Skiing is about explosive power and being able to maintain that power all the way down the hill. Your body needs to be tuned and ready for that kind of challenge. It’s great to be able to work out with weights at a gym, but there are some simple tune-up exercises and workouts that you can do quickly, without weights, that will help you get ready for the ski season.
A workout routine that involves ski-specific movements and exercises is a great way to get in shape for the winter ahead. On these two pages you will see me doing some of these exercises with students from the Stratton Mountain School. These are exercises anyone can do. You do not have to be an Olympic hopeful to achieve a higher level of ski-readiness.
It’s helpful to understand what muscles and movements make a good skier a good skier. One of the best ways to help your skiing is to start with a strong core. The core region extends from the chest down to the knees and serves as the control center that helps to separate your upper and lower body. If you want to arc a sweet turn, you need to have a square and level upper body while using your lower body like a pendulum, swinging your skis out from underneath. The ability to stay quiet on top and active on the bottom requires tremendous core strength. And, by the way, having a buddy to share your pain and progress as you perform these exercises is nice, but not essential.
First, it is always important to warm up properly.
A good stretch and a light jog gets the blood flowing and the muscles warm.
Getting into shape for skiing isn’t as hard as you might think
Then, work on your core.
Core exercises include:
- Side-ups Push ups (they’re not just for your chest and arms)
Next, work on your power (or vary it with core drills).
Explosive power is as important as endurance. A variety of running/jumping drills that build explosive power include:
- Broad Jumps (Squat jumps)
- Slalom jumps
- One leg jumps
- One leg slalom jumps
Then try all of the above backwards and on one leg. Also, mix in some sprints, 50- 100- 200- 400-meters if possible. And, to really feel the burn, walk, run or jump up and down bleachers or steps. Do these exercises in multiple sets each week, pushing it a little more each time. Proper cool down for such muscle-building exercises is very important—jog, spin, walk, stretch.
And, very important: be smart; if your body needs rest, rest!
Morgan Korpi is an alpine ski coach at the Stratton Mountain School.