Winter is getting closer. This season attracts many people not only for the festive cinnamon beverages and Christmas markets decorated with fairy lights, but because it’s a perfect time to engage in sports activities. Skiing is on the essential winter sports list as it’s not only a fun activity but a full-body exercise that emphasizes balance, endurance, and core strength.
As people generally can only ski for a few months of the year, it may be challenging when you hit the slopes for the first time. After the hot summer days when your body enjoys swimming or running, your next perfect step is to prepare yourself for the ski season during autumn.
No matter how long you’ve practiced skiing, you should prepare your body before you put on your skis again. By doing this, you will increase the likelihood of enjoying an engaging activity safely while also reducing the risk of injury.
In this article, we’re offering you the six best exercises for skiing. Prepare yourself for the winter fitness challenge!
What is the best exercise to get fit for skiing?
The best exercises for skiing at home or at the gym need to increase strength in the muscles you use for skiing and the surrounding stabilizing muscles that help prevent imbalances and injuries.
Whether it’s a four-week ski fitness program or a 12-week ski training program, your job is to exercise your body using strength training and cardio training. Both of these options do not necessarily require you to purchase a gym membership.
Training at home is possible. If you feel pain during a workout, you should modify it or stop the exercise.
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There is not one but plenty of efficient exercises to get fit for skiing. You should pay attention to these six ski exercises at home for your future Winter Fitness Challenge.
- Walking lunge with rotation
- Squat reverse lunge
- Single-leg Romanian deadlifts
- Side plank with rotation
- Lateral ski jump
Wait for it, because starting promptly with these exercises is not beneficial. It’s essential for you to do a 10-minute warm-up activity before training. Warm-ups are crucial as they:
- Increase body temperature
- Increase blood supply to the muscles
- Help the muscles contract more easily
- Loosen up the joints
- Engage the brain with the body (1).
You can warm up effectively with dynamic movements such as cardio like walking or running, followed by dynamic stretching focusing on the specific joint and muscle groups you will be working. Now let’s get into the workout.
Walking Lunge with Rotation
This exercise engages your glutes, quads, abdominals, and hamstrings and can help improve your core rotational strength.
- Stand with your feet slightly apart.
- Step into a lunge position with one foot forward. Drop your back knee to a 90-degree angle to the ground. Keep the forward knee at a 90-degree angle too.
- Once you step forward, twist your body to the side in the direction of your lead knee. Keep your arms at chest height, slightly elevated from your sides.
- Take the next lunge step. Be careful not to rotate your knee.
- Repeat 10 times each side for a total of 20.
Squat Reverse Lunge
This exercise gets you into your ski stance and will fire up your quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Do a simple squat, as if sitting on a chair.
- Stand up and get into a reverse lunge with your knees at a 90-degree angle to the floor.
- Keep your knees in line with your feet.
- Return to the squat position and repeat with the other leg.
- Do 10 reps for each leg.
A funny name, but the effect is serious. Burpees target your arms, chest, and shoulders. They will also engage your abs and tax your leg muscles, hips, and gluteus maximus.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and your arms by your sides.
- Get into a squat position, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the floor in front of your feet.
- Kick your legs back into a high plank position, creating a straight line with your body. Lock your arms in place. Keep your head straight.
- Bend your elbows and bring your body toward the floor similar to a push-up. Keep your body straight and your core engaged.
- Rise back to the high plank position.
- Return to a squatting position. Jump your legs forward. When landing, make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
- Jump! Reach your arms up as you launch yourself toward the ceiling (4).
Read more: 10 Winter Exercise Ideas With Pros and Cons
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
Your legs will thank you for performing this exercise as this single-leg training will make your legs stronger while also enhancing your balance, which is essential for skiing.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Hold a dumbbell in your left hand.
- Bring your right arm out to your side for balance and ensure your core is engaged.
- Bend your right knee approximately 20 degrees to activate your hamstrings and glutes while you lift your left leg off the ground.
- Bring your torso towards the floor, keeping your gaze on the floor. Your left leg should extend behind you.
- Drive your hips back and reach the dumbbell in your left hand down towards your left foot until you feel enough of a stretch in the supporting leg.
- Return to the standing position, extending your hips until they are fully locked out.
- Complete 8-10 reps on each side per set.
Side Plank With Rotation
A side plank is excellent for your future skiing routine as it makes your core stronger as well as helps your upper body handle ski poles.
- Begin in a side plank position with your elbow stacked under your shoulder and feet stacked on top of one another.
- Lift your hips off the ground and reach your top arm up toward the ceiling as you hold a dumbbell.
- As you exhale, reach your extended arm underneath your body, bringing the dumbbell to tap your shoulder blade.
- Inhale and unwind your body to the starting position, lifting the dumbbell back up into the air.
- Complete 12 reps per side.
Lateral Ski Jump
The lateral ski jump should be a part of your ski workout plan as it works the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. This activity will prepare your body for some extreme skiing movements.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Shift your weight so that you’re balancing on one leg.
- Jump to the side, landing on the other leg. Land softly with your knee slightly bent.
- Then jump to the other side, landing on the other leg.
- Swing your arms as if you were a speed skater.
- Repeat 15 times on each side for a total of 30.
These exercises for skiing beginners and advanced skiers can be performed at home or at the gym. You can easily incorporate them into your 30-day ski workout performing each exercise two or three times a week, depending on your strength and endurance. Remember to warm up before you start and perform a cool-down activity at the end of each workout.
Working out under the supervision of a professional trainer is better as they can watch and advise you on your technique.
The correct technique can maximize the effectiveness of your workout and help you achieve the desired results faster. Using the correct technique is also good for avoiding injuries.
How do I train to get better at skiing?
Getting better at skiing comes with consistency, effective exercises, and proper technique. Here are four short steps to train to get better at skiing:
- Enhance muscle power. Strengthen the areas in your body that are engaged the most during skiing: the glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, and hips.
- Focus on balance. Engage your core and hip muscles, which will help stabilize the knees and other injury-prone areas.
- Build endurance. Condition your body so you can easily ski run after run for longer periods of time without needing to take long pauses between runs.
- Ramp up your cardio. Add cardio activities such as running, or biking to the aforementioned exercise plan to get your lungs and heart pumping.
How do you build strength for skiing?
If you want to build strength for skiing, you should consider performing the six top exercises this article mentions. A ski workout at the gym or at home can become more effective when you add weights to your training routine.
Check out the three best strength training exercises for skiing:
- Dumbbell rows
Deadlifts will help you build a stronger lower body. They also work your core and back muscles. You can perform them with a bar or two dumbbells, whichever option works for you.
How to perform a barbell deadlift:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with feet under a barbell.
- Bend your knees slightly, hinge at the hips, and lean your torso forward.
- Grab the bar with your palms facing toward your body.
- Push your feet into the floor and stand up tall, driving your legs forcefully throughout the movement. Make sure to keep your arms straight.
- Bring your hips forward, squeezing your glutes and abs at the top.
- Reverse the movement gently, bending your knees and pushing your butt back as you lower the weight back to the floor.
- Ensure that the bar is close to your body the whole time and maintain a flat back. This is one rep.
- Perform at least 8-10 repetitions.
This is one of the best muscle-building exercises. Throughout the movement, you should keep your spine slightly arched and neutral and don’t lock your knees.
How to perform dumbbell rows:
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend over at a 45-degree angle and take a deep breath.
- Pull the dumbbells up and back toward the sides of your hip. While lifting the dumbbells, keep your wrists from moving as much as possible.
- Lower the weights to the starting position in a controlled manner while you inhale.
- Remain bent over until all reps are completed.
This exercise is designed to boost the strength in your upper legs and glutes. You can perform it without any additional weight, although adding load to this workout can increase the intensity, which makes it beneficial for strength training.
How to perform step-ups:
- Stand with a step-bench directly in front of you. Hold a set of dumbbells in your hands at shoulder height.
- Step up onto the bench with the left foot, pressing through the heel to straighten your left leg.
- Change the foot by bringing your right foot to meet your left foot on the top of the step.
- Bend your left knee and step back down with the right foot.
- Bring your left foot down to meet the right foot on the ground.
There are more Winter Exercise Ideas that you can easily implement into your training regime. It is important to remember to perform everything in good form and shape. Your mind-muscle connection is also important.
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How can I get myself ski fit in 2 weeks?
There are three good ways to get yourself ski fit in two weeks: constant training, good rest, and a healthy diet.
Make your training a consistent habit. Commit to daily physical activities that engage your entire body. These could be the key exercises that are mentioned in this article, combined with cardio workouts. In addition, if you can afford a gym membership, you should consider using an elliptical interval machine. This provides a weight-bearing exercise and engages the entire body.
If you exercise on an elliptical trainer, most of the resistance is placed on your lower body and you only go through the motions with the upper handlebars (3). The elliptical machine is also great for beginners as it’s low-impact compared to typical running. It also mimics the same upper and lower body movements that are used in Nordic skiing.
A rest day involves taking a break from your workout routine. Rest days are essential as they give your body a chance to repair and recover, lowering the risk of injury(6).
This doesn’t mean that you should sit on your couch and watch movies the whole day. Engaging your body with the help of gentle movements, such as bicycling, walking, or yoga movements can help with recovery.
Getting fit in two weeks involves eating nutritious food. I’m not going to walk you through the detailed list of healthy foods, but I will highlight that choosing meals that are rich in carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and other vitamins and minerals is the top step for your getting-in-shape routine.
You should opt for:
- Lean protein foods
- Whole grains
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
Ensure that you drink enough water and reduce the amount of alcohol, sugary fizzy beverages, and processed food you consume.
Read more: The Top 6 Winter Green Salad Recipes
What are the benefits of skiing or snowboarding?
Skiing and snowboarding give your body a whole bunch of benefits.
Firstly, a study has shown that being physical active throgh forms such as skiing may be at lower risk of anxiety disorders (5). Being physically active is often associated with other healthy lifestyle habits, which can play a powerful preventative role in these disorders.
Skiing is a form of cardiovascular exercise that can support heart health and help reduce the risk of several diseases. (5).
And now the top benefit for people who are aiming to lose weight: one hour of downhill skiing can burn approximately 432 calories for a person who weighs 155 pounds (2). Calories Burned: Skiing is a fun means of shedding some extra pounds.
You’ll see the effects of skiing and snowboarding on your lower-body strength and muscle mass after just a day on the slopes as your calves, quads, and glutes will all be burning.
The Bottom Line
The ski season is getting closer. Whether you’re hitting the slopes for the first time or you’re an avid skier, it’s always a good idea to tone up your body beforehand.
In this article, you’ve learned about the six best exercises for skiing to prepare yourself for the winter fitness challenge. In addition to these effective activities, you are now also aware of the special strength-training exercises that can help you.
Skiing has many benefits that help you burn some extra calories, reduce the risk of anxiety disorders, and generally shape you up. It’s also an exciting activity that makes cold winter days much better.
It’s important not to forget that skiing is an extreme sport that requires correct form and technique. You can hone your skiing skills with a professional trainer. You should never ignore pain during movements and talk to your healthcare provider in case of injury or permanent pain.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Benefits of Warm-Up Exercises (2023, webmd.com)
- Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- Comparison of elliptical training, stationary cycling, treadmill walking and overground walking (2011, sciencedirect.com)
- How to Correctly Do a Burpee: Step-by-Step Instructions (2022, clevelandclinic.org)
- Physical Activity Is Associated With Lower Long-Term Incidence of Anxiety in a Population-Based, Large-Scale Study (2021, frontiersin.org)
- When and how to spend a rest day (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)