Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Varying the steering at the top of the turn and the edge angle you create from the fall line to the turn completion, will add dimension to your experience. By giving yourself a goal for each run or section of a run, you will challenge your skill, the versatility of your equipment and gain valuable experience. For example, you could try making 15 clean short radius turns on the pitch or six inch solid GS type turns. And the great thing about it is that you don’t have to wait until you’re facing that steep bump run at Apex or that wide open cruiser at Sun Peaks. You can gain this experience right here at home on our local hills! Experimenting with turn shape increases balance, spatial awareness, speed control and confidence. So next time you head out to the local hills, shake it up and invest a couple of runs in playing with turn shape and stretch your comfort zone a bit.Learning to ski can be a lifelong process, as there are always new tricks to learn and new skills to master. Just remember to take your time and enjoy it. Skiing is one of life's greatest workouts.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
This also means that you should wax your ski base to allow your skiis to glide easily over the snow surface. It won't feel like your skis are sticking to the snow. Even if you’re a great skier or a beginner, your equipment must be well tuned to really enjoy it.
Storing your equipmentWhen the ski season comes to an end, you should always put wax on your skis before you store them away. Sharpen the edges and put some WD40 on the bindings. Remember that investing in top of the line skis is only a smart investment if you take the time to properly maintain them.
By Jurg Gfeller, Director, Co-founder and Head Coach at the NSA
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
By Dr. Susan Nori, NSA’s Physiotherapist, Chiropractor & Sport Conditioning Coach
We live, work and play in a 3 dimensional world that requires us to move in different planes and in multiple directions. Yet most youth and adult fitness programs involve jumping onto cardio machines that go nowhere and then performing strength training exercises on machines that lock your joint into moving in one dimension only. This is Ok if all you’re training for is sitting at a desk, driving a car or laying on the couch watching TV. However, if you want to have the strength and ability to effectively perform your sport and do so without injury, than this type of training is not going to cut it.
Most of us are weekend warriors. This often means skiing double black diamonds, competing in masters, mountain biking, playing soccer or just trying to keep up with the kids. Does your workout plan during the week fit the level of performance needed for these types of weekend activities? Not usually! Injuries are not just likely to occur, they are inevitable.
The objectives of an effective training program should be three pronged: to get strong, to improve your athletic performance and to prevent injury. For most weekend warrior clients, you should be undergoing the same type of training program that an athlete does – just less intense, less volume and with a more gradual build. A well thought out program can meet these objectives with as few as one to two, 1 hr sessions per week. The following are guidelines to build a solid program to help ensure that your conditioning program results in athletic success while minimizing chances of injury:
- Train body weight before external resistance
Many programs make the mistake of having you head straight for the weights. This usually ends up causing injury. No one should be lifting weights if he or she cannot yet safely stabilize their joints against the weight of your body. Your strength program in the beginning stages may actually include no weights whatsoever. Do not rush to lift heavy loads. Being able to first support, and then move, your body weight through progressively more difficult levels of exercise is far more important. This is how your body learns efficient and effective movement patterning. Once this muscle and joint control becomes well integrated, then the addition of weights can be safely added.
- Train on your feet
Most of your exercise program should take place ON YOUR FEET, in the standing position. Your sport takes place in standing position, therefore, so should your training. That way not only are the muscles that move your joints being trained but so too are those muscles that stabilize and support that joint during movement.
- Don’t use machines that lock you into one position during exercise
These machines limit your joint range of motion and prevent the muscle from training in a functional manner. What is a “functional manner”? You need to train muscles in the way that the body uses them. As stated above, that includes not just the prime movers of the joint but also those muscles that support against, and assist with, that same movement. Moving a joint through space is a group effort. To be effective, your training equipment should allow you to keep those muscles working together harmoniously in many planes of movement, not just the one plane that some machine dictates you move through!
- Use multiple joints when training
Rarely during sport do you flex a knee without also simultaneously flexing the same ankle and hip. Joints work together to produce movement. As you navigate your way down a ski run or over a log while on a mountain bike, are you using only one joint? Never! So if sport demands multiple joint movement then so should your training program. Equipment such as BOSU balls, stability balls, elastic bands, free weights, kettle bells are all used to provide multi-joint, multi-planar strength training. Any conditioning program worth its salt utilizes this type of equipment.
- Train with Balance
When you include equipment that requires you to lift a load or perform a movement while maintaining your balance on a piece of balance apparatus – two things are happening. You are more closely mimicking the unpredictable and chaotic environment that you perform sport in AND you are challenging the brain to up the ante during its efforts to condition itself. Talk about effectively training all those body systems that start to deteriorate with age. Training with balance equipment does this! Why do we break hips as we age? In addition to becoming weaker, we also experience reduced feedback from the small receptors in the muscles that surround our joints and help us counterbalance the effects of gravity during movement. I don’t need to remind you – if we don’t keep these sharp, we lose them.... along with our balance precision and our ability to perform sport effectively.
- Last but not least – TRAIN THE MUSCLES BEHIND YOU!
What does this mean? It means that almost everything we do throughout the day is done in front of your body. Therefore, most movement utilizes those muscles that are located at the front of a joint. These guys tend to remain strong just by the sheer volume of what we do with them daily. The poor little guys at the back of the joint certainly don’t get equal time. An imbalance develops that if not addressed, can lead to injury. We don’t need to further contribute to this imbalance by what we do in the gym. The goal should be to create balance in your strength and conditioning program. That means training the muscles located in the back of the body almost twice as much as those located in the front.
So remember, the greatest athletes in the world are not those who bench press the heaviest weights. The greatest athletes have an ability to produce useable force in many planes of movement with many different joints simultaneously in an environment that is constantly changing. A good strength and conditioning program keeps these goals firmly in mind and looks to improve overall athletic performance, not just pure weight lifting numbers.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Skiing is fun, gives you freedom, and is FAST!
Nothing ruins a great vacation or just a relaxing day of skiing more than an accident that didn't have to happen. Sami Piana, one of The National Ski Academy coaches offers a few tips on safety in the mountains.Use proper ski equipment. Check your equipment. Don't borrow equipment. Rent from a ski shop or the ski resort. When buying equipment, make sure your ski boots are fitted properly and make sure your bindings are properly adjusted.
Always wear a helmet. Wearing protective headgear while skiing makes good sense. And, if you’re looking for a day of powder in our Ontario hills, don’t forget your spine protector!
Prepare for the weather. Wear layers of clothes and wear a helmet liner, a hat, or a headband. Wear gloves or mittens. Bring an extra pair in case the first pair gets wet.
Get proper instruction. Sign up for ski lessons. Even experienced skiers polish up their skills with a lesson now and then. Don’t hesitate to run into the snow sport office and ask for an instructor. I guarantee he/she will make your day on the snow more exiting whether you are a beginner or a freestyler.
Ski with a friend. It's always safer to ski with a friend so he/she can watch out for you and vice versa. Prearrange a meeting place in case you get separated and use walkie-talkies to stay in touch.
Respect your limits. Do not ski trails that are above your skill level. Trails will be clearly marked as to what level skier they are appropriate for. On a similar note, stay in control of your skis and focus on the trail you are skiing. Accidents happen more readily when we are distracted.
Follow the rules. Read all instructions written on your lift pass and posted at the lift office carefully. Always follow the daily ski tips offered by the ski patrol and lift attendants, as they know the ski conditions of the day best. Do not go off-trail. Obey posted trail closure and other warning signs. They are there for a reason.
Follow these simple rules, and I guarantee you will have a great day of skiing. See you on the slopes!
By Samuel Piana, NSA Ski Coach
Every day when we get out on the hill, we look forward to ripping the mountain and having fun with our friends. But, are we getting the most from our equipment and our time on the snow? Or, are we just doing the same turn on every run? Does that turn challenge our skill level or the design radius of our skis?
We turned to the National Ski Academy for tips on how to make the perfect turn.
Varying the steering at the top of the turn and the edge angle you create from the fall line to the turn completion, will add dimension to your experience. By giving yourself a goal for each run or section of a run, you will challenge your skill, the versatility of your equipment and gain valuable experience. For example, you could try making 15 clean short radius turns on the pitch or six solid GS type turns. And the great thing about it is that you don’t have to wait until you’re facing that steep bump run at Apex or that wide open cruiser at Sun Peaks. You can gain this experience right here at home on our local hills!
Experimenting with turn shape increases balance, spatial awareness, speed control and confidence. So next time you head out to the local hills, shake it up and invest a couple of runs in playing with turn shape and stretch your comfort zone a bit.
Learning to ski can be a lifelong process, as there are always new tricks to learn and new skills to master. Just remember to take your time and enjoy it. Skiing is one of life's greatest workouts.
Alpine skiing takes a lot of balance and coordination. Going down the hill at high speeds in every kind of snow and weather condition is a huge challenge. To help us train for better results, athletes incorporate exercising on and off skis to improve their strength and balance.
There is one type of sport that would significantly help our balance, coordination and strength and, at the same time, keep us on the slope! Telemark skiing. Using softer boots and skiing with free heels is a huge challenge for our coordination and balance. Bending our knees at every turn is a great work out for our thighs and it gives us the opportunity to experience something new on the snow.
So, give it a try and see what you think! Grab a pair of Telemark skis and enjoy!
By Samuel Piana, Alpine Ski Coach at the National Ski Academy