4 Workouts to Get You In Shape for Skiing

Though there's technically still time before the official start of winter, some ski resorts have been open for weeks. If you're an outdoor adventure addict, odds are your skiing or snowboarding off-season pursuits like hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, or even stand up paddleboarding and kayaking helped you maintain strength and endurance in the absence of the fluffy white stuff. But with ski season upon us, it's time to start adding some sport-specific exercises to your routine to kick-start your winter training plan. Give these workouts a try.

1. Pause Back Squats


Why? They help build explosive power, raw strength, and core strength.

Squats are one of the most universally valuable exercises you can do, especially if you're involved in a sport that requires leg strength. There are a number of squat variations, but pause back squats are great if you're looking to add difficultly to your routine.

Back squats

You'll need a barbell and a squat rack or a Smith machine. Always warm up with an empty barbell on your back after stretching your hip flexors, hamstrings, quads, and lower back. Add weight as you're comfortable doing so, and it's always a good idea to have a spotter.

Set the bar in the rack so it sits at collarbone height or slightly lower. Duck under the bar, center yourself, and position yourself so the bar rests on your trapezius muscles or slightly lower. Tighten your back and your core, then stand up to remove the bar from the rack. Take a step or two back, set your feet shoulder width apart, and turn your toes slightly out.

Take a deep breath in, look straight ahead, and keep your weight in your heels and mid-foot. Initiate the squat by pushing your hips back as if you're about to sit in a chair, lower down until your hip crease passes below your knee, keeping tension in your core and your chest high. Pause for two seconds, and breathe out as you stand up out of the squat as quickly as possible. Click here for video demonstration.

Suggested Rep Scheme: Five sets at increasing weight to warm up, then three sets of five reps at a challenging weight.

2. Reverse Lunges


Why? They isolate each leg to help develop balance, individual leg strength, and coordination.

If you're a skier, you know how important it is to be able to count on each leg to do its job when you're out on the slopes. Focusing on exercises that isolate one leg at a time can really make a difference. And in this case, we're making a traditional single-leg exercise a little tougher.

Reverse Lunges

To start the lunge, grab a dumbbell of your choice in each hand. Step backward with one leg, let your back knee lightly touch the floor, activate your glute and quad muscles on the front leg, and stand up, bringing your feet together. Repeat the movement with the opposite leg for one full repetition. Click here for a video demonstration.

Suggested Rep Scheme: Four sets of ten alternating (twenty total) with one dumbbell in each hand.

3. Lateral Box Jumps


Why? They build hip strength and explosive power in a different plane along with balance and coordination.

Outside of practicing turns on slopes, finding ways to develop lateral power and strength can be tough. But if you're a skier or snowboarder, you know how important that power and strength is. Though you can use lateral jumps over a line as one way to train side-to-side movement, lateral box jumps are a way to up the ante.

Box jumps

Start with a plyo box or other flat surface you can jump on to at an appropriate height, and stand next to it, facing forward. Keep your feet hip-width apart in a solid jumping stance. Bend your knees slightly and explode off the ground, landing on top of the box. Jump or step down on to the other side of the box, and execute the jump from the opposite direction. Once you've got a rhythm down, you can try this technique, which involves rebounding off the ground to link the jumps quickly.

Suggested Rep Scheme: Four sets of ten jumps.

4. Jump Squats


Why? They build explosive power and leg strength (noticing a theme?) as well as cardiovascular fitness.

You'll develop raw strength in your legs and core with pause back squats, but when it comes to building leg endurance, jump squats and our next exercise, wall ball shots, are perfect exercises to add to your routine. Pair weighted squats with jump squats and you'll have the leg endurance you need to stay on the slopes all day.

Jump squats

Just like pause back squats, you'll want to stand with your feet hip width apart and toes turned slightly out. Keep your weight in your heels and midfoot, lower down as if you're about to sit in a chair, but instead of pausing, as soon as your hip crease passes below your knee, explode and jump as high as you can. As soon as your feet hit the ground, start your next repetition. Do your best not to compromise your squat form for speed on this one.

Suggested Rep Scheme: Five sets of ten repetitions, rest as needed in between sets.

For more exercises that can help prepare you for ski season, take a look at this post.

Of course, any action taken based on the contents of this website is to be used solely at your own discretion, risk and liability. Always consult appropriate health professionals before proceeding with any action related to your health and exercise regimes While the information provided in this article is believed to be accurate, the author assumes no liability for the use or misuse of information.
Katie Levy
posted by
Katie Levy
Blogger at Adventure-Inspired
Katie Levy is a self-proclaimed outdoor adventure addict and loves sharing her passion for playing outside with anyone willing to listen. Though currently based in Philadelphia, spending her formative years in upstate New York and two years in Alaska fostered a lifelong passion for the outdoors. After 13 years as a competitive swimmer, she followed that passion on backpacking trips in the Adirondacks, on sub-zero winter hikes in the Chugach Mountains and up Mount Rainier. These days, if she's not out on the trail, you'll find working on her other passion, Adventure-Inspired, or getting her WOD on at CrossFit Love. Team Sierra bloggers receive promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post.
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