Shape Up for Ski Season!

August 15, 2017 // by: Stefanie Van Der Kar

Ski and Snowboard season is right around the corner. You are probably thinking about getting your ski pass and whatever new gear you might need that didn’t make it through last season; BUT, what about getting in ski shape? We’ve created a list of our seven favorite exercises, compiled from numerous different workouts. This routine is not only about getting your legs ready for the ski season, but it also focuses on strengthening and preparing stabilizer muscles, core strength and stretching. This creates an overall well-being that’ll help prevent injuries and keep you out on the hill longer (especially on those powder days).

Before we get started, read some basic instructional tips for most of these moves:

**Always consult a physician before performing any sort of physical activity especially if you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.

  • Keep your chest and eyes up for squat jumps/leg squats.
  • Keep good form – if you need to modify, do so!
  • Add weights if you want! Feel free to grab some dumbbells to increase weight.

Here are the seven exercises we recommend:

  1. Balance Exercises – Make your own balance board or use a Bosu Ball. Stand on your Bosu Ball, squat down and see how easy it is with both feet on. If this feels too easy, try one foot at a time. Want to make it even a little harder? Try single-leg squats. These balance exercises will help both your balance and your core. You’ll feel these balance exercises in your quads, abs and calves for sure.
  2. Single-Leg Eccentric Squats – Eccentric movement increases tension on a muscle as it lengthens, creating more strength than just a normal squat. With or without weights, stand straight and hold your right leg out in front of you. Squat with your left leg while keeping your chest and eyes up. Count down 3 seconds and then pop back up. Go as low as you can. Do 15 reps on each side. Repeat if you need more.
  3. Wall sit with leg lifts – Stand up against a wall and slide your back down until you are at a 90-degree angle (or “sitting”). Lift your left leg up for 15 seconds and then switch to the right leg. Repeat switching legs every 15 seconds, and aim to continue this rotation for one minute without stopping. Go longer if you can, and keep track of your progress! Add a dumbbell to hold across your chest or hips for additional strengthening.
  4. Yoga – For a complete mind, body and spirit work out (and to stretch those achy muscles from all the squats), try yoga. If you don’t want to spend the money on a local class, there are plenty of at-home videos for you to try. Spend 20 minutes two times per week practicing, and we can almost guarantee that you will notice a difference after just a few weeks. Stretching prior to shredding on the mountain can reap huge rewards. If you are able to get up 20 minutes earlier than usual before heading to the hill, warming up your body can help prevent injuries, often caused by throwing cold muscles into a workout.
  5. Planks – Although we know we need to strengthen our legs, there is something to be said about having a strong core to get you through those powder stashes. Start on the ground in a push-up position, lower down to your forearms and hold for 15 seconds. Push back up to your push-up (or plank) position. Repeat this for one minute (or as long as you can), while switching from plank to forearm-plank every 15 seconds. If you are feeling good, incorporate a side plank: Start in plank, move to forearm-plank, and then open to the left or right while stacking your legs. If you are advanced, go ahead and place your free arm in the air and look up. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  6. Cardio – This sounds so simple. Cardio. Duh. Everyone knows we need this to keep our lungs pumping. But it’s super important and one of the most daunting exercises. Choose a training method (hiking, biking, swimming, power walking, etc.) and try to commit to three times a week. Depending on your fitness level, strive for 20-90 minutes a session. Talk while you walk – an aerobic base takes time but you should be able to converse during your training.
  7. Agility Training – To gain agility, balance, and explosive power, there are a few different ways you can practice building agility. If you are at home, place four X’s on the floor in a square. Start at the back of your square and jump forward with one foot to the right and hold. Now jump back. Now cross. Switch feet. Get the idea? This training encompasses it all. Want to get outside? Lace up your sneakers (preferably with proper tread) and go rock-hopping in a shallow stream. Or, get creative and pin your jumping points on a trail. Keep moving forward, left, right and back. Switch up your pace to get your heart rate up.

So, there they are: seven of the best exercises to get you ready for ski and snowboard season. Choose two or three of these to create your own 30-minute workout. Strive to get these done two to three times per week, and increase to four or five times weekly as your body progresses. If you are getting a late start in the training season (like most of us), have no fear. Start tomorrow. Or the next day. Anything you can do prior to the first time you put on your ski or boarding boots on will be beneficial. Train hard, ski hard. We hope to see you on the hill this winter.

Partial Sourcing: Ski