Monday, 23 June 2008
Ski Fitness - Arms
Continuing the recent theme, I want to move on to the arm and shoulder muscles. Apart from holding and planting the poles, it is not that obvious that the arm muscles have any great importance in skiing. However, if the arms begin to flail when the terrain gets rough, it will be difficult to maintain a balanced position. The arms should be kept forward and strong to help keep the upper body still in a good position. Admittedly there are plenty of good skiers seen skiing with their hands in their pockets, but most would bring their hands up and forward when tackling difficult terrain, particularly at speed.
When caught off balance, an arm will often get flung back. To recover effectively means driving the arm back forward into a strong bablanced position.
Maintaining and regaining a strong arm position is obviously easier with sufficient arm and shoulder strength. There are several approaches to this, with free weights being probably the most effective. Exercises such as bench presses and shoulder presses are good, as well as those exercising several muscles together like push presses or cleans. Various dumbell exercises can also be used, as well as weight machines. Finally, push ups and pull ups require little equipment, and can play a part in any training programme.
As before, I only intend to give suggestions to get you started. It is important to do any free weight exercises correctly and safely so it is best to get advice from a trainer or coach.