Squat, step and curl your way to ski fitness

WHETHER you’ve already booked your ski holiday (why, how sensible you are), or are still hunting for the right chalet (the best deals come at the end of October, of course), it’s time to get excited about the slopes. You may think it’s early, but the more prepared your body is, the fewer injuries you’ll sustain, which will make for a guaranteed good-time holiday. “You’ll be able to get round the mountains more, hit the side of the piste and still be able to walk the next day,” says Jenny Jones, one of the world’s leading Slopestyle snowboarders.

And what with the Ski and Snowboard show launching today in Earl’s Court, where you can kit yourself up, there’s no better time to start prepping. The first thing you want to do is increase your core work, then work on specific exercises. “Do more core strengthening exercises to help twisting and turning on the ski slopes and also to provide you with more stamina,” suggests personal trainer, Mark Anthony (www.markanthonysuk.com), “and increase your anaerobic workouts. Move quicker from exercise to exercise with shorter rest periods to enhance your recovery after long days of skiing.”

On top of that, here are some tips from Jenny that you can do, whether skier or boarder, to strengthen your muscles, and feel primed by the time you slip your skis on.

1.The Squat: This is a great all rounder exercise: it can be used to increase leg strength, leg power, endurance, core strength and flexibility, depending on how it's used in a program. When you are snowboarding you’re pretty much constantly in a slight squat position so it’s a very relevant exercise.

2.The Single Leg Squat: The forces going through each leg vary when riding, so single leg exercises help to train for that. These give a big balance challenge and they develop postural control and range of motion pretty much everywhere. The exercise is brilliant for strengthening both the knee joints and core stability.

3.The Step Up: This exercise changes the amount of work you do at different joint angles more than a single leg squat and they are great for the glutes (joint angles are forever changing with all the variable terrain you are riding as you have to bend and react to the snow). This is particularly good for the calf. It strengthens knee ligaments so you can take tumbles better.

4.The Nordic Hamstring: The squat and step up movements are a little heavier on the quads so these exercises are used to increase strength in the hamstrings. This exercise allows you to stretch out your legs and prevent pulling a muscle when you’re going down the slopes, and is great for core stability. You’ll be able to turn your hips more easily and turn better. Start by fixing your feet in a kneeling position. Lower your torso towards the floor by straightening your legs. Bring your body back to the kneeling position.

5.The Abdominal Curl Up: Being able to switch on your core correctly is important in any sport, and these curl ups are brilliant for doing that.

The London Ski and Snowboard Show 2011, Earls Court from 19-23 October, visit www.metrosnow.co.uk for tickets or buy on the door.