Ski Fitness Workout: How to Get Fit for the Slopes

It’s January time, mid winter and the skiing season is now upon us. While you may be looking forward to the exhilaration of hurtling down the slopes, the question needs to be asked; Is your body ready for the challenge?

While skiing can be a hugely enjoyable outdoor activity, it can also be incredibly stressful on the body and can take its toll if you aren’t physically prepared. To help you get ready for this years snowy escape from city life I have prepared a ski-centric workout to train you specifically for the challenge ahead. This workout will help develop strength, stability, mobility and cardiovascular fitness to make sure you hit the slopes confident and ready for action.

What You Will Need

To complete this workout you will need some basic fitness equipment to complete all the exercises:

  • An exercise ball
  • Small hand weights / dumb bells
  • A chair or a gym bench
  • Exercise sliders or simple paper plates

The Workout

The workout I have devised for you is broken down into specific sections. In practice you can simply work through these exercises as a simple list. I have simply broken the down here so you can understand the specific benefits of each movement.

The warm up

TO BOOST YOUR FITNESS & PREPARE YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE

If you have access to exercise equipment an exercise bike or step machine would be an ideal way to warm up. These machines target the main muscles of the legs (quads and hamstrings) and help to strengthen the knees while working you in a non-stressful low impact motion. If you do not have access to cardiovascular equipment then brisk hill walking or jogging will be a great alternative. 

Aim for a minimum of 10 minutes of ‘steady state’ exercise keeping the resistance at a level which keep you working at a intensity rate of around 8/10 (10 being the highest).

Stability Exercises

TO IMPROVE YOUR BALANCE & MUSCLE ACTIVATION

Skiing downhill in an unstable environment will challenge your body’s ability to stabilise itself. This means the muscles keeping the joints in the correct alignment despite the speed, constant change of terrain and impact through the joints being constantly challenged. Poor stability is one of the main causes of ski-specific injuries. These exercises will help keep you safe and happy in your holiday.

Exercise Ball Kneeling Twists 3 x 20

Build stability & mobility in the core and hips

This exercise requires a certain level of experience to balance on your knees on the ball.  If you are not at that stage yet, simply kneel on the floor.

  1.  Kneel on an exercise ball
  2. Lengthen your spine and keep your abdominal muscles engaged
  3. Straighten your arms out in front of your chest for balance
  4. Twist from the waist from one side to the next with a pause in the middle.

Build stability & mobility in the core and hips
This exercise requires a certain level of experience to balance on your knees on the ball. If you are not at that stage yet, simply kneel on the floor.
– Kneel on an exercise ball
– Lengthen your spine and keep your abdominal muscles engaged
– Straighten your arms out in front of your chest for balance
– Twist from the waist from one side to the next with a pause in the middle.

Exercise Ball Hamstring Curls 2 x 15 – 20

Improves core-stability & builds strength in the back of the legs

  1. Lay on your back with an exercise ball under your feet
  2. ‘Bridge’ your body upward pushing your hips to the ceiling
  3. Use your core to keep you stable
  4. Draw the ball toward you and ‘squeeze’ the back of the thighs as they work
  5. Keep the hips high as you lengthen the knees and repeat

Exercise Ball Russian Twists 3 x 20

Improves core stability, mobility and posterior chain strength

  1. Sit on the ball and walk forward until your head and shoulders are on the ball
  2. ‘Bridge’ the hips upward so you can feel the back of your thighs and buttock muscles working before you start
  3. Draw the belly button toward the spine
  4. Rotate the spine so you twist your body onto your shoulder muscles.  Repeat alternate sides
  5. Aim to keep the pelvis as still as possible throughout

Exercise Ball Push Pull Plank 3 x 15

Improves core strength and pelvic stability

  1. Place your elbows on the exercise ball keeping a gap between the ball and your chest
  2. Straighten your legs so you are balancing on the ball and your toes.
  3. Maintain a strong posture throughout
  4. Slowly extend your arms away from your body in a forward motion, then bring the arms back slowly.  Repeat.
  5. The tendency here is for your back to naturally want to drop or arch.  The challenge is to use the core to stop that from happening.

Strength Exercises

TO HELP COPE WITH THE STRESS OF THE SLOPES

In addition to being stable the body needs to be strong. This will ensure your muscles can cope with the stress of the constant knee bending which falls in line with good skiing technique. These exercises will train and strengthen your legs, core and upper body, targeting the major muscles used on the slopes.

Single Leg Bench Squats

Bent Over Tricep Kickbacks

Wall Sitting

Prone Jacks

Multi-Directional Lunges

POWER EXERCISES

SPEED & STRENGTH COMBINED

Power exercises are an example of strength and speed work combined at the same time. This will help you maintain control at high speed and enable to use your body quickly in physically challenging scenarios.

Jump Squats

Lateral Ski Shifts

POST WORKOUT STRETCHES

TO HELP STAY INJURY FREE

Finally it’s important to remember to stretch.  The exercises we have completed here will put stress in the muscles in order to help them develop. It’s as important to help remove that tension at the end of the workout to help promote an increased range of movement.

Quadriceps

Hamstrings

  • Sit on a chair or an exercise ball
  • Lengthen one leg out straight in front of you
  • Sitting tall with a straight back, ease the chest forward
  • You should feel the stretch in the back of the upper thigh
  • Hold for a minimum of 60 seconds

Glutes

Back / Spine

I hope you find the workout useful and that it helps you on your quest for increased ski fitness this season. I would love to hear how you found the workout and your ski fitness stories if you would like to share.

Take care have a fantastic trip and enjoy the slopes.

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