5 Ski Conditioning Workouts For The Offseason

By:    Published: October 12, 2011

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The thought of snow covered mountains and freshly groomed runs may seem like a decade away, but in reality, it's a lot closer than you think. While most workouts put on emphasis on getting people that perfect beach body, this workout guide will focus on that time of year when people need to be in shape to hit the slopes. Skiing is a great workout, but stepping on the slopes with no preparation can turn that beautiful day of sunshine and fresh powder into a nightmare. These five workouts are intended to make it feel like you've been skiing all season and prevent any soreness you would usually feel after your first day. Legs, core and endurance are the focus of this workout to ensure you have enough stamina and strength for the ski season.

Stair Training

Skiing is not as simple as pointing two fiberglass sticks down a hill and going; it's a complete cardio workout. Stair training is the perfect exercise to get you in shape for skiing because it combines leg strength and cardio endurance.

  1. Find a decent platform of stairs with a good number of steps to climb that you have easy access to. Most high school football bleachers will do.
  2. Run up the stairs at a comfortable pace, making sure to touch every step to help with speed and agility.
  3. Once at the top, proceed to walk down the stairs.

Continue this workout for at least 15 minutes with three short breaks in between. Increase the duration of your stair training each week in order to build cardio endurance and leg strength.

Mountain Climbers

The core goes hand in hand with skiing because it keeps the body upright and stable. A strong core equates to a balanced skier. Mountain climbers are a dynamic workout that focuses on core and stamina.

  1. Start in a push-up position.
  2. Bring the left knee up to the chest while maintaining the starting push -up position with the right leg extended.
  3. Once the left knee is up towards the chest, bring it back down to the starting position, and repeat the same motion with your right knee.
  4. Continue to alternate the legs in a quick continuous motion. Remember, when one leg is bent, the other should be extended.

Start with three, 30 second intervals and continue to increase the duration of the exercise week after week.

Single Legged Squats

Skiing requires strong leg muscles in order to carve through fresh tracks and avoid obstacles or other skiers. There are many times when one leg supports the majority of your weight while skiing. Single leg squats will help simulate the weight and force that skiing puts on each individual leg.

  1. Find a sturdy box or a bench (preferably an exercise bench) that's as tall as your knees. Stand on the bench and hold your arms in front of you for balance. Slightly lift your left foot off the bench.
  2. Slowly bend your right knee towards a squatting position, lowering your left foot towards the ground. When squatting, make sure to keep shoulders and your back straight to avoid bending forward.
  3. Once your left heel touches the ground, slowly rise up to the starting position.
  4. Continue steps 1-to-3 for 10 repetitions, then switch to the left leg and repeat 10 more repetitions.

This workout can be done in three sets of 10 repetitions on each leg, or however many you feel comfortable with.

Bicycle Crunches

Whether it's freestyle skiing or just cruising down the hill, side-to-side core stability will help make the ride smoother. Bicycle crunches help strengthen the core in a motion that correlates with skiers shifting their weight from side to side. These crunches will dramatically help the core's range of strength and motion.

  1. Start by lying down, placing your hands on the back of your head. Keep your feet in the air and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Move the right elbow, while still keeping your hands on your head, toward the left knee in a crunching position. At this time the left elbow should be even with the head and the right knee should be extended and locked.
  3. Perform the same motion with the left elbow and right knee.
  4. Alternate from left to right in a slow but continual motion.

Start with three, 30 second intervals and continue to increase the exercise duration week after week.

Wall Sits

A person will begin to lose proper skiing form as the day goes on due to exhaustion. An isometric, static workout will strengthen the quadriceps in order to help keep correct form throughout the day.

  1. Find a flat wall and lean up against it.
  2. Bend the knees in a 90 degree angle as if there is a chair to sit on. Make sure that the back is flat against the wall while the knees are bent.
  3. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.

Begin with three 30 second intervals and continue to increase the duration of the exercise week after week.

Remember that these workouts only will help if there is a structured plan and enough time set aside before the ski season begins. Try starting your workout routine at least six weeks before the season begins in order to get into proper shape. These workouts should help with making that first day of the season feel more enjoyable and less painful.

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