is by actually skiing/snowboarding; however, without a base level of overall physical fitness to start with, you risk injury and won't be able to train well on the slopes.

Hopefully you're already fit from participating in summer sports and fitness programs, but if you are not (or you want more), it is time to start a pre-conditioning program before you hit the mountain.

While each sport and athlete is different, the practice of gradually applying drills and workouts, designed to increase mobility, endurance and strength are more or less the same. General guidelines suggest that athletes should not increase weight, training activity, mileage or pace by more than 10 percent per week.

This "10 percent rule" helps prepare an athlete's body for the rigors of the regular season, and prevents loss of performance due to overtraining injuries.

When it comes to winter sports conditioning and the forces our bodies are subjected to when we ski or snowboard, it makes sense to be physically prepared to handle them. Most experts say to focus on these elements of fitness:

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1. Mobility: Specifically your lower extremity joints and thoracic spine, but overall mobility training is important.

2. Balance: Especially single leg balance – for instance, jumps from one leg to the other; or from one leg, to both, then the other.

3. Cardiovascular Endurance: Continual, sustained movement enhances your ability to perform for long periods of time.

4. Strength & Power: For shock absorption, and control over speed and changes of direction.

When choosing your pre-season conditioning program, I recommend joining a group functional training and strength class, similar to the classes we currently offer at the Incline Village Recreation Center, including: Winter Sports Conditioning, Cardio/Strength Conditioning, TRX Body Blast and Liquid Cardio.

These classes are free with your membership at the Recreation Center and no reservations are needed.

And of course, if you want a personalized program designed for your preseason training, consult with a personal trainer.

Pandora Bahlman is Manager at the Incline Village Recreation Center. Visit yourtahoeplace.com to learn more.

Bonus tips

Stay hydrated: Drink eight to 10 cups of water or other hydrating beverage daily, and two glasses of water before your go skiing, snowboarding or work out.

Rest is necessary for optimal performance: Post-exercise recovery allows a body’s muscle glycogen store to replenish, and repair the tiny tears caused by muscle movement, ultimately making the muscle stronger than it previously was.

Training should be ongoing: Once the season begins, your focus will shift to building skills, and as a result, physical conditioning can actually decrease over the course of the season. To stay in top physical shape throughout the season, you should follow a maintenance program that preserves what you’ve built, and will optimize your performance on the mountain.

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