Add These Exercises to Your Workout to Get Ready For a Ski Weekend
I used to like the cold weather season the least. Old man winter is grumpy and pushes everyone indoors where there are fewer activities to keep you moving and enjoying fresh air. Then I learned how to ski. I’m now convinced if I hadn’t I would not have caught my ski fanatic husband’s attention. You wouldn’t think skiing would lead to romance or that sliding down a hill would require much strength or elevate your heart rate. But it can!
Swooshing down a mountain and enjoying the quiet freshness of nature makes winter very enjoyable. If you’re one of those people who can only go a few days a season you might not get a chance to build those muscles and endurance. Then you’re probably spending more time in the lodge with tired legs and a sore back. In that case read on for some tips on how to prepare you body before shelling out over a hundred dollars for a daylong lift ticket.
Skiing mostly recruits the lower body muscles. The big ones!
They require more energy thus burn more calories. So skiing is a great workout. The main muscles used for down hill skiing are the quadriceps in the front of the thigh. These allow you to do that squatting position you must sustain while sliding. The best exercises to strengthen this area are lunges, squats and step-downs off a step. The movement of stepping down or lowering the butt is the same kind of movement for skiing. Keep your movements slow or moderate similar to how you will lower your body and hold while sliding down the hill. Work up to 30 repetitions.
Other big muscles involved in skiing are the gluteus medius or the hips and upper butt. Shifting your weight and carving your ski into the mountain requires the work of these muscles rotating the hips. To prepare this area you can start slowly with clam exercises. While lying on your side with feet together open and close your knees like a clam, then progress to standing and doing the same movement. Another good one is side lunges stepping wide onto one foot allowing the knee to track over the middle toes. Or you can use a step and move up and down side ways and eventually add a side leg lift as you step up. Work up to 30 repetitions on each side.
Like almost everything you do, skiing requires a strong core.
- Not only to keep you stable but also to prevent low back pain and keep good form on the skis.
- Train your pelvis to stay neutral especially while bending the knees.
- Avoid letting the tailbone rise too high or tuck under too tightly.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles by lying on your back and tucking your pelvis.
- Then practice while standing. Build to 50 repetitions.
- Keep your back strong with low back exercises like the quadruped kickback.
- Begin on your hands and knees with your pelvis in neutral position and extend one leg and the opposite arm then alternate.
- Twenty on each side is good if you keep is slow and deliberate while extending to make a nice straight line.
Surprisingly, skiing will have you huffing and puffing. Partly because you’re usually in a high altitude with thinner air but also you are using those large muscle groups to control your otherwise freefall down a steep hill. Keep you heart strong with cardiovascular workouts that can also help strengthen your legs such a cycling or spinning, swimming or get on a stair climber. At least 30 minutes with intervals is a good start.
I’m fortunate to live in Colorado and my husband and I now drag our three kids up to the mountains as often as possible. Doing these types of lower body building exercises during the week has allowed me to start strong on the first day and keep up with the little speed demons. I don’t know if I’m ready to say winter is my favorite season but I do look forward to getting out my cold weather armor and heading to the mountains to enjoy the crisp air.
As always, before you try anything new with your body check with your doctor to make sure it’s a good idea.
Ski Muscles and Exercises: https://ussa.org/sites/default/files/documents/athletics/alpine/2011-12/documents/TrainingMuscles.pdf
Quadruped Kickback video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_Vm76OPxUE