Skiing and snowboarding are lots of fun, yet as you hurtle around 40 mph, you need some physical strength to keep you upright. Regardless of where you are going, down the side of a mountain, or exploring backcountry terrain, there is a sense of excitement and adventure.
While skiing and snowboarding can help you get fit, being fit in the first place can make you better and make the experience more enjoyable. Being physically fit with plenty of stamina can prevent you from finishing on the slopes feeling battered and sore.
Physically active skiing or boarding requires technique and muscle strength while retaining the flexibility to stay balanced. (Read How Many Calories Burned Water Skiing)
You’ll work the same leg and arm muscles you would if you went running or cycling during a day’s skiing. So, skiing can help you in these sports, while these sports can help you with skiing.
However, you don’t want to rely on these two sports as your only way to get ski-fit. Here in our guide, you can find simple ski training you can do at home with no equipment.
Even if you are out of season, you can keep your feet together, bend your knees and do some home exercises to give you core strength before you hit the slopes.
What Are the Best Exercises to Prepare for Skiing?
You can find many exercises that will deliver a strong core out of the ski season; however, when you want a workout, you want a group of exercises that will cover all your body rather than tackling one part.
Here we have a simple four-part set where you can combine lunges and squats. Doing this means you can gain more power and control as you ski downhill.
The exercises here are designed to stretch and strengthen muscles using negative contractions.
The entire exercise comprises the following:
- Alternating lunges
- Jump lunges
- Jump squats
Do these and then rest for 15 seconds and then repeat six times for full effect.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
- Lower yourself to a seated position until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Keep your heels on the floor and knees behind your toes.
- Retain a strong core as you hold your arms by your hips for alignment.
Repeat the exercise 10 to 20 times per set.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Step forward with your left foot into a lunge.
- Keep the left leg at 90 degrees and the right knee almost touching the floor behind you.
- Push off with your front heel, and return to a starting position with your feet apart.
- Repeat with your right leg.
Do this for 10 to 20 reps on each leading leg.
- Make a lunge with your left leg forward.
- Jump up so you can switch legs mid-air and land with your right foot in front of you and left foot behind.
Repeat 10 to 20 reps for each leg.
- Do a squat
- Shift your weight from your heels to the balls of your feet
- Explode upward before you land softly on the ground.
Do 5 to 10 reps.
How do you physically prepare for skiing?
The above exercises are good for endurance and cardio by the time you have finished training and completing the full number of sets. To further build your shape, so you have solid glutes and quads, you can do these skiing exercises for legs and the upper body. (Read Is Kayaking Good Exercise)
The aim here isn’t to build muscle but to use these skiing exercises to build strength where you need it.
Russian Twists are perfect for building oblique muscles. You’ll need these for every turn and to help relieve pressure on your hip.
- Sit on the ground leaning up a little with hips and knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Using a dumbbell or sufficient weight, hold it with your arms bent in front of your chest.
- Lift your feet off the floor, engage your core, then spin your upper body to the right as far as you can. Touch the weight to the ground on your full extension.
- Return to center, then twist to the left side.
- One rep is a twist to each side.
Perform three rounds of 10 to 20 repetitions.
Lateral Hops & Tuck Hold
You will discover this exercise combines both isometric and dynamic movements. It will increase stamina and improve performance on the slopes. Remember, the goal here isn’t to jump as high as you can, rather improve strength and speeds.
- Keep a wide stance, then jump laterally back and forth over a soft object. (sandbags are ideal)
- Focus on jumping quick yet soft. Proceed for 30 seconds and sink to a squat position and hold for 30 seconds.
Rest for 15 seconds and then repeat the exercise from 4 to 8 times.
Low Back Complex
In this 3-part circuit, you’ll find the exercises can combat lower back pain as they strengthen muscles through isometric positions. Do this before you hit the slopes, and you’ll never feel that first-day soreness you’re sure to feel.
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Keep the spine arched and contract your lower back muscles.
- Begin with your arms at your side. Raise them upward over your head.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds.
- Perform a lunge with your left leg forward.
- Hold the lunge position, raising your arms for 20 seconds.
- Kneel on the floor with your legs around six inches apart.
- Keep your lower back arched with an open chest as you raise your arms upward and hold the fully extended position for 20 seconds.
Repeat the series of actions 3 to 4 times.
Stabilization is vital when skiing, and although this exercise appears simple, it’s fantastic for working glutes, hamstring, and core. It is also one of the best things to improve balance and building ankle strength, stability, and balance using your hips, legs, and foot.
- Standing upright, extend your hands, then slowly lean forward.
- Lift one leg behind you slowly and keep the base single leg bent a little for balance.
- As you lean over, keep the back leg straight and in-line with your torso.
- Take a deep breath as you lean forward, then exhale as you return to the starting standing position.
Do six reps on one leg and repeat for the opposite leg.
How Can I Improve My Skiing?
To improve your skiing, you need to focus on some exercise before your ski trip as it will make a world of difference.
Key areas are cardio, strength, and flexibility. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your core and stay in shape.
Keep Shoulders Straight
Keeping shoulders straight is one way to improve skiing.
- One simple exercise is taking your ski poles.
- Hold them in both hands at chest height.
- Try and keep them facing down the slope while as level as you can while making slow controlled turns.
You may find your focus too much on your turn and don’t see what is coming next. When you do this, you don’t look at the full slope for your run rather than the area you are in.
Try to look out horizontally as you ski instead of down at the ground. Doing so helps to see what’s coming and improving your balance and body position at the same time.
Take Ski Lessons
If you are new to skiing, there is a lot you need to understand, so ski lessons are highly beneficial, regardless of the skiing level you are.
Ski lessons will go a long way to learn proper techniques and tips. You can also find they help build new skills so you are ready to explore more mountain than you would if you were by yourself. (Read Which Exercise Helps Prepare for Uphill Hiking)
Practice Après Ski
With all the above exercises, off-piste is a great time to have a workout. Use free time to practice and apply what you learn during any lesson.
Are Squats Good for Skiing?
Squats are the ultimate ski fitness workout. They strengthen quads, glutes, legs, knee, thighs, and bum. Besides this, you’ll find they mimic a skiing action as you do them at home. Besides, you can improve coordination, balance, and endurance.
However, rather than squat up and down, you can create squat combinations that incorporate kicks, jumps, 1-legged squats, hops, and calf raises.
Try to do a large number of reps with as many variations as you can. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for another set.
Front Squats is a low-rep and high-weight move which improves your core and lower body strength. Once you do these, you could find them as one of your favorite exercises for ski training at home. They will improve your upper body fitness when you ski downhill.
- Stand with your barbell held close to your jaw.
- Lower your bum toward the floor.
- Take a deep breath in while you squat down and feel your quads tighten.
- Exhale when you stand.
- Keep your core and back straight and hip engaged with a straight back while returning to the standing position.
Do 6 rounds comprising 4 to 6 reps.
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