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Pre-Ski Fitness Training

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Legs and Core exercises getting you ready to hit the slopes in top form!

Ski holidays for most people come around once or twice a year and for me they were the best holidays ever! In order to hit the slopes running and ensure you get the most out of your ski lessons, and time on snow, the following ski fitness guidelines will help to prepare you well and build up your strength.

When thinking about which muscle groups to train for skiing, the obvious ones that spring to mind are those in the legs. Yet it is so important to train the core and the upper body too, as after all skiing uses the whole body. So the best approach to a ski fitness training programme is with a whole body workout, which incorporates cardiovascular training as well as weight training.

To go into more detail, the legs and their incorporating muscle groups (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluts, hip flexors and gatrocnemius (calves)) need to be strong as they do a lot of the work when skiing. Your power is transferred through your legs onto the skis, influencing the turns, therefore the stronger your legs, the more you can work the skis and get great turns as a result. The core needs to be strong as it acts as the main stabiliser muscle, connecting the upper and lower body and facilitates movements of the whole body whilst skiing. Finally the upper body needs its strength too, just think about carrying your skis to start with! Then there are those fun moments when you find yourself going uphill rather than down… strong arms come in handy when you need to push off your poles! In terms of actually skiing a strong arm carriage creates a good form and driving the outside arm over the outside ski creates a good platform over the skis.

As skiing requires a certain level of endurance, to keep going all day, it is advisable to include some form of cardiovascular exercises into your fitness regime to work on aerobic fitness. Jogging, running, cross training, cycling and rowing are all good examples and there are many different ways to train within these disciplines so seeking advice form your gym instructor is advisable if unsure.

Some good exercises to work on the muscles mentioned above are:

  • Legs (2-3 sets of 6-8 reps):
  • Squats (advanced option: Jumping squats)
  • Lunges (advanced option: Jumping lunges)
  • Side hops
  • Forwards jumps (4 jumps, turn around, 4 jumps back to starting line)
  • Upper body (1-2sets of 6-8 reps):
  • Press ups
  • Triceps’ dips
  • Shoulder press


  • Side heel touches (10 each side)
  • Crunches (advanced option: play with a slower speed and holding or pulsing at top)
  • Mountain climbers (1 minute)
  • Side plank
  • Plank till failure

Please be aware these exercises are suited for people with a good base level of fitness. Anyone starting a new fitness programme should speak to their gym instructor to have a tailored programme made. This information shouldn’t be taken over the opinion of your doctor in regards to your own health.

Lottie Pridham – Fitness Trainer

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