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Freestyle skiing fitness advice

Combining skiing with acrobatics, freestyle skiing has two disciplines - Moguls and Aerials. It demands nerves of steel, but also that your body is ready for the challenges of the sport.

There's no doubt that Freestyle Skiing is a demanding sport. The combination of high altitude and repeated stresses mean that fitness is at a premium. Put simply, the fitter you are, the better your potential performance will be, and the lower your risk of injury.

Fitness for Freestyle Skiing involves four key elements, Aerobic Fitness; Anaerobic Fitness; Coordination, Balance and Flexibility; and Strength. We'll look at each in turn.

Aerobic fitness: You need to be aerobically fit to exercise in thin mountain air. This is achieved through a cardio programme of running, rowing, biking or stepping, a minimum of 20 minutes three times per week.

Anaerobic fitness: This will enable you to accelerate quickly, and put together runs over bumps, crucial for the moguls. Training for this involves alternating short, intense intervals of the cardio exercises mentioned above, with slower recovery periods.

Coordination, balance and flexibility: By combining agility drills with regular stretching, you will increase your co-ordination, balance and flexibility, enabling you to achieve a more dynamic range of movement.

Strength: You'll need to focus on the muscles used most skiing: the leg muscles, especially the quadriceps and hamstrings; the core; and the triceps, which are used for poling. Work at around 70% of your maximum weight, aiming to perform as many reps as possible to increase muscle endurance.

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