Staying Fit in the Off-Season – What every Skier should do

fitness training

If skiing is your passion, you likely feel a little emptiness when the snow melts from even the highest mountaintops and the landscape turns green. Even though you won’t be able to hit the slopes for a few months, you can use the off-months to keep your legs and core strong and flexible for that first trip down the mountain next winter. Add these exercises for skiers into your training routine to make a seamless transition from fall to winter.

Cardiovascular Training

Increasing your lung capacity and heart health gives you the endurance needed on the slopes to stay out long after the chairlift lines start to dwindle. Engage in regular cardio sessions a few times a week for 20 to 50 minutes. Pick an activity you love–swimming, biking, running, power walking–as long as it gets your heart rate up.

Hamstrings

Strong hamstring muscles (located on the backs of your thighs) are key for downhill skiing. Prevent common ACL and knee injuries by strengthening your hamstrings:

  • Straight leg dead lift: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding an 80 pound (adjust as necessary) barbell. Bend your knees slightly, then slowly bend at the hips and waist until the barbell touches the floor. Return to a standing position, keeping your back straight. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
  • Leg curl: Using the leg curl machine at the gym, set your resistance and slowly pull your feet up to meet your buttocks. Slowly release, keeping the resistance strong instead of just releasing your muscles.

Thighs

Strong quadriceps (the top and front of each leg) will give you the power necessary to keep good form as you sail down bumpy slopes and execute smooth turns. Work your thighs during the off-season:

Squat: Perform a basic squat, with or without weights, by placing your feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward. Lower your upper body down and back by bending your knees. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly lower. Return to starting position to complete one squat.

Single-leg squat: Place one leg about three feet in front of the other, resting the back leg on a bench or chair. Perform the squat exactly as the traditional squat, but focusing on the front leg to do the work.

Lunges: Lunges are similar to single-leg squats. Begin with your feet together, then step forward into a lunge. Let the front knee bend to about 90 degrees, then push back to starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg coming forward.

Core Exercises

Abdominal exercises for skiers build your core muscles to keep your body balanced and erect on the hill. Work your core with a variety of abdominal exercises:

  • Basic crunch: Lie on a mat with your feet firmly planted and your knees pointing at the ceiling. Place your hands behind your head, extending your elbows to each side. Slowly crunch up while contracting your abs to lift your shoulders off the mat. Hold for a second and repeat. Perform 10 to 20 repetitions.
  • Oblique crunch: Vary the basic crunch by lifting one shoulder to the opposite knee and repeating on the other side for one repetition.

Stretching

Stretching your muscles after working out is an important component of your routine. Stretching elongates and relaxes the muscles you worked so hard. Do not neglect stretching after you perform exercises for skiers. A few simple yoga stretches will release all the muscles in your legs and core:

  • Downward dog
  • Forward bend
  • Cobra
  • Bow
  • Happy Baby

Stay motivated toward your skiing goals during the off-season by focusing on keeping your body in its optimal skier physique.

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