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Fit into the ski winter

Fit like an olympic ski champion

Leonhard Stock, Olympic gold medallist in 1980 and former world champion skier, offers tips explaining which exercises are ideal preparation for the ski season.

Being fit and well-prepared when heading off to the slopes is extremely important for every skier and snowboarder. You should start training in autumn at the latest in order to be ready for the season, which in Zillertal begins in early December. Start with a good warm-up session, to stimulate the circulation of blood to your muscles and increase the elasticity of ligaments and tendons. Running and cycling help build the necessary fitness as well as a robust cardiovascular system. It is also important to train the specific muscle groups that are worked during skiing and snowboarding. Former Olympic and world champion skier Leonhard Stock from Finkenberg shows you the exercises you need to get yourself in perfect shape. This training programme will increase the fun of skiing and reduce risk of injury. It’s the best way to get yourself fit for the ski season.

Fitnesstipps Leonhard Stock
Fitnesstipps Leonhard Stock
Fitnesstipps Aufwärmen

WARM UP - Slowly increase your pulse rate

Where? Exercise bikes and step machines at your local gym are ideal. You can cycle outdoors as well, of course.

How? Modern exercise bikes allow you to set your weight, adjust the resistance and set the duration of the exercise. It is best to pedal steadily for 20 minutes. The pulse rate of an averagely fit person should not exceed 135 beat s per minute.

Why? Exercise such as cycling or stepping stimulates the cardiovascular system and is easy on the joints.

Fitnesstipps Dehnen

STRETCH - Warm up your muscles before you start exercising

Where? You can stretch anywhere – at the gym, at the office or at home. You should do these exercises after a short warm-up programme and again after you have finished your training.

How? Lunge for wards with one leg, place your hands on your hips and keep your back straight. Hold the stretch for 40 seconds – no rocking allowed! When you are stretching, you should feel a slight pull, but no pain. Repeat on the other leg.

Why? This stretch stimulates the circulation of blood to the muscles, ensuring that they regenerate more quickly after a full day’s skiing and can help to prevent painful muscle injuries.

Fitnesstipps Kondition

CONDITION - Running is the ultimate fitness training

Where? You can run practically anywhere – either outside or on a treadmill. But it’s important to wear wellcushioned running shoes that help protect your joints.

How? The intensity of the exercise should be consistent, so that your fitness is built up at a steady rate. You should make sure your pulse rate remains at a cer tain level, so you never feel out of breath. Your training times should be dependent on your physical condition. If you need to, you can also switch to fast walking for a while.

Why? The better your fitness, the longer you’ll be able to have fun on the slopes.

Fitnesstipps Schulter, Oberarm, Brust

SHOULDERS, UPPER ARMS, CHEST - These are important for skiing too

Where? It’s best to use the exercise equipment at your gym.

How? Push up the bar using the appropriate weight. While lifting the weight, make sure you are doing the exercise slowly and correctly. You should choose the weight according to your physical condition, ensuring that you still have some strength left for the final repetitions of the exercise.

Why? This exercise trains your arm and shoulder muscles. The stronger these muscles are, the more stable your body becomes. When you ski, these qualities enable you to exert more strength with your arms while using your ski poles. This exercise also helps prevent shoulder injuries, so you can truly enjoy the 506 kilometres of Zillertal’s sk i slopes.

Fitnesstipps Oberschenkel

THIGHS - Strengthen leg muscles for skiing

Where? On the fitness equipment in the gym. For this exercise, we used the TechnoGym leg press – it guarantees a steady pressure on the thigh muscles.

How? Sit up straight on the seat of the machine, hold onto the handles with your arms straight and use your legs to push the weight away from your body. Important: do not fully extend your legs, this can put too much pressure on your knee joints. If you do three sets, you should repeat the exercise 20 times for each set. Choose the weight according to your physical condition, ensuring that you still have some strength left for the final repetitions.

Why? It is important to strengthen the front of your thighs (quadriceps) and the back of your thighs (ischiocrural muscles) equally, to protect the knee from ligament injuries (cruciate ligaments) during skiing. These muscles give you strength, stability and the correct posture.

Fitnesstipps Rücken

BACK - Strong core muscles stabilise the body

Where? You can strengthen your back either by lying flat on the ground, on the back trainer at your gym or on a gym mat at home.

How? On the back trainer, slip your feet onto the foot pads and lean your pelvis on the supporting surface. Then, bend your upper body forwards and downwards. When raising your body, roll your back into the starting position. Place your arms on your chest or behind your neck . Make sure you do this exercise slowly. Repeat it until you can feel a slight pull. You should attempt to do three sets, with 30 repetitions in each set.

Why? Good core muscles not only protect the skier from back pain, they also keep your body stable and transfer strength to the leg muscles. This way, nothing will stop you making clean carving turns.

Fitnesstipps Bauch

STOMACH CRUNCHES - Tighten up your belly

Where? You can train your stomach on an exercise machine at your gym or on a gym mat at home.

How? Lie on your back, place your hands behind your neck and slowly raise your head, shoulders and back. Pull your knees towards your chest, first one and then the other. Only raise your upper body to the point where your lower back remains on the floor. Repeat this exercise until you can feel tension in your stomach muscles.

Why? Having strong stomach muscles is important, as it alleviates the strain on your back caused by carving turns.

Fitnesstipps Gleichgewicht & Koordination

BALANCE & CO-ORDINATION - The essence of skiing

Where? You can train at home on an unstable surface (like a rolled-up blanket) or on a balance cushion at your gym.

How? Stand on one leg – in a slightly bent position, on the ground or on a balance cushion – and raise your other leg without losing your balance. While doing that, try to keep your upper body steady. Then change the supporting leg. If you are fit, you can squat up and down on your supporting leg during the exercise.

Why? Good balance and coordination stabilises the knee, so you can control your skis better and more safely.

Fitnesstipps Kniebeugen

KNEE BENDS - The perfect exercise to prepare the whole body

Where? It is best to do this exercise at your gym with a barbell.

How? First, bend your knees slightly while holding the bar behind your neck, and lean your upper body forwards slightly. When you are performing a knee bend, your knee angle should not exceed 90 degrees and your shoulders should be directly in line over your knees. Keep your back straight and keep looking forwards. You should do three sets of 20 repetitions. If you are used to training you should do this exercise standing on one leg.

Why? A knee bend imitates the ski turn. This exercise trains all the upper body muscles, core muscles and leg muscles at the same time. It also gives you stability, ensuring that you are ready to make carving turns on Zillertal’s many slopes. Now your ski season can begin.

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