Sports-Specific Training: Skiing

Get ready to shred the slopes with these skiing-focused exercises.

Skiing is a physically intensive, full-body sport, which engages your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, back, arms and abs. Paying extra attention to the muscle groups you’ll rely on the most may give you the edge you need to tackle a more challenging slope.

Knees, ankles and upper limbs are the most injury-prone areas for skiers, but by strengthening those areas and improving your stability, you will likely reduce your risk. Before stepping into your gear for the season, try adding the following movements to your fitness routine to get in peak skiing shape:


Jump squats – Quadriceps

Jump squats will help you develop the muscles necessary for a strong push-off.

From a standing position, sink into a squat and swing your arms back. Hold for a moment, and then press through the balls of your feet and jump straight up as high as you can. Allow your arms to swing up and lift your body. As you land, absorb the impact by bending your legs. In one smooth motion, sink back into a squat and repeat. Keep your chest upright throughout the movement.

Calf raises – Calves

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly raise your heels off the ground and hold the position for a second. Lower yourself back down and repeat for your chosen number of repetitions. Increase the difficulty by adding weight.

Ice skater – Quadriceps, glutes, calves, hamstrings

Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your arms hanging loose at your sides. Hold your chest up and keep your knees unlocked throughout the movement. Jump to the left and reach toward your left foot with your right hand. Allow your right leg to cross behind your body and your arms to swing to provide balance. Then jump to your right. Alternate this movement for your chosen number of reps.

Planks and side planks – abdominals, chest, triceps, shoulders

Lie face down on an exercise mat. Lift your body off the floor, supporting your weight on your toes and forearms. Keep your back straight and your arms below your shoulders. Hold the position for as long as you can, then slowly lower yourself to the ground.

For a side plank, lie on your side and lift your body up with one forearm and the edge of your feet. Extend your top arm toward the ceiling and hold the position for as long as possible. Repeat on the opposite side.

Lateral hops – quadriceps, calves, obliques

Keeping your feet close to one another, hop back and forth over an imaginary (or real) line on the floor, while slightly rotating your hips and shoulders in opposite directions in a twisting motion. Complete this move for your chosen number of reps. To increase the difficulty of this exercise, add dumbbells or a jump rope.

Supermans – lower back, glutes, hamstrings

Lie face down on the floor with your arms extended in front of you, then raise your chest, arms and legs off the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds while focusing on squeezing your lower back. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor and repeat the movement for your chosen number of repetitions.

Romanian deadlift – hamstrings, glutes

Select the amount of weight you want to lift, either on a barbell or dumbbells. Keep your back flat, head up, and shoulders back throughout the movement. With a slight bend in your knees, lift the weight off the ground. Keep the bar close to your body and rise until you are fully standing and the weight is against your thighs. Hinge at the hips to lower the weight. Repeat for your chosen number of repetitions.


Elliptical – Cardiovascular conditioning

You need endurance to make your way down the long side of a mountain. The elliptical provides the perfect way to improve your cardiovascular conditioning while keeping the impact on your joints low. If you’re using an elliptical with an incline, choose a program that cycles through a range of ramp heights. Switching the incline throughout your workout will shift which muscles are exerting the most effort and make your training session better rounded.

Mobility and Flexibility

Lying knee roll-over stretch – back, obliques, glutes

Lie on your back with your arms extended out to your sides. Bring your knees together and let them fall to one side of your body. Keep your back pressed against the ground and hold this position for one minute. Slowly move your knees to the opposite site and repeat the stretch.

Foam roller on legs – quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves

Sit on an exercise mat and position a foam roller or set of therapy balls beneath your thighs. Slowly roll your leg over the foam to heat and hydrate muscles and spend up to 30 seconds and pay special attention to any trigger points. Repeat the rolling motion on your opposite leg, your glutes, quadriceps and calves.

Integrate these movements into your regular fitness routine now and you’ll be more prepared to hit the slopes during peak season.