Whether you are gearing up for a ski holiday or a kick about on the weekend, solid physical preparation can make the difference between having an incredible experience, and having an incredibly painful experience.
Before considering a sports specific program for any sport, it is absolutely vital to achieve a certain degree of base strength and fitness. Though many sports primarily utilize the legs for power, strength must be developed across the whole body in order to move solidly as a unit. If a car is front wheel drive, it doesn’t mean you can drive with the back tires deflated.
A focus on core development is very important. Strength and mobility in the TRUNK are vital components to moving dynamically and powerfully in sport. By learning to “move from our centre”, we take the stress away from our limbs and put it into the power source of our body. Developing control in this area enables us to initiate movements in safer and ultimately more powerful ways.
While it is good to develop a certain degree of cardiovascular fitness, don’t get carried away with monotonous activity (long runs, bike rides and 90 minute gym sessions!!). Repeated cyclical exercise puts our nervous system to sleep and many sports demand agility, quick reflexes and explosive power, so it is important that you imitate that type movement in your preparation. Taking part in other sports like soccer, squash, volleyball or chasing a dog along the beach can satisfy this criteria. Just try and mix up the pace and use a variety of exercises.
Flexibility training is probably the easiest area of physical development to totally NEGLECT. There is nothing fun about stretching, and let’s face it, it’s boring! But I assure you that stretching 15-20 minutes a day is less boring than waiting for recovery from a knee reconstruction, dislocated shoulder, neck strain or groin tear. Take time after each workout to stretch and be sure to focus on areas you are LEAST flexible in.
When it comes to sports, take time to warm up properly and don’t be too overzealous first time or first day. Spend time stretching afterwards and use ice or hot and cold treatment to relieve any potential soreness.