For some people, there’s nothing better than heading up to the mountains for the weekend to take advantage of the fresh powder and hours of skiing. But as fun as it can be, maneuvering down the slopes can really take a toll on your body. To avoid feeling winded after your first run, add some of these ski exercises into your routine before the first snow falls.
The five moves below are some of the best exercises for skiing because they focus on strengthen your quads, glutes, and core. These are the main muscle groups to pay attention to when your doing a pre-season ski workout, explains Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., an expert skier and Openfit’s senior manager of fitness and nutrition content. “When you are on the mountain, the legs act as shock absorbers and your core is what is going to keep you stable as you carve down the mountain,” he says. Whether you’re skiing in the Rockies or on the East Coast, this ski workout will help you get into prime form.
5 Ski Exercises to Get You In Shape for Ski Season
By adding these ski exercises to your routine in the weeks leading up to your mountain getaway, you’ll prime your body for a stronger ski weekend than ever before. And the best part is that you can do all of these exercises at home!
“With this move, you’re building quad strength and also rotational core strength and stability when you move the weight to either side of your body,” Thieme says.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell horizontally (one end in each hand) below your chin with your elbow’s tucked.
- Step your right foot forward, rotating your torso to your right as you lower your body until your right knee is bent 90 degrees and your rear knee is a few inches off the ground.
- Reverse the movement to return to the starting position and repeat, this time stepping forward with your left foot and rotating to the left.
- Continue alternating sides with each rep.
Dumbbell Skier Swing
“The skier swing is so named because it resembles the movement you do when you push forward with your ski poles,” Thieme says. “It’s very effective for building strong hamstrings, explosive lower body power, and core strength.”
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length by your sides.
- Push your hips back and swing the dumbbells in the same direction as you hinge forward at your waist until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. You should feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.
- Now reverse the movement, thrusting your hips forward explosively as you raise your torso and swing the dumbbells up to chest level in front of you to complete one rep. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
- Continue swinging in a fluid, continuous movement for the prescribed number of reps.
Pull-Up to Oblique Raise
“This move really attacks your obliques, which help control and stabilize rotational movement,” Thieme says. “If you’ve ever skied before, you know how important that is.” Adding this move into your pre-ski workout will also help reduce muscle imbalances by strengthening your upper body.
- Grab a pull-up bar with and overhand grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder-width and hang with your arms straight (a position known as a dead hang).
- Bring your elbows to your ribs and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull your chest to the bar.
- Pause at the top to perform an oblique raise: Lift your thighs until your hips and knees are both bent 90 degrees. Now raise your right hip toward your left shoulder, and then your left hip toward your right shoulder.
- Lower your legs and return to a dead hang.
- Too hard? Make this move easier by forgoing the pull-up and simply performing the oblique raise from a dead hang.
Lateral Bench Hops
This is one of the best ski exercises because it works quads and adds in an element of cardio. “It’s about quality of movement, not speed,” Thieme says. “You are training your body to be comfortable moving side to side and developing the strength and agility to move through that pattern.”
- Stand with your left side to a bench and your left foot on it.
- Bend both knees slightly, swinging your arms back and then up explosively as you hop sideways over the bench, landing with your right foot on the bench and your left foot on the ground.
- Continue hopping from one side of the bench to the other.
“A plank is one of the best exercises you can do to train for ski season, because it’s one of the most effective exercises for building core strength,” says Thieme. “The stronger your core is, the more powerful and stable your entire body is.”
- Get into a push-up position (body straight from head to heels) but with your weight supported on your forearms instead of your hands.
- Squeeze your glutes and brace your core to lock your body into position, and hold for time.
- Too hard? Do the straight arm plank instead, supporting your weight on your hands instead of your forearms.