Except for an intrepid few, the ski season in the northern hemisphere is over, and the long wait until next year’s snow starts to fall has begun. If you’re lucky, you spent so many days on the slopes this winter that you have indestructible legs of steel. But now that the sun is shining and the snow is melting faster every day, it’s all too easy to let that hard-earned strength melt away with it. So, what better time to talk about some off-season exercises and personal training to keep your body ski-ready? Don’t worry, if you’re like me, and only managed to get into the mountains for a few days this season, this will help you GET ready (as opposed to staying ready) for what I hope will be a much more active winter season next year.
The frustrating truth is that the best exercise you can do to get in shape for skiing is skiing itself. There just aren’t that many activities that replicate the movements and the stresses that skiing puts your body through. But just because that’s true, it doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a variety of non-skiing exercises. Putting in work at the gym, at the park, or on the bike throughout the Summer will help you to avoid injuries and make the most of your time in the mountains when the snow starts to fall again. If you’re fit and strong before you even snap into your bindings next season, you can spend less time regaining your legs and lungs, and more time perfecting those carving turns or going for that 360 you’ve been dreaming about for years.
So, let’s keep it simple. There are two goals – Improve stamina, and improve strength.
We’ll start with stamina, because improving stamina may not be easy, but it is simple. For those that don’t have time to spend hours each week in the gym, try working these small changes into your routine.
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs up to your office every morning.
- Avoid moving walkways at the airport or at the mall.
- Don’t worry about finding that perfect parking spot at the grocery store. Take one of the empty ones towards the outer reaches of the lot and enjoy those extra steps.
It may not seem like much, but every little bit helps. So if this is all you have time for, don’t fret, but do be sure to take advantage of the exercise opportunities that everyday life throws your way.
Obviously, if you’re looking for bigger and faster stamina improvements you’ll need to set aside time each day for more strenuous cardiovascular activities. While the weather is good, go for a daily run. Pull that bike out of the garage and take a ride around the neighborhood a few times a week. Set aside an hour of your weekend at the lake for a real swim that gets your heart pumping. A strict regimen of these types of exercises is obviously good for more than just your performance on the slopes, and the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out. So start with workouts that bring you to the edge of your comfort zone, and gradually push your comfort zone as we get closer and closer to the winter season.
Improving strength can be a bit trickier. Especially because, while all-around strength will help you be a better skier, strengthening your legs and core should be priorities. For your legs, work specifically on your quads (thighs), glutes (butt), and stabilizing muscles around your knee and hip joints. And with your core, work your abdominals, but even more importantly, your lower back.
All of the stamina exercises mentioned above double as simple ways to improve leg and core strength, too, with biking being the most effective for your legs and swimming the most effective for your core. Add some hill or stair climbs into your runs to work your legs even harder. Remember, uphill works your glutes and downhill works your quads. And finally, start doing yoga as often as you can. Yoga is the perfect counterbalance for the other exercise you do. It keeps your muscles loose and helps you work through any soreness or nagging pain that running, biking, or swimming has uncovered. Even more importantly for your ski preparation, yoga is an excellent way to strengthen your abs, your back, and the stabilizer muscles that surround your hips and knees (not to mention your ankles, wrists, and shoulders too).
For the casual skier, a consistent regimen of running, biking, swimming, and yoga throughout the Summer and Fall will have you in great shape – more than ready to take on the steeps and deeps when winter finally returns. But, if you’re looking to take it to another level next year, then add a handful of these following exercises to your daily routine.
These can be done with or without added weight.
Exercises for Personal Training
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and get as low as you can while keeping your back straight.
A more explosive version of squats. Between each squat, jump as high as you can. Land and begin your next repetition in a single fluid motion,
Start with your feet hip-width apart. Stride one leg forward and lower your body until your back knee almost touches the ground. Then press through your heel to return to your starting position. Repeat on the other side.
A more explosive version of lunges. Between each lunge, jump as high as you can. Land and begin your next repetition in a single fluid motion.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step laterally with your right leg, keeping your left foot planted on the ground. Bend your right knee, bringing your body as low as you can, while your left leg straightens. Press yourself back into the starting position with your right leg. Repeat on the left. Keep your back straight the whole time.
Begin on all fours. Extend one leg at a 45-degree angle. Raise the leg above your hips while keeping it as straight as possible.