Whether it’s your first time on to the slopes, or you can cruise down a black run with your eyes shut, there’s nothing like the right preparation for the ski season, and we’re not just talking about buying cool salopettes. Virgin Active, the UK’s most innovative and exciting health club brand, has introduced Sno Camp – a programme to prepare you for powering down the piste without panting for breath!

Each week we will bring you a new section of the course thanks to Rhona Swain, a Personal Trainer at Edinburgh’s Omni Virgin Active Club, who is currently running the 2009 leg of the new Sno Camp course; “Sno Camp is a great new pre-ski training course, which is part of Virgin Active’s new ‘Tribe Training’ scheme.  The course is based completely on the Powerplate® and Virgin worked closely with the Snowsport GB to design the programme, so we know it works!  The Powerplate® creates instability in the body, as it moves in all 3 planes (up & down, side to side, forward & back) therefore it promotes balance and mimics transfers of movement which you might expect to encounter on the slopes.  The course really focuses on improving mobility and movement, strength and power in the lower body, stability and balance, and core strength; all of the skills which need to be enhanced for your skiing or snowboarding season.  Each week we progress each exercise and will put you through your paces." Week 1. All of these exercises can be performed on or off the Powerplate®.  If using the Powerplate® keep the settings on 30Hz, Low Intensity when you first start – you can gradually increase the Hz and intensity as you progress.  In any case or environment, perform each exercise for 30-45 seconds to begin; you can then progress on to +60 seconds. 1. Ski Squat – lower body strength • Start standing up straight, with ankles & knees about hip width apart, and both them and hips slightly bent. • Slowly move down in to a deep squat within a controlled range, ensuring that the weight goes backwards, and knees do not go any further than in line with the toes. • Repeat the movements for 30-45 seconds, slowly and in a controlled movement. • Points to consider: - Ensure the abdominals are engaged, by pulling them inwards towards the spine; this also helps to ensure back is straight and flat. - Keep your head up! - Imagine you have your ski poles in your hands – keep them clasped in front, elbows tucked in under your torso. • Start in the same position as the Ski Squat, standing facing the Powerplate® handles or something you can use to hold on to if not using Powerplate®. • Holding on to the handles, lift 1 leg off the ground so that the knee is bent at 90°.  From there, bend the knee of the supporting leg so that your body moves downwards. • Bring your suspended leg round so that it curves in arc behind your bent supporting leg.  Perform for 30-45 seconds on each leg. • Points to consider: - Engage those abs! - Keep your head and upper body upright 3. The Plank – core strength • Lie on your front on a mat.  Bring yourself on to your forearms and elbows; from there lift yourself on to your toes.  Your body should be in a completely straight line. • Pull your abdominal muscles up towards your spine and raise your hips so that your back is completely flat, like a table top. • Hold this position for 30-45 seconds • Points to Consider: - If using Powerplate® your forearms should be on the plate - In any case, ensure that the hips do not drop too low or lift too high – they should be lifted just enough so that your back is absolutely flat. 4. Single Leg Balance with rotation – stability (Try to perform this on an unstable surface if you do not have access to a Powerplate®) • Stand with 1 leg on the ground, and the other leg lifted so that the knee is at 90° • Extend your arms either side to balance your weight • Slowly, and in a controlled motion, bring your bent knee across your body, rotating the standing knee very slightly • Hold for 5 seconds before returning to start position.  Perform for 30-45 seconds on each leg. • Points to consider: - Take it slowly – the slower the better and the more beneficial the exercise - Keep your head and upper body upright - Only rotate the knee very slightly, to the point of very mild tension in the knee – do not over-rotate 5. Ski squat with side leans – lower body strength & endurance • Assume the ski squat position (Exercise 1) ensuring that your weight is in your heels, your hands are clasped and your elbows are tucked in under your torso • In a slow and controlled movement, transfer your weight on to 1 leg so that your upper body leans in to the movement. • Hold this position for 5 seconds before returning to centre point, and carry out the same movement to the other side • Points to consider: - Ensure that your head is up and looking straight ahead, and that your knees do not go forward beyond your toes at any time So, print this off and get in training! The course has been so successful that Rhona already has a list of names on a waiting list for her next course in January 2010, so if you’d like to take part at Edinburgh Omni, please Call Rhona on 0131 550 1650 or drop me an email at [email protected] or your visit your local Virgin Active - click here to see participating clubs.

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