Have you already started your skiing exercises for the upcoming winter season?
Us neither… Unless you count the amount of hot chocolate we’ve had to drink. In that case, we’re ready to go.
All joking aside, skiing will give your legs, core, and (we’ll be honest) entire body a good workout. With that in mind, it’s quite helpful and useful to prepare your body with some pre-ski exercises so that you’re ready for the ski season.
Skiing is hard work. Sure it’s fun, but it’s incredibly taxing on your body. Your knees have to bear the brunt of all those shocks, dips, and bumps on the course. Your legs put in extra effort turning, stopping, and supporting the weight of the boots and skis. And your core is constantly balancing your body as you make your way down the slope.
That’s a lot of work. You need simple ski exercises to do at home to train yourself for it all.
In fact, let us throw some numbers at you.
According to HealthStatus.com, an activity counter, downhill skiing can burn as much as 366 calories every half hour for an average man. That’s higher than jogging or a session on an elliptical trainer. In short, there are many health benefits of skiing and like any sport or exercise, it will be easier if you’ve trained your body for it.
Skiing Carries Many Health Benefits
Skiing is a full body workout that involves every muscle group. Your legs, your abs, and your core and back experience the most strain during a day of skiing. You also could lose up to 5 pounds in a single day, tighten and tone your tummy, and relieve depression as well. It’s a pretty beneficial sport to get into. You see yet how crucial a ski exercise can be?
To give you another picture of just how much work your body does during skiing, on an average day, you probably burn off around 2000 calories. That’s just existing, normal walking around, just maintaining your body’s rhythm.
If you were to ski a normal 6 hour day, you could burn as much as 3000 calories just during your ski session. That’s not even taking into account the rest of your day. That’s in 6 hours!
If you’re hearing us loud and clear, your body needs training and preparation to get ready to ski.
So, we’re here to help you out with some ski exercises to do at home to train the parts of your body you need working the hardest. And the best part is that you don’t need any gym membership. You can work all these exercises at home, with the stuff you already have lying around.
We’ll link to some videos to help you get the right form (the most important part of any skiing exercise at home) and we’ll even talk about some stretches to work out those kinks in your muscles.
Let’s get right into it.
Ski Exercises for Legs
The first and most important part of your training will be to prepare your legs. They will be the main force driving you onwards on the slopes.
After a full day, your legs will be sore, no matter how hard you train. But if you’re prepared, your recovery time will be much quicker.
Skiing will be brutal on your quads. Your quads will bear the weight of entire body, so you need to train them to withstand the force. Let’s look at a couple skiing exercises for legs you can do at home that will strengthen and condition your quads. These are skiing exercises for beginners, but you can modify with added weights if you’re more advanced.
Starting easy, let’s use quad clenches to start to activate those big leg muscles.
Start by lying down on the ground, or on your bed. This is a great exercise, by the way, if you’ve got knee pain. It doesn’t hamper your ability to train other parts of your leg.
With your feet straight out, point your toes straight up to the sky and push your knee down into the bed.
You should hold this for a period of three seconds for 5 reps. Then you can alternate to the other leg. This should squeeze your quads, starting to strengthen these muscles, loosening kinks, and getting the blood pumping throughout your lower extremities.
It’s not the best looking video in the world, we admit, but the above clip shows you how to do quad clenches correctly without putting pressure on your knees.
Now let’s take this up a notch. You’re going to feel the burn from this one, we guarantee it. But the results are worth it.
Leaning your back against a wall, lower your body so that your knees are directly over your toes, in a 90 degree bend. You should basically look like you are sitting on an invisible chair.
Now, with your back straight, looking forward, hold this position for at least a minute. Work up to three minutes if you can. This is called an isometric exercise. By holding this one position, you’re forcing your quads to work harder and develop fuller tissues.
Check out the video if you’re not quite sure how to get into position properly.
If you find that wall sits are becoming too easy and you want to try something harder, give pistol squats a go.
Pistol squats are basically lowering yourself to the ground using just one leg at a time, one leg outstretched in front of you for balance. By isolating the one leg, you’re radically developing those muscles.
This is ideal for long-term skiers who plan on whole skiing expeditions, lasting a week or more.
Follow the instructions in the video which shows how you can work up to doing pistol squats using similar exercises.
Your ankles will actually require an exceptional strength that you may not even be aware that you need. Your power to turn and manoeuvre your skis comes from your ankle strength. So, for better control on the slopes, try these ankle training techniques.
Quick and light, that’s the key for this movement.
You’re training your ankles to have quick reflex times. But activating the fast twitch fibres in your ankles, you’ll have turning ability on the hill when you need it the most.
Starting out with one leg in front, and one behind, start to alternate your feet with short, punctuated jumps. Here’s a quick demonstration:
You should be landing on the balls of your feet, keeping your movements quick, and your landing time as short as possible.
Try a rep of 15 jumps with a quick rest between reps. For better control, try what the video suggests; try hopping over a cone or a particular point on the ground. It will force your body to maintain balance while doing this movement.
This ski exercise feels silly, but it does a world of good. It can actually prevent a nasty spill, strain, or even break while you’re skiing.
It’s pretty simple. Simply walk across the floor, holding your weight on your heels. Don’t allow your toes to touch the ground. You know, like you used to when you were a kid.
This activates different parts of your ankle that might not regularly get used. Toughen up this part, and take the time to do this really well. It will inhibit or expand your ability on the slope.
If you shortcut on this, you might regret it later with injuries or soreness that you could have prevented.
Exercises for Calves
Another key part of your training should be to focus on your calves. I know that you might not have been blessed genetically with the most beautiful calf muscles (who is?), but you should still work on them to develop a resistance to soreness.
This might seem basic exercise, but as an exercise for skiing it’s going to help you in the long run.
Take a free weight, a thick book, or any other little height you can stand on that sits flat on the ground. Stand on the little step with your toes on and heel off the weight.
Raise your body up on your tip toes and hold for a few seconds. Then lower yourself down past horizontal to touch your heels to the ground.
Repeat this exercise a few times, holding weights if you need to amplify the resistance on your calves. This isolates this muscle, forcing it to stretch and lift your whole body’s weight.
While we don’t have a video for this exercise, it’s not hard to do. Find a slope or an incline around you that you can use. The stepper the incline, the more of challenge it will be to perform this exercise with the proper form. Ski exercises to do at home can both inside and outside.
Run up the slope, keeping your body as vertical as possible. This will put pressure on your calves to do the work to balance your body and power you up the hill.
As a further upgrade to this exercise, try running up the hill backwards. Stepping backwards exercises a different part of your lower leg, combining the calf with the shin muscles.
Skiing Exercises for Abs/Core
While your legs will certainly feel the burn of a hard day of skiing, it’s your abs and core muscles that will prolong you out there.
If you want to last all day long, if you want to remain in good condition until the very last run, you absolutely need excellent core muscles. With your core, you twist and turn, you keep yourself balanced on the slopes, and provide extra power through your entire run.
Let’s take a look at some progression exercises that you can do to train your core and abs before your holiday to support your skiing efforts. We’ll start with ski exercises for beginners and progress upwards from there.
If you’re just starting out, or if you’re getting back into the sport, you should start with some simple crunches.
This is one of the most common exercises that are done incorrectly. To make sure you’re getting the most out of the exercise, make sure it is done with proper form.
Here’s a great video from Livestrong that shows you to do crunches correctly.
Lying on your back, with your legs slightly bent, put your hands behind your head. Keeping your head up, and not pulling it in, raise your upper body up enough to feel a “crunch” (tightening) in your abs. Hold for one second before lowering down again. It’s important that your power comes from your abs, and not from your hands pulling your head forward. You should be able to start with 8-10 reps before you have a break.
Intermediate: Flutter Kicks
As you move forward to something more advanced, you can challenge yourself with these kicks.
Lying on your back again, stretch your legs out straight while keeping your hands, palm down, on the floor beside you. You could also, like the video shows, put your hands underneath your bum to give you a little lift.
Slightly elevate your legs and begin to give little kicks in the air. Your legs should be straight with no bend in your knees, if maybe just slightly bent.
Certainly keep your legs stretched out and don’t be tempted to draw them into your body. If your head starts to lift, that’s fine, but do your best to maintain a neutral position.
Expert: V Crunches
As you start to progress in your ab training, you can move on to this nasty little exercise. It’s much more difficult than a standard crunch, and should really push you to build an excellent core.
Try and work up to these V crunches to develop a core that will sustain you for an entire day on the hill.
As you lay down on the ground, lift your hands and legs up together to form a V shape. This will work both your upper and lower abs at the same time.
Try to lower your legs almost all the way. But don’t let them hit the ground because that will disengage you’re ab muscles. Follow the video to get perfect form to achieve optimal results on this exercise.
Your path to core muscle training is more than just getting sexy ab muscles that you might be starting to develop.
You need to work your entire core, the band of muscles that support and control your entire body. That includes along the sides (your obliques) and your lower back muscles.
Mountain climbers are a great way to build up a fast rate while also working on your entire core muscle group.
With your body in the push-up position, start to lift and bring forward one leg at a time. Then as you come down, bring your other leg forward, almost like a leaping motion.
Keep your hands flat on the ground and you will feel your pulse increase as you target your core muscles.
To supplement these exercises, we’ve also included planks. Remember us talking isometric exercises? This is one of the most effective examples of that exercise.
In the push-up position, or with your elbows on the ground, try to maintain a plank position as long as you can.
Holding your back straight and your stomach in, keep your body straight and unmoving for up to 90 seconds at time. This will engage muscles you might not have known you even had.
Much like crunches and sit ups, planks are quite often done incorrectly, check out the video above to make sure you’re doing your planks right.
Although we’re big on preparation for your skiing season, we also want you to remain healthy for the whole season.
And there’s nothing like a good stretch after a day on the slopes. You’ll work out kinks and maintain limber muscles after a rigorous, strenuous day outdoors.
Don’t worry about exactly matching the flexibility of the videos. This is all about engaging and stretching muscles to your level of ability. It’s the form that counts here.
Stretching is an important part of exercise, both before and after your workout to help prevent injury and help you get the most out of your body. Check out these stretches to help your muscles recover after a tough session on the slopes.
We’re not claiming to be yoga experts, in fact quite the opposite, so follow the videos for precision and guidance on how to do the stretches correctly.
Lunges are excellent for opening up your hips, and bringing alignment to your entire lower body and will help to stretch out your tired hips and quads, while your core engages to maintain your balance.
If you want to up the game a bit, try this variation of a lunge called a crescent lunge. This is proper yoga territory!
One of the most basic stretches, quad stretches are great both before and after skiing.
We’ve seen how important your quads are for skiing, so stretching them out will help your recovery.
Once again, you’re not doing yourself any favours by doing this incorrectly, so check out these useful tips.
Once again, we’re upping the level and going full yoga. This stretch just feels great after a hard days’ skiing. As you hold a wide stance, lower your body as deep as you can look between your legs. Holding your arms in a loose folded position, gently swing back and forth.
This motion will again stretch out your quads, calves and ankles, will releasing the pressure of a hard day outdoors. You should feel much more open and loose after performing this for a few minutes.
Nothing too strenuous for our last stretch. It looks like it’s going to be a bit of work when you see the set-up in the video, but it’s nice and simple and wonderful for your tired and worn-out core muscles.
If you must, modify the exercise to your level of mobility, but holding this stretch will loosen your thighs, your back, and your glutes. It’s just a relaxing way to keep your body limber and loose after being tight all day.
We love the sport of skiing, but it’s tough to enjoy if your body isn’t prepared for the rigours it will encounter.
Take the time to train for this sport, because what you put in is what you’ll get out of it.
That’s all for today, but if you’re interested in more fitness related content then you can check out our sister site Tubby Gorilla.