Skiing is a full-body workout. When you’re skiing through waist deep powder, you’ll need to use your core muscles to stay balanced, leg muscles for those perfectly executed turns and even cardio to power through. Skiing is certainly a physically demanding sport and most serious skiers train year-round regardless of whether there’s snow on the mountain.
Staying in shape with ski exercises during the warmer months will not only guarantee you have the stamina and strength to enjoy the first day back on the slopes but can also help prevent injuries. As professional athletes know, conditioning your body reduces your chances of injuries and allows you to recover quicker should you have an accident. So, it’s important to stay fit even during the summer months.
Most skiers use a mixture of at home ski fit exercises (more on this later) and ski conditioning exercises like rock climbing and mountain biking to stay in shape year-round.
When most people think about trampolining, they envision children at play or acrobats. But, trampolining is a great core workout and directly applies to skiing. You can practice your ski tricks and manoeuvres, like backflips and 360s, in a relatively safe environment and, once you’ve mastered landing the trick and staying balanced, you can use these skills on the slopes. So, next ski seasons you’ll actually be able to stick that half-cab without falling on your backside.
As any skier will tell you, powering through the powder or racing down the slopes requires a certain amount of cardio. Otherwise, you’ll fade pretty quickly. Cardio fitness is easy to lose and if you spend all summer on the couch waiting for the snow, you won’t be able to keep up come winter.
Most skiers also love the outdoors, so the thought of spending time on a treadmill isn’t always appealing. Instead, they head to one of their favourite places -- the mountain. Ski trails perfectly double as mountain biking or hiking trails. Some mountains even run the lifts during the summer to help you bring your mountain bike to the top. Not only are hiking and mountain biking good fun, but they’ll also help you maintain your cardio during the summer months.
While skiing is undoubtedly a lower-body workout, you’ll also need strong core muscles for balance and upper body strength. Rock climbing is a great way to work your abdominals and build muscles in your arms and shoulders without having to lift weights at the gym. Plus, when you’re on the wall, you’ll need to stay balanced and use your leg muscles in sync with your arm muscles - like you would on the ski slope.
When you’re preparing for the ski season, you’ll want to exercise on a regular basis. While skiing is an all-body workout, you should pay particular attention to strengthening your quads, glutes, calves and core as these muscles work the hardest on the ski slope.
If you don’t want to go to the gym, there are some fantastic at home exercises for skiing fitness.
Squats help you strengthen your thigh (quad) muscles, which are essential for staying in control and executing perfect turns.
- Start by standing with your legs shoulder width apart
- Push your hips back and bend your knees (like you’re sitting on an invisible chair)
- You want your thighs to be parallel to the floor
- Hold for a count of 30 and then stand back up
Once you get the hang of this exercise, you can make it a bit harder by holding your arms straight out in front of you or by holding weights in your hands.
Lunges build leg muscles as well as help with balance. It’s also good practice for tele skiers!
- Start with your feet together
- Step one foot forward and bend your knee to its parallel with the floor
- You should still be able to see your toes and your back leg should be straight
- Stand back up on your front foot
- Repeat with other foot
The Plank helps strengthen your core muscles, which will help you keep your balance on the slope.
- Start lying flat on your stomach on the floor with your forearms positioned directly under your shoulders
- Push up till your body (apart from your forearms and toes) are off the floor
- Hold for 60 seconds
- Lower back down
Once you master the plank, you can try lifting one arm or leg completely off the ground.
A slightly more advanced ski fit exercise, the single-leg squat to heel raise works all the key muscles needed for skiing and helps with your balance too!
- Start in a squat position with your knees together and feet parallel
- Raise one leg straight in front of you so its slightly off the ground. Your knees should be together.
- Keep your body weight centred and raise your body into a standing position while keeping your raised leg in front of you
- Lower back down into starting position
- Repeat with the other leg
Now that you’re fit and in shape, you’ll be ready to hit the slopes and make the most of the winter snow.