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Get your fitness levels up to scratch before you first hit the snow with our top tips and exercises for ski-ready muscles.

How to get ski fit

Get your heart going

Even if you are planning to stick to cruisy blue pistes, you’ll still need good stamina for a week of skiing. To get ski fit, aim to do cardio work (which will raise your heart rate) at least three times a week, for between 20 and 60 minutes. In the gym, try a spin class – this will work your lower body at the same time as your heart. Cross trainers and stair machines also offer better preparation for skiing than running on a flat treadmill. Outside, running up and down hills will naturally work your body in a similar way to skiing.

Weight for it 

Conditioning, or weight training, helps to strengthen the muscles you’ll use for skiing. As you’ll spend most of the time with your legs bent on skis, squats and lunges are the go-to moves. They’ll prepare your quads, hamstrings and glutes for those thigh-burning descents, and will also engage your core and stabilise your legs. Don’t neglect your ski-carrying arms, though, especially if you’re a beginner. Get ski-ready arms by factoring in some bicep curls, tricep dips and press-ups into your regular workout. 

Find your balance

Balance is, unsurprisingly, extremely important for skiing and boarding. To increase your stability and reduce the chance of falling over, spend some time perfecting your posture and core strength. One helpful technique is to close your eyes and stand on one leg for two minutes, then repeat with the other leg. Do this up to three times a week. Once you feel comfortable and have stopped wobbling, you can take it to the next level by brushing your teeth at the same time or adding knee bends into the mix.

“To get ski fit aim to do some cardio work at least three times a week”

Think flexibly

Make sure you stretch properly after any workout. Cooling down the muscles keeps them flexible, strong and healthy, and helps to maintain a good range of motion in the joints. If you don’t stretch, your muscles can shorten and tighten, increasing the injury risk. Yoga postures are another great way to warm down. 

Go skiing

Ultimately, the best way to condition your body for skiing is… skiing! A few trips to your nearest dry slope or indoor snow centre before you brave the slopes are invaluable both for getting ski fit as well as learning the basics. Think of your local dry slope or snow dome as a ski gym.  

 

Four moves to get ski fit

Ski fitness movements.jpg

1. Squats

Squats mimic the motion of skiing and are ideal for strengthening legs and glutes. Stand up straight with your feet wider apart than your shoulders, flex your knees and squat down low, keeping knees aligned and arms outstretched. 

2. Planks

Practising planks helps to create a strong core, which is key for more demanding skiing. Rest on your elbows and toes and push up your hips so they are aligned with the rest of your body. Work up to holding your plank for longer each time. 

3. Lunges

Lunges strengthen glutes and quads for strong, sturdy ski legs. Start in a standing position and step forwards with one foot, keeping your hips and upper body straight, then return to standing and lunge forward with the other leg. 

4. Crunches

Crunches strengthen your core, essential for ski balance. Lie down with your lower back pressed into the floor. With hands behind your head, raise your shoulders and upper back. Hold for a few seconds before relaxing back down.