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Best Exercises for Skiers

Training for Ski Season: 10 Workout

Want to get fit for skiing season? This strength training wokrout program includes the best exercises to build strength, power, and knee stability so you can ski longer, with less fatigue, and prevent injuries.

Fall is in full swing and most ski resorts are opening in just a few short weeks. That means it’s time to check-in and see if you’re ready to hit the slopes and ski your heart out this winter.

A good base of total body conditioning is great, but if you want to be able to ski or ride long days without fatigue, you’re going to want to center your ski (or even snowboarding) training program around these 7 exercise ideas that will get your legs in top conditioning, plus they will help you avoid overuse injuries.

Free Fit to Ski Workout Program

Give this workout a try and if you love it and want more, download our free Fit To Ski program where we give you a week’s worth of dynamic workouts that will get you in tip-top shape for this ski season.  Best of all, this workout program includes everything you need to do to improve fitness and prevent injuries including stretching, myofascial release, foam rolling, cardio, and cross-training. These workouts are also time-efficient for your busy life.

What Makes a Good Ski Training Program?

A good ski training program needs to address these 7 key elements:

  • Strength in the Obliques
  • Knee stability
  • Gluteal engagement
  • Activation of the outer hip muscles
  • Strong quadriceps
  • Muscular endurance 
  • Power production for fast down hilling

7 Best Exercises to Get You Fit to Ski

Trunk Rotation for Strong Obliques

fit for skiing workout program, core rotation
To be fit for skiing, you’ll need to have strong obliques for quicker slalom rotations left to right.

Having strong obliques will help improve your slalom with quicker rotations left to right. Do a trunk rotation like the one pictured above to not only tone the deeper core muscles, but also to improve mobility through the spine and low back.

Reps: 15-20 per side

Tips for good form:

  • Move with control
  • Keep your knees slightly bent
  • Maintain the navel pulled into the spine
  • Rotate through the shoulders but allow the hips to rotate as well

Single-Leg Deadlift for Stable Knees

Fit for Skiing deadlift
The Single Leg Deadlift is a great exercise for to get fit for skiing. It provides support for unstable knees.

Skiing can be hard on the knees, but with the right prehab, or preventative exercises, you can strengthen some of the often ignored smaller muscle groups that play an important role in keeping the knee tracking in the correct plane.

The Single Leg Deadlift is a great exercise for training the muscles of the posterior chain which provides support for unstable knees.  This is a difficult movement and if you find it too challenging, start with Fit to Ski and build a stronger base first.

Reps: 15 per leg

Tips for good form: 

  • Watch to make sure your knee stays in line with your ankle
  • Target placing your weight on the pinkie edge side of the working leg
  • Evenly displace your weight on your standing foot
  • Maintain a natural arch in the lower back while hinging at the hips

Related: Ski Trip Pack List

Hip Bridge for Gluteal Engagement

Gluteals strength is key for preventing ski injuries.

While skiing and snowboarding tends to be a quad dominated sport, not engaging the gluteals when in knee flexion will set you up for a patella tendinitis and achy knees.

Bent leg bridge is always our go to for finding out if you have good glute engagement or not. The glutes are a huge game changer so if this exercise isn’t easy for you or if you are feeling it mostly in the low back, hamstrings, or calves, you should defnitely chekc out Train to Ski.

Reps: 20 reps

Tips for good form: 

  • Lay on the floor with the feet hips width distance and knees bent to 90 degrees
  • Try to avoid curling your toes
  • Drive evenly through the feet
  • Visualize using the glutes to lift the hips up
  • Strive to lift the hips high enough to create a straight line from the knees to the shoulders

Lateral Toe Touch for Activating the Outer Hips

Just like the glutes, the outer hips are also a game changer if you want to be shredding the slopes pain free. Try this Single Leg Squat Hold with a Lateral Toe Touch to help you feel great and have a blast this ski and snowboarding season. Being able to activate the outer hip muscles will give you the knee stability you need to strengthen the quadriceps and create a strong chain from the core to the ankles. Basically, improving your outer hip strength will change your slalom game.

Reps: 20 reps per leg

Tips for good form: 

  • Keep a slight bend at the knee but don’t let the knee travel over the toes
  • Keep your natural curvature of the low back as you hinge forward
  • Avoid the knee rolling inward by keeping slight pressure in the outer part of the foot
  • Keep your core engaged to help balance

Goblet Squat for Building Strong Quads

Muscular endurance in the quadriceps is important so that you can get in tons of runs and not spend your day recovering in the lodge.  But first, you need a decent amount of strength in the quadriceps in order to build up muscular endurance.  

I like the goblet squat because it works the legs, core, and upper body stabilization. When it comes to leg strengthening squats are king and this form of squat is a great variation that gives you a lot of bang for your buck without the issues associated with holding a barbell in front or behind the body.

Reps: 30 reps

Tips for good form: 

  • Keep the back in a neutral position, never round the back to get lower
  • Keep the elbows in a hold the weight close to the body
  • Find your natural stance and depth
  • Avoid the knees from rolling in
  • Visualize using your hip/glutes powerfully at the bottom of movement

Related Blog: Ultimate Guide to Skiing Breckenridge, Colorado

Explosive Plyos + Cardio Endurance

Split lunges for cardio ski training
A HIIT wokrout is a great way to build cardio for skiing

If you want to spend more time on the slopes and less time resting in the lodge, then you’re going to need some cardio. Most runs take at least ten minutes and unless you are king or queen of the snow plow like me, you probably would love to fly down it.

Try this HIIT combo all you need is your bodyweight and desire. Start with 20 squats followed by 20 split lunges. Then move to 20 burpees and 20 jumping jacks. Finish off the first round by taking a 20-second break before repeating the entire circuit 4-6x.

Reps: 20 of each movement followed by a 20-second break

Tips for good form: 

  • For squats, visualize bending the knees and pushing the hips back as you descend.
  • Split lunges require a significant amount of power generated to switch legs in the air. Keep good posture and a stance as wide as your hips. Decend into your lunges at a depth that feels okay for you.
  • Burpees are a great exercise but make sure you keep your core engaged to avoid your back sinking.

Related Blog: Guide to Keystone Resort

Take Your Ski Training Program to the Next Level

Whether this is your first season or your a seasoned pro, it’s important to have balance in your muscular-skeletal system. You don’t want the front side of your body over-developed and neglect the posterior chain, or vice versa.

Also, some of these movements listed may be too advanced for the beginner athlete.  If you have little experience with strength training, Vic’s Coaching Series is a great place to start.

The first part of the course is designed to teach proper technique to beginners and also covers everything you need to know when it comes to preventing and rehabbing injuries around the shoulder, low back, hips and knees.

The second part of the course has 8 weeks of intermediate to advanced workouts and integrates all the prehab from part 1. You can also email Victor directly for a free consult to address customized workouts and injury rehab that meet your specific needs.

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