Hot chocolate breaks and cheese fondue aside, a skiing holiday can be straining.
Even professional skier Amie Engerbretson, who also stars in catalogue shoots, finds the sport is tough on her body. Core work and yoga help her focus and thrive.
Build the core
Yoga builds up core strength, which is what maintains your back and without it you would struggle to stand up straight.
“People focus on building muscle in the legs when what they should be focusing on is the back,” says Engerbretson.
“That’s where you’ll be taking a beating. Assuming you have a strong core and back, your body will be able to absorb the shock caused by the bumps you hit going downhill. With a weak core, your body will collapse on every impact, breaking down a little each time.”
A strong core keeps you standing upright and stops you from hunching over, the biggest cause of the ‘scorpion’ fall, when your back curves and your legs (and skis) curl under your body.
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Stand up straight
A lot of skiers suffer from poor posture but what they don’t realize is that body alignment is directly linked to core strength.
“As soon as you get your skis on you should be thinking about getting your posture right,” says Engerbretson. “Bring the spine upright, align your shoulders with the hips and drive your hips down into snow.”
Load up your legs
In order to build up leg strength, Engerbretson cross trains, mixing up mountain biking, bar method and yoga. Yoga’s holding poses, such as the tree pose, are particularly beneficial when it comes to strengthening the lower body.
“Holding poses require sustained muscle energy. When you’re in the tree pose (standing on one leg) and stretch out your leg from the joint, you’re actively engaging your core in order to balance on one leg.”
Those who have done help this sort of pose will have experienced micro wobbles in their legs.
“The stabilizer muscles are the tiny muscles in the joints. When you stand in a balance pose and the leg wobbles, you are engaging and therefore toning and strengthening these tiny muscles and therefore protecting the knee joint.” she explains.