Pilates for Skiing And Snowboarding
Most of us who ski take to the slopes once a year – and, after a first day of enthusiastic snowplough turns, need a forklift truck to winch us back out again. That's because so-called 'ski fitness' classes offered by some fitness establishments target the major muscle groups, particularly in the legs.
Unfortunately, they overlook the core muscles that help to maintain the dynamic, balanced posture essential for safe and efficient skiing. 'Most skiers overtax their big muscles because they haven't learned how to use their core muscles,' says Caroline Lalive, the Olympic downhill racer.
Pilates is not designed to address the cardio-vascular demands of skiing; to meet them, you need to do regular aerobic training, since tiredness results in loss of concentration and increases the risk of an accident.
Instead, Pilates challenges the deep abdominal muscles to support the core and creates a strong, flexible, resilient structure. This is essential to cope with the simple fact of having solid objects strapped to the feet that, for beginners, don't always go in the direction you want them to. It also helps counteract the twists and turns of the slope, and improves the ability to get up unscathed when you take a tumble.
For advanced skiers, activating the body's stabilising muscles helps maintain balance and poise at greater speed or off-piste – so, not only will you feel like Bode Miller with the breeze in your hair, you might even look like him, too.