Skiing can be an intense or more moderate workout, depending on your skill level and the types of routes you do. Both downhill and cross-country skiing can improve flexibility, build up your core muscles, and of course, work those legs.
You need to take steps to avoid injuries caused by muscle tightness from the cold, like making sure your body is warm before beginning the rigorous activity,
7 Exercises for Preparing for Skiing
These seven easy moves will get your legs back in skiing shape from the comfort of your living room
- Dumbbell Deadlifts — 20 seconds
- Bodyweight Squats — 20 seconds
- Skater Hops — 20 seconds
- Jumping Lunges — 20 seconds
- Static Front Raises- 20 seconds
- Plank — hold for 30 seconds
- Side Plank — hold for 30 seconds on each side
This move works your hamstrings, which are the main stabilizers for your ACLs—they’re the first line of defense for many knee injuries because they can “pull” your body into a safer position.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding the dumbbells in front of your thighs with palms facing the body.
- With a slight bend in your knees, push your hips back and slowly slide weights down your legs toward the floor while keeping your spine long and your abs tight.
- Push through the heels to return to standing.
- Continue for 20 seconds (aim for 10 reps).
Squatting with proper form can help train your legs to move correctly when you’re skiing, too. When knees go too [when you’re skiing], your upper leg bone (your femur) puts stress onto your knee joint, and if you’re in this position during impact you stress your ACL. The impact might mean hitting a branch or a full-on tumble—either way, you reduce your injury risk if you’re keeping good form.
- Start standing with feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Sit your butt back into a squat, without letting your knees go past your toes. Make sure your weight is in your heels, and keep your chest up.
- Continue for 20 seconds.
Skiing is a lateral weight-shifting motion, and most of our daily activities and gym exercises fail to work on this side-to-side motion.
- Starting at the left of your space, squat slightly then jump to the right as far as you can, leading with and landing on your right foot. Swing your arms across your body to help you jump further.
- Land on your right foot and try not to touch your left foot down as you bend your knee (almost into a mini squat).
- Jump back across the left to land on your left foot. Try to jump as far and as fast as you can while staying balanced.
- Continue for 20 seconds.
- Stand feet shoulder-width apart. Jump your left leg forward and your right leg back and land in a lunge position.
- Jump up and switch your legs in midair so that you land in a lunge with your right leg in front.
- Continue jumping back and forth, pausing as little as possible, for 20 seconds.
Static Front Raises
This exercise also forces you to stabilize your core to maintain your balance as you bend your knees.
- Place the resistance band directly under one foot and grasp one end in each of your hands
- Step the foot that is not standing on the resistance band into a lunge
- When you lower into a lunge position with your back knee hovering over the floor, keep your arms straight, and raise them up to shoulder high in a front raise.
- Return to a standing position with your resistance band under the front foot and arms back at your side
- Option to keep the arms rested at your sides
A strong core will make it easier for your whole body to [move together] when you are making those amazing slalom turns.
- Start with your forearms and knees on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Elbows should be stacked underneath the shoulders, your forearms straight in front of you on the ground.
- Lift your knees off the ground and push your feet back to bring your body to full extension, so your body creates one long line.
- Keep your core tight and your hips lifted, and keep your neck in line with your spine.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
Side planks are another way to work on that core strength.
- Lie on your left side, your right foot stacked over your left foot.
- Using your left forearm, lift your upper body off the floor so your body is in one straight line. Your left elbow should be stacked below your left shoulder, your left forearm straight in front of you. Raise your right arm towards the sky. Don’t let your hips drop!
- Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Take a breather, then repeat 3x
These exercises will help strengthen the lower-body muscles that you use most when skiing.
In addition to these exercises, it is recommended that you practice aerobic exercises like running or biking to improve your cardiorespiratory endurance. The short bursts of intense activity alternating with low-intensity activity recovery are beneficial for steep inclines.