Welcome to the fourth part of our comprehensive ski fitness guide, presented in association with Inghams. It’s the work of Dr Steve Ingham, head of physiology at the English Institute of Sport – and should follow the ski fitness exercises outlined in Phases One, Two and Three.
Phase Four includes an additional strength/circuit workout, and more dynamic exercises, several of which focus on core and hip stability.
If you’re new to our ski fitness programme, head for Phase One and start there. Get stuck in as soon as you can. Once your ski holiday starts, you’re going to be spending six or seven hours every day, at altitude, working unfamiliar muscles hard. If all you usually manage is a turn round Tesco on a Saturday, you’re in for quite a shock.
Ski Fitness: Phase Four
Ideally, you should follow Phase Four for two weeks – ideally as the final part of an eight-week ski fitness programme in the run-up to your holiday. (But if you’re in a hurry you can reduce the amount of time you devote to it.)
Try the following schedule
Monday: circuit+strength workout and stretching
Wednesday: 25 minute run (inc 1×10 minute of high intensity effort)
Friday: circuit+strength workout and stability training
Sunday: 30 minute cycle ride (3×5 minutes of higher-intensity effort), plus stretching
SKI FITNESS: PHASE FOUR ELEMENTS
Start off gently and perform each exercise for a minute.
1. Jogging on the spot. Start with a gentle jog to get going. Then start touching the floor every 10 steps on alternate sides.
2. Air Punches. Rock on our heels, alternately punching the air in front of you.
3. Small star jumps. Start as shown, below left. Then, as you jump, raise your bent arms up to shoulder height, to finish as shown, bottom right. Legs should now be at shoulder width.
4. Squat. For the last 20 seconds pulse in the squat position.
Ease your muscles in to the stretch, then hold for ten seconds.
1. Chest. With one arm behind you, place your hand flat against a wall or door. Rotate your body away from your hand (so you can no longer see it). Repeat on the other side.
2. Back and shoulder. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise both arms overhead. With fingers interlaced reach up high.
3. Back. Lying flat on your back, bend one leg up to your chest. Twist at the hips, rotating the bent leg across your body. Repeat on the other side.
4. Front of thigh (quadriceps) and hip. Standing on one leg, bend the opposite leg back towards your bum. Keep your hips facing forwards and your thighs straight. Repeat on the other side.
5. Back of thigh (hamstring). Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Reach for your toes.
6. Inner thigh. Sit on the floor with your legs positioned out to the sides. Reach forward with your arms towards your toes.
7. Calf. Stand 1-1.5m away from a wall. With your back straight, feet flat on the floor, toes pointing forwards, lean towards the wall, keeping your legs and back in line with each other.
Circuit: perform two circuits of exercises, each one for 40 seconds with a 20-second rest in between. Complete as many repetitions as possible in the 30 second timeframe. Use only light weights where indicated. 1-3kg for women, 3-5kg for men.
Strength: for a third circuit, perform each exercise steadily, up for a count of two, down for a count of three. For this circuit, add resistance to those exercises marked with an + (1-3kg for women, 3-5kg for men) . Perform each exercise for 30 seconds then move straight on to the next.
1. Squat jumps +. This is the same as a squat, except that you leave the ground at the top.
2. Shoulder press. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and, keeping a flat back, press the weights above your head. Don’t lean back.
3. Plank. On your elbows and toes, keep your legs and body level. Hold this position continuously. Make it harder by putting your feet and elbows together.
4. Full press up. On your hands and toes, keeping the body level throughout. Lower your chest so that your upper arm is parallel with the floor. Then press back up.
If you have been doing full press ups already, go onto your fingertips to make it harder.
5. Single-legged jump and balance +. Jump out in front about one metre, landing on one leg. After you’ve landed, hold your balance for two seconds.
6. Tricep dip. Place your hands behind you on a chair, with your feet out in front. Bend your legs to form a sitting position. Now lower yourself so that your elbow forms a 90-degree angle.
7. Single-legged squat. Concentrate on your stability whilst you lower yourself down slowly to a comfortable position. Divide your time equally between legs. Make it harder for yourself by placing your arms behind your back.
8. Rotating abdominal crunch. Knees bent, hands on chest, touching your elbow to your opposite knee on alternate sides. Make it harder by placing your hands on your head, and performing the exercise for 60 seconds, not 40.
9. Squat Pulse +. Lower yourself to a squat with arms clasped in front of you. Perform pulse movements of 10cm (3 ins). To make it harder, perform this exercise for 60 seconds, not 40.
You’re now ready to cool down.
1. Jog lightly for one minute.
2. Repeat the stretchingroutine, holding
3. Rock on your heels, shaking your arms lightly.
Repeat this list three times.
1. One-legged stand. Standing on one foot, shift your weight forwards and then backwards. Perform 10 repetitions.
2. Double-footed rotating lift. Raise yourself up onto both toes. Rotate to the left, back to the centre and down to the right. Repeat the movement in the opposite direction. Do this ten times. Make it harder by keeping your feet closer together.
3. Single-legged heel raise. Standing on one foot, slowly raise your heel to tip toes. Lower back down, but don’t put your heel back on the floor – go straight back up instead. Peform 10 repetitions.
Choose two from the following menu:
25-minute run/walk: start with five minutes at an easy pace, and include one ten-minute block of hard running. Finish with ten minutes at a steady pace.
15-minute run plus steps: start with five minutes at an easy pace. Once the run is complete, find a step 30-40cm high, step up for one minute, rest for 30 seconds and repeat ten times.
30-40 minute cycle ride: choose an undulating course, working hard on the hills.
20-minute rowing session plus steps: when the rowing’s done, do 5 x 1 minute steps (see above).
If you have some extra weeks before your holiday starts, and you’ve completed the four main phases of our programme, go to Ski Fitness Exercises – Phase Five.