Whatever your aim: rehabilitate after injury or illness, weight loss, improve health and fight chronic illness, to get prepared for pregnancy, or simply to relax and re-charge.
Set in the beautiful Charente-Maritime countryside of western France, amongst forest, vineyards and sunflower fields, our aim is to enable everyone to have the knowledge and motivation to realise your full potential and perform to your best ability whether that be at work in an office environment, in your hobbies, as a parent or as an athlete.
In case of injury e.g. bruising, sprains, strains to any part of the body:
Protect from further injury - stop doing what you were doing!
Rest stay calm, lying down is usually best, wait for any spasm to subside
Ice apply anything cold for 10 minutes
Compression use a support bandage or cushions as needed.
Elevate an injured limb to reduce swelling.
Seek advice if necessary.
1. Hip, knee and ankle flexion and extension
In order to ski, you extend (straighten, move more upright) and flex (bend, squat lower) with every turn you make. This requires that your hips, knees and ankles all move about the same amount.
If your hips, knees and ankles don't flex and extend well, you end up using your arms and upper body to lift your way around turns. This leads to weak, jerky turns, poor control and balance and doesn't look nice!
You need to develop good strength, endurance and control of your hip, knee and ankle flexion.
• straight squats (see Whole Body Strengthen Exercises - Squats)
• pay particular attention to your hips, knees and ankles all moving to about the same degree.
• single leg squats, to improve balance and body control
• jump squats (practise in front of a mirror to check symmetry and that your upper body stays upright and balanced)
• side to side
• forward and back
• alternate lunge jumps.
2. Core stability and upper body position awareness
Your upper body needs to be able to stay balanced, with good body to leg separation. This means that while your legs are busy turning you and absorbing bumps, your upper body stays relatively still. The better your core stability, the more able you are to keep your centre of gravity in the right place, if a bump threatens to fling you backwards, your core muscles keep you upright and forward. Conversely, when you find yourself pitching forward due to some deeper snow, your core muscles stop you going too far and keep you more upright.
Practise (See Whole Body Strengthen Exercises - Core Strength):
• Pelvic Lift
• Single leg pelvic lift
• Press ups
3. Balance and whole body awareness - ski position
Body position and movement sense and awareness (proprioception) is sport specific. This means that although practising standing on a wobble board and other general balance exercises will improve your balance and ability to do those exercises, the best way to improve your balance for a given sport is to practice the movements and activities you need to do for that sport. So:
• Practise skiing at home! Imagine you are on the ski slope and walk your way through the phases and recognise what your body needs to do and where your weaknesses lie:
• Have your ankles, knees and hips slightly bent with your body just forward of the vertical so that your shoulders are still above your ankles. Mountain (upper) foot slightly forward of your valley (lower) foot (depending on how steep you imagine the slope to be!)
• Weight on your downhill foot, body turned so your shoulders are in line with the diagonal of your feet, and body tilted down the mountain to the same degree as the slope (again, how steep is up to you!). "Body Banana position"
• Shuffle your way forward and prepare to turn.
• Straighten your hips, knees and ankles as if you were about to dive off a diving board, down the mountain.
• Move your weight on to your new downhill foot, bend your hips, knees and ankles and make sure your shoulders tilt down the mountain again to the required degree.
• Make sure your new uphill foot is ahead, check your whole position and shuffle off across your mountain (ok, living room!).
Take note of when you feel off balance or when your body is not sure how to move. Exaggerate the movements, identify your weaknesses and practise the individual parts. For example, stand on one foot and lean your body over and beyond that foot. Try moving your body in a slow circle around that one foot.
If you find that you are particular asymmetric or unbalanced, then consult an osteopath or chiropractor. They will be able to identify and correct any inherent skeletal imbalances.
Practise your routine, adding more advanced aspects according to your knowledge and ability until the balance and control are natural and spontaneous. There is a great app "Learn How 2 Ski" for Android and iOS, which has video and slow motion video of all the various ski techniques.
For more information on preparing for your ski holiday: Ski Holiday Preps
Get Fit to Ski
To make sure you are fit and as ready as possible for your ski holiday, you need to work on three main areas:
Hip, knee and ankle flexion and extension: with good endurance strength and fitness
Core stability and upper body position awareness
Balance and whole body awareness - ski position