Doing the best possible
training for the ski season is vitally important for two reasons: it improves
your athletic performance and reduces the risk of injury to a minimum. Whether
you ski competitively or just for fun, there are various things to do before
taking to the slopes. We asked ski trainer Pasquale Marrama to tell us
how do you train for skiing?
“My kids, aged from 8 to 12, work
all year round on their “conditioning”, i.e. strength, stamina, speed and flexibility.
In their summer session, they do physical tests, mainly jumping, throwing and running.
They do other things but these are the most important. We’re talking about the
standing long jump, standing 5 bounds with feet
kept together and forward
and overhead medicine ball throwing, with which we develop the kinetic chain starting
with the legs, back and arms. For running, they do the Cooper test (Ed.: in
which the athlete has to run as far as possible in 12 minutes) and other tests
to develop speed and coordination. This is all repeated at the end of the year
to see what improvements have been made. It’s also backed up by functional
training on proprioception, balance, foot sensitivity, movement in the air and anomalous
situations, also useful when you fall.”
muscles are most involved in this sort of training?
“In the lower body, the quadriceps,
extensors and flexors of the leg, thighs and buttocks. To have these muscles
well stabilized, you have to have a good pelvis. Then there’s work on the abdominal
and lumbar muscles to prevent spine trauma. At competition level you even wear
a special vest to compress the spine. You have to remember that the condition
of the piste depends to a large extent on the type of snow. It can be extremely
hard at times, which puts muscles, bones and joints under serious stress.”
sort of athletic exertion is involved in skiing?
“In theory, the effort is a
mix of aerobic and anaerobic, in which oxygen is involved more or less directly
in producing energy. So you have to train for both stamina and strength. When turning,
with centrifugal force pushing you out, your muscles have to work really hard
to keep you on your feet. In other words, if you’re physically strong, your athletic
performance will be better. And the fitter you are physically, the less likely you
are to get hurt. It’s not that you won’t fall (you probably will) but you’ll
are the most frequent accidents skiers are exposed to and can therefore try to
“Knees and ankles are the most
vulnerable parts. Sprains are always lying in wait. And you also have to beware
of pulling muscles. When turning, depending how hard you carve the snow, or
when moving your skis apart, having nicely elastic adductors, for example, helps
to avoid pulling muscles. A good skier knows, for example, that the first run
is just to warm up, and no more. It may not be part of popular wisdom but we
ought to do it. While you’re doing a warm-up run, your joints are lubricating,
getting ready to withstand stress that might be traumatic if suffered “cold”. Another
part of the body we shouldn’t neglect are the shoulders: if you fall on soft
snow, there’s a good chance you won’t hurt yourself, but if the snow is hard
and you fall badly, you risk dislocations, subluxations, a broken collar bone. You
should also remember that however well you train and warm up, you can’t always
protect yourself against accidents, because they sometimes don’t depend on you.
If someone collides with you on the piste, there’s not much you can do."
advice would you give a skier ahead of the winter season?
of all, if you’re serious about sport, you’re serious about it anywhere, not
just on the ski slopes. This entails a whole load of tasks and practices,
whatever our sport is and wherever we are. We have to do a lot of aerobic work,
do our utmost to develop an efficient cardiovascular system, run, strengthen both
our lower and upper halves (good shoulders, deltoids and traps help athletic performance
and reduce the risk of injury) and take training very seriously, as we said. This
may sound brutal but it’s true, they’re exercises you either do before training
or with your physiotherapist to recover from injury.”