by Amy Marwick
If skiing is important to you and if, like me, it’s part of your career, then it’s likely your body and your health is important to you too. After taking a season out and doing a lot of yoga, I realised I needed to get back into ski shape for the upcoming winter, but the exercise routine I returned to felt stale, misguided and ill-suited to the body I was training now. Perhaps you’ve felt this too, at a time when you are desperate to get in shape for something, the exercises you are doing simply don’t feel like they are working… and they get boring after a while!
On the hunt for something new to motivate myself, I came across the Ski Fitness website. Then when Ollie offered me the opportunity to come and experience a full consultation, and build a program for me, I couldn’t believe my luck.
Ollie’s facility down in Surrey is a modest gym with simple equipment, but that says nothing for the complexity of the consultation. I was intrigued when Ollie began to take measurements of tiny movements that I made, calculate strengths and weaknesses, analysing things like ankle dorsi flexion and lumbo pelvic rhythm through a series of tests.
We discovered that my lower abdominal strength and coordination was poor, an area where I always thought I was relatively strong. And that my thoracic curve was way out of wack, an indication of why I had been experiencing an ache between my shoulder blades. I was pleased that I was “very good” at dead lifting but when squatting with an overhead weight, my arms fell forward and my back became rounded. It wasn’t long before Ollie determined several key areas that needed attention.
Ollie’s theory is that you have to be fully functioning before you can start strengthening. So the first couple of weeks of my programme is to do with isolation, precision and coordination in the weak areas. It’s not like any fitness training I’ve done before and takes a lot more concentration than just battling through a circuit in gym. It’s slow and accurate, but straightforward, fresh and it gets easier to feel the areas in my body that I’m working each time I do it. I’m excited to see how it will progress and whether I see and feel a notable difference in my posture.
The next step is to build in a “progressive functional programme” which builds on the small movements I’ve been working on with more familiar exercises like front squats and side lunges. Perhaps they’ll feel different, perhaps they won’t, but at least I’ll know I’ve built a solid platform in my body to develop from. I’ll keep you updated!
Amy Marwick is a fully certified ski instructor, yoga teacher and freeride coach for British Freeride. She skis for Black Crows, Panda Optics and runs skiing and yoga retreats in the French with her company Yoyosno.