Get in shape for winter!

By Arjen on 13 July 2015 · 0

Words: JoostHagemeijer

We're in the middle of summer! For some of you the summer might not be the best season of the year! After all, not much powder and usually the waves are not the best of the year either. Still, that doesn't mean that you can't do anything related to bombing down a deep hill somewhere, cause you can make sure you're ready when the snow comes back by getting into shape for the upcoming season. And the beginning of summer is actually a good starting point to do so. So before you start buying new running shoes or joining some outdoor bootcamp group immediately, how can you best prepare for the next season and use the next five months to get into that freeriding shape!?

Strength & Condition

For both skiing & snowboarding in the backcountry it helps to be in good shape. You will need endurance for climbs and hikes, as well as strong muscles for the downhill. Luckily, both things can be trained. And balancing between both of the two disciplines gives you a good overall fitness that will benefit you by enabling you to have longer day trips coming season.

So where do you start?

  • First set goals for yourself. A goal can be something like: I want to be fitter then I am now by the first of December.

  • Second, think about how you are going to achieve that goal. For strength increase you might want to hit the gym and lift some weights. For the conditioning part it will be good to start planning some exercises that are related to increasing your cardiovascular stamina like running or biking. What works best is to plan your workouts ahead. For instance you will hit the gym and do strength training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Do a light run on Thursday. And a long bike ride on Sunday.

  • Third how are you going to measure your progress? Many people use the weight scale. For me I don't think it is a good indicator. Since gaining muscle will increase your weight it will be demotivating if that is your progress indicator. What you could think off is making a picture of yourself in shorts. And then duplicating this picture by the beginning of each month. That way you can see what effect your training has in a visual way with before and after pictures. Also you can measure progress in training: are you able to lift heavier weights or are you able to run or bike faster and longer?

Training routines strength: boring gym?

With both skiing and snowboarding the main emphasis of movement goes to your basic muscle groups: your legs, your core, chest and back. So those muscles in your legs, core, back and chest are the ones you want to make stronger. And to become stronger you will have to do resistance exercises for which you can increase the resistance over time. (the stronger you get, the more resistance you need to add to become stronger to keep the exercises effective) The place equipped best to do resistance exercises is the GYM. Now I hear you say that usually the gym is boring. My reply would be, if it is you are probably not training hard enough.

The purpose of a training is to put stress on your body. For me what works best is to make supersets and blast through my strength workout in a 55 minutes high intensity training and work all my main muscle groups with no more then 1 minute rest between sets. So my strength training would look like:

  • 1 superset: 10 reps chest + 10 reps back + 10 legs + interval cardio (like sprinting 3x on stairs) (8-10 min in total for each superset)

  • 2 superset: 10 reps chest + 10 reps back + 10 legs + interval cardio

  • Core and lower back (10 min) try plank excersizes

  • Shoulder excersizes

If you have time to get bored you are not training hard enough.

My advice would be to first work with a personal trainer. You can spend one hour together with a l trainer learning what you can do best for your current level and how you can do the exercises without getting an injury. If you do it once a month you can do the exercises you've learned the following 4 weeks and when you change your routine do another session to learn new exercises. When you are more advanced and able to do all correctly you could also join a crossfit center or train on your own. Just remember: quality of your movement is more important then how many reps or weight you train with.

Training routine: condition

By doing strength training at a high intensity you are already increasing your stamina. But for me I also like to train outside and love to do some endurance workouts there. Basically what works best to do endurance training is to do something that is fun as well.

Many people don't enjoy running for 5k or 10k because it is too monotone. But they do like to play football for an hour, volleyball, go boxing or kick boxing, play tennis and so on. I as an example like mountainbiking. It takes no real effort for me to go, since I like the climbing with the bike and then downhilling some slope. (For me it is summer skiing) The most important thing here is doing something you like and to try and go past your comfort zone: so when it becomes hard, keep going.

If you are into biking or running your smartphone can be of help here. You have many amazing apps that can help you track your training, distance, heart rate, personal bests etc. Apps you can download like Nike Run, Runkeeper, Endomondo, Strava or Runtastic Mountainbike Pro can provide you information on your workout and what progress you are making. You can log all your cardio workouts in there from running to volleyball.

Try to do a light cardio exercise in between the rest days you have with strength training. And one intense one during the weekend.


Since training means you are putting stress on your body it also increases the chances for some injuries. To make sure you are in top shape when winter arrives you can also do some maintenance work. (You are getting your board or ski's waxed and maintained as well right? Same goes for your body.) Every 4-6 weeks you can let a sports physiotherapist loosen up your muscles and identify some problem areas and fix them up. This will prevent injuries and will make sure you recover as fast as possible for your next workout and be ready and pain free when the season starts.

If you have an injury, don't wait to long to visit a physiotherapist either. Usually they can fix an injury within 3-5 weeks. If you have a pain and it doesn't go away within two weeks let a professional look at it. Chances are that within 3 weeks you will be completely fit again and won't have to ruin your winter season by sitting at home watching movies.

So enough to do during the summer to be fit in winter! Start today and by December you will be in the best shape ever starting a new season! Of course, don't forget to squeeze in some snow safety training and perhaps some technical indoor ski or snowboarding training as well when you have the chance!

And don't worry! #Winteriscoming!


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