Sports Conditioning – Change of Seasons

When the seasons change, our sports change. Our bodies, gear, and exercise conditioning should also change. Preparing one’s muscles for a different sport prevents injuries, enhances recovery from preexisting injuries, and improves performance in the future sports.


Here in Colorado’s Aspen Valley, cyclists are in great form. In the quiet red-rock town of Basalt, cyclists have been enjoying the splendor of riding along the Frying Pan River. For months, they have been fine-tuning their cycling muscles. But now, our attention turns to the slopes of Aspen. Months before the ski resorts open for ski season, locals work on getting their “skiers’ legs” on backcountry hillsides.

Cycling to Skiing: comparing Sports Conditioning styles.

Let’s use the cycling-skiing comparison to demonstrate the different requirements of these sports on our bodies. First, cyclists work on staying in a tucked position. The muscles on the front of the body that put cyclists in a forward-flexed place are strong and tight. And the positioning of cyclists’ bodies over their bikes is grossly different from a skier’s stance.

Cycling also occurs within a limited space around one’s bicycle. Riding efficiently and maintaining balance on a bike requires a rider to tighten around the cycle. The goal is to limit one’s work area, i.e., to minimize one’s ” workspace .”

Skiers, on the other hand, are unlikely to be as space-conscious. Their work space is not so strictly defined, and unless they are competitive speed skiers, they do not need to practice staying tucked.

For cyclists skiing in the backcountry before ski resort season, their muscles are not conditioned for the change in sports. Backcountry skiing requires a different sense of balance than cycling. The workspace is broader. Obstacles may surround you. Terrain changes radically beneath the skier’s feet. The skier must adapt and rebalance continually as they move.

Other conditions affect the transition in seasonal sports. These include your gear, injuries, overall physical activity levels, weather and environmental conditions, and participation in other sports.


Sports Injury Prevention.

When changing seasonal sports, your priority should be to prevent injuries. Before one season ends, you should be conditioning your body for the upcoming sport. You, the athlete, should take 4-8 weeks, minimally, to prepare for the next mark. If you have any preexisting injuries, you may need longer.

If you do not make a physical transition, you are predisposing yourself to injury. You should start the next sport at a low physical intensity. Take basic first aid precautions, if necessary. Icing sore muscles and getting aerobic exercise will remove the soreness and speed up recovery.


Taking the time to get physically conditioned for the next sport will aid recovery in two ways. First, it will improve the healing environment so that preexisting injuries may heal. Your current sport may aggravate your injury. Or maybe it is not healing during training for your current sport. Changing your activity may allow your damaged body to rest and recover.

Second, as you start to practice the next sport, being physically prepared will allow your muscles to respond better to their new requirements. You are less likely to become sore from new activities and less likely to get injured. Your muscles will recover faster. This will make you feel better: energized, stronger, ready to get out and repeat the fun!

Enhanced Athletic Performance.

All of these advantages of pre-conditioning for your sport result in enhanced performance. What is the version, and which of its features can be improved?

Performance means your ability to participate in a sport. It includes your muscles’ abilities to perform or execute the basic moves of that sport. The performance also refers to how you feel while practicing the sport.

Performance refers to measurable features, too. It might refer to the time requirements for performing the basic activities. It might refer to the level of difficulty in executing certain moves. It might refer to the fluidity, creativity, or elements of artistic expression revealed through “sporting display.”

If you practice your sport for fun and recreation, enhancing performance may mean ending the day without injuries or feeling wrecked! Improving performance means “More Playtime”!

If you are a competitor within your sport, you probably already know the need for pre-conditioning and practice it seasonally.

Starting a pre-conditioning program.

When you plan to condition for your upcoming sport, consider all the factors described above. How are the sports different? What condition is your body in? Do you have any injuries? What does performance mean to you?

Hiring a personal fitness trainer or a sport-specific coach can make the transition easier and more fun. They may motivate you to have your best season ever, and they have the coaching tools to make those athletic dreams come true!

In conclusion, seasonal sports pre-conditioning is an effective way to prevent injuries, treat injuries you already have, aid recovery as you change sports, and enhance athletic performance for the new sport.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.