Exercises to Help You Prepare for Skiing & Snowboarding

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Whether you’re tired of taking half days and feeling sore at the beginning of the season, or you’re looking to take your skiing or snowboarding to the next level, working out off of the hill can help.

Of course, nothing will improve your skiing and snowboarding like hitting the slopes on a regular basis. But training your body at home will help you gain the strength and endurance to make the most of your days on the mountain, and it’ll help prevent injuries. We’ve compiled a list of 10 exercises do to at home or in the gym that will help you prepare for the season and take your skills up a notch. 

skiing winter sports pixabay
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay/woodypino)

What to Work On

In order to exercise for skiing and snowboarding, let’s first talk about what types of training will benefit your skiing and snowboarding. 

Strength: Strengthening the areas that you use the most while skiing and boarding such as the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and hips 

Balance: Working your core and hips to improve your balance and stability and decrease the risk of injuring your knees

Endurance: Working on your cardiovascular fitness and strength endurance so you can take run after run without breaking or ending the day early 

When to Train

Ideally, you’ll keep your fitness level up year-round. However, if you’re just looking to get in shape for ski season, we recommend you start this plan six to eight weeks before hitting the slopes. You should complete these exercises a couple of times each week in addition to 30 minutes of cardio two to three times per week. You may also want to incorporate some yoga to improve your flexibility. 

Safety While Training

  • Start small and modify the exercises as needed. You can always add more sets, resistance, or even weights to make the exercises more difficult. 
  • Always warm-up and stretch before exercising. 
  • Listen to your body. If you’re hurting, modify or skip that exercise. 
  • Don’t forget to breathe, rest when you need to, and drink plenty of water. 

READ MORE: Snowboarding vs. Skiing: What Are The Differences?

Exercises

Complete this list all the way through two to four times, increasing as you get stronger.

Leg Strength

  1. Squats

Start in an athletic stance with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself into a squat: thighs parallel to the ground, knees behind your toes, weight in your heels, and chest up. Keep your core tight. Then, stand back up and do it again. Repeat this exercise 10-20 times. You can add weights to make it more difficult.

squats exercise pixabay
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay/happyveganfit)
  1. Lunges

Start in an athletic stance and step one foot forward into a lunge. Your front leg should be bent at 90 degrees, but your front knee should not go past your toes. Your back knee should be hovering just above the ground behind you. Using your front leg, push your body back into a standing position. Repeat this motion, alternating your legs each time until you’ve done 10-20 reps on each leg. You can add weights to make this exercise more difficult. 

  1. Jumping Squats

Start in a squat position as described above. Shift your weight to the balls of your toes and jump off the ground into the air, extending your legs. Land softly back in the squat position. Keep your core tight and don’t let your knees go over your toes. Repeat this exercise 10-20 times. 

  1. Jumping Lunges

Start in a lunge as described above. Then, jump up and switch your legs in the air, landing back in a lunge position but with the other leg in front. Keep your core tight and don’t let your front knee go past your toes. Repeat this 10-20 times on each leg. 

  1. Glute Bridges

Lie on your back on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and knees bent. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders make a straight line. Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight. Then, lower your hips back down, hovering just above the ground before lifting them again. Repeat this exercise 20-30 times. 

  1. Dumbell Deadlifts

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold your dumbbells in your hands, hanging in front of your thighs with your palms toward your legs. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward slowly sliding your weights along your legs down to the floor (or as far as you can reach). Pushing through your heels, lift yourself back up to a standing position and squeeze your glutes. Repeat this motion for 10 reps, keeping your core tight. Start light and increase your dumbbell weight as the exercise gets easier. 

Core & Balance

  1. Russian Twists 

Sit on the ground with your knees bent, leaning back slightly. Start without a weight in your hands and work up to holding a dumbbell. Engage your core and rotate your upper body as far to one side as you can, touching your hands (or weight) to the ground. Then rotate your upper body as far as you can to the other side, touching your hands (or weight) to the ground. Repeat this exercise 10-20 times in each direction. 

  1. Ski Jumps

Start standing on your left foot. Squat slightly and hop as far as you can directly to your right, leading with and landing on your right foot. Soften the impact of the jump by bending your right leg slightly as you land. Try not to touch your left foot to the ground as you land and immediately jump back the other way, landing on your left leg in the same slightly squatted position. Jump back and forth 10-20 times in each direction, keeping your core tight to maintain your balance as you go. 

  1. Plank

Start in a push-up position with your forearms flat on the ground and elbows directly under your shoulders. Keep your back flat, your core tight, and your neck in line with your spine. Hold this position for 30 seconds. You can increase the length of this exercise as you get stronger. 

plank exercise pixabay
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay/tacofleur)
  1. Side Plank

Lie on the ground on one of your sides. Lift your hips and upper body off the ground so your body makes one straight line. The forearm your weight is on should be flat on the ground with your elbow under your shoulder. Your feet should be stacked one on top of the other. Don’t let your hips drop, and hold this position for 30 seconds. Then, switch to the other side and repeat. Increase the length of your hold as you get stronger. For an extra challenge, reach your free hand toward the sky then rotate your torso toward the ground and reach your free hand under you then back up to the sky, rotating back to the original position. 

  1. Toe Taps

Lie on your back on the ground and put your hands under you. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle and lift your legs off the ground so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Maintaining your bent-leg position, lower one foot and tap the ground, then bring it back up to your starting position. Repeat this 10-20 times on each side.

By Christa Huddleston

READ MORE: 9 Best Apps For Skiing and Snowboarding

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exercises to help you prepare for skiing and snowboarding