With Winter now approaching fast, the thoughts of keen skiers are turning to their fitness levels to be on top form for when the snow falls to take full advantage of the snow fields. Many skiers who live in Winter resorts all year round take to their mountain bikes in the summer months. Below are some of the main reasons why skiers mountain bike in the off season.
- It improves your core by being able to shift the bike underneath you.
- It works major muscle groups in your legs, which you do when you ski.
- It helps develope your timing of flexion and extension movements which helps you anticipate bumps and terrain, especially at speed.
For skiing it is important to have a strong core as it keeps your upper body centred while your lower body is moving around. Sometimes your skis can accelerate out from underneath you and if your core is not strong you will find yourself sitting back or worse-on the deck! In mountain biking you can manouver your bike underneath you by using your strong core. The bike is an extension of your body and you can move it forward and back, left and right and under your body depending upon your intention at the time.
Biking works all the major muscles in your legs like the calves, hamstrings and quadriceps, all the muscles we use whilst skiing. The most common skiing injury these days is a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament and most people incorporate some kind of biking into their recovery after the injury. Biking strenthens all the major muscles which reduces the risk of an ACL injury in the Winter.
Biking also helps to develope and practice the timing of flexion and extension movements as bikers have to anticipate the terrain especially when you are going fast downhill. It also helps to develope the timing and awareness of when to bend the knees, pedal, coast or when to push down on the handlebars to maintain ground to tyre contact.
Why not give mountain biking a try and see how you like flying down your favourite ski runs in the summer on a narrow path with a huge smile on your face?
More ski fitness tips to follow.