Shredding before the shred: 5 best exercises for ski fitness

Story courtesy Ski Big 3
By: Jake Watson
Photo Credit: Reuben Krabbe

Whether you’re hitting cruisy groomer runs or extreme backcountry adventures, skiing and snowboarding demand considerable fitness, strength and stability from your legs and core.

But often our bodies don’t get the pre-season tune-up they need to ensure we’re prepared for snow season.

Having previously spent up to 260 days on the snow in a calendar year, Austin Miller, Banff Ski School Supervisor and Level 4 Ski Instructor, says those first few days back on the slopes can still be hard on his body.

“Being fit, strong and flexible are key elements to skiing well all season long. Skiing is so much fun and should be enjoyed, but being out of shape can quickly take the fun out of it,” Austin says.

“My advice is to get out there early and take it easy, find your ski legs and stretch – don’t let yourself get tight! Stretching is vital to enjoying the whole season. If you are feeling a little unprepared with your fitness level, work on your legs and core.”

Here are 5 leg-burning, core-working exercises to help you hit the slopes with ease!

Are you new to resistance exercises or have not exercised regularly for 6 weeks? Follow the Safe repetition options.

Or are you a more seasoned fitness fan who has exercised 2-3 times a week for at least 6 weeks? Try the Strong rep suggestions.

 

EXERCISE 1: Side Lunge

A variation on the traditional lunge, the side lunge provides a sport-specific movement to condition and strengthen the muscular structures across your knees and hips that are used to initiate and drive through turns.

Side Lunge exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

Side Lunge exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

(Safe: 2 sets of 10 reps. Strong: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps)

  • Stand upright with your arms by your side.
  • Take a step to one side, lowering your body down and leaning your torso slightly forward with your weight on your outside leg.
  • Keep your trailing leg straight.
  • Push off your outside foot to return to the start position.
  • Complete all repetitions on one side before switching to the other side.

 

EXERCISE 2: Dead Bug

This exercise looks exactly how it sounds! This movement challenges the anterior chain of muscles. These muscles run across the front of your body and assist with stabilisation, ensuring that your centre of gravity remains over your skis or snowboard.

Dead Bug exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

Dead Bug exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

(Safe: 2 sets of 8-10 reps. Strong: 3 sets of 10 reps)

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet raised, and arms straight up over your chest.
  • Lower one leg and the opposite arm straight down toward the floor. Do not allow your foot or arm to touch the floor. Keep the other leg and arm steady.
  • Raise your leg and arm back to the upright position. Repeat with the opposite leg and arm.
  • Alternate sides with each rep.

 

EXERCISE 3: Alternating Bridge

With a similar goal as the Dead Bug, the Alternating Bridge activates your posterior stabiliser muscles and releases the large muscle structures throughout the hip and core. This activates and stabilises your body while challenging it by reducing its base of support.

Alternating Bridge exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

Alternating Bridge exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

(Safe: 2 sets of 8-10 reps. Strong: 3 sets of 10 reps)

  • Support your body off the floor, resting on your hands and knees.
  • Raise one arm and the opposite leg straight up and about 18 inches off the floor.
  • Hold briefly, then lower back to the floor. Repeat with the other arm and opposite leg.
  • Alternate sides with each rep.

 

EXERCISE 4: BOSU Ball Squat

Challenge your stability throughout this movement! With your feet based on an unstable surface and the additional challenge of lowering your body weight in a squat, stabilisers within your ankles, knees and hips work hard to maintain your balance.

BOSU Ball Squat exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

BOSU Ball Squat exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

(Safe: 2 sets of 12 reps. Strong: 3 sets of 15 reps)

  • Stand upright on the BOSU Ball with arms by your sides.
  • Lower your body toward the floor, bending at the hips and knees, keeping your back flat.
  • Push through your heel to return up to the start position.
  • Want a challenge? Try to pause in the squat!

 

EXERCISE 5: Hip Thruster

The Hip Thruster is all about building power. When done correctly, this movement isolates your gluteal muscle group. Your glutes help to keep your hips and knees locked and loaded on the slopes.

Hip Thruster exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

Hip Thruster exercise. Image Copyright © Physiotec

(Safe: 2 sets of 10 reps. Strong: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps)

  • Lie with your shoulders and head on a bench, knees bent, feet flat and hips low, holding a barbell across your midsection.
  • Raise your hips up, making a straight line with your body from your shoulder to your knees.
  • Lower back to the start position and repeat.

 

We hope these exercises help you hit the slopes in great shape! You can also print out your own personal fitness program.

 

The original story can be viewed here: https://www.skibig3.com/blog/5-best-exercises-ski-fitness/