Ski Fitness

7 Simple Exercises to Get You in Top Ski Fitness Shape

February in Montana means that ski season is in full swing! Whether you are gearing up for bigger backcountry objectives, scouting deep pockets at your local resort, or simply cruising corn groomers as it starts to warm up, now is the time to evaluate your ski fitness trajectory by setting thoughtful intentions. Peak Ski Company partnered with Urban Fitness, a Bozeman-based first class fitness facility committed to providing superb fitness experiences and results, to bring you a simple ski conditioning guide that you can start today. These 7 simple exercises will not only keep you on the snow longer, but they might even increase your overall enjoyment of skiing. Because at the end of the day, we all want to feel that apres beer was earned.

Urban Fitness (UF) was founded in 2019 with the main goal of creating a foundational fitness community in the Bozeman area. By fostering a welcoming and inclusive fitness environment, Urban Fitness seeks to help members commit to their fitness goals while establishing impactful relationships along the way. When it comes to ski fitness, Eddie Davila is the expert. Davila, (UF’s co-founder, ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiologist, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, ACSM Exercise Medicine Level 3 Credentialed, Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist, Physiology and Kinesiology instructor, and President of the American College of Sports Medicine Northwest Chapter), has devoted his career to health and wellness. As an avid skier (of course, skiing on Peak Skis), Davila is passionate about helping others connect to their fitness journey on and off the snow.

The complexity of ski fitness is a “strategic interplay of bio- and physiological characteristics built on the foundations of strength, balance, coordination, and muscular endurance," Davila states. Being able to strengthen and stretch muscles that contribute to the complexity of ski performance will propel your fitness trajectory tenfold.

Below, you will find 7 simple exercises (requiring little to no equipment) that Davila put together to help you enhance your fitness routine next time you hit the slopes. With an emphasis on “lower extremities, glutes, core, and low back” you will be well on your way to stronger skiing and injury prevention.

1. Plyometrics

Plyometrics, also known as jump training or plyos, has the main goal of increasing power. In short intervals of maximum load force, this exercise creates concentric contractions (shortening the muscles) and eccentric contractions (stretching the muscles). This combination improves agility, stability, and balance.

Tip: Start with squat jumps and progress to box jumps. Circle through a combination of bilateral (double leg) and unilateral (single leg) jumping maneuvers.

2. Squats

A squat is a strength exercise in which the trainee lowers their hips from a standing position and then stands back up. It is no wonder that squats play a role in ski fitness given that you are practically in a squat when your ski is on edge. Squats not only help you strengthen your knees and ankles (common ski injuries), but they require joint and muscle integration. This dynamic strength training exercise, strengthens your lower body: glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, and calves.

Tip: Begin with bodyweight and progress to using dumbbells or barbells to squat with weight.

3. Deadlifts

A staple in strength-training performance, the deadlift involves picking up a weight from the ground by bending at your waist and hips and then standing back up. This exercise strengthens the lower back, leg muscles, and activates your core.

Tip: Complete the lift with a hinging movement at your hips. Do not hyperextend at the top of the movement. Squeeze glutes when over the bar, take a deep breath in with the belly and firmly push through feet.

4. Lunges

In skiing, we “carry our own body weight down the hill; therefore, few movements replicate skiing more than the lunge” [Davila]. Being able to strengthen your quad and glute muscles will help with turn initiation as you get your ski on edge. This dynamic exercise helps to improve range of motion and strength in the lower body. Lunges allow you to strengthen and condition almost every muscle in the lower body.

5. Hip Abduction Exercises

Hip abduction is the movement of the leg away from the midline of the body. We are talking lateral band walks, clam shells, and cable movements to name a few. Hip abduction exercises work to create a tight and toned backside; they can also potentially help to prevent injuries to the hips and knees. This exercise strengthens muscles needed for stabilization and injury prevention.

6. Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are one of the best exercises for developing your posterior chain. Make sure to complete a combination of bilateral (double leg) and unilateral (single leg) thrusts, increasing weight appropriately. This exercise targets increased glute strength, core stability, and athletic mobility.

Tip: Use a barbell or hip thrust machine to increase weight appropriately.

7. Core Exercises

From cable chops, russian twists, to a good old fashioned plank, core strength is critical for long days on the hill. Your core is the power link that connects your upper extremities to your lower extremities. All ski movement funnels through this origin. From double black moguls to easy groomers, stability and balance in the core play a key role in overall mobility.

Key Takeaways

These 7 exercises bridge the interplay between strength, balance, coordination, and muscular endurance. Coupled with a balanced, nutritious diet and adequate hydration, you can take these simple steps off the slopes today to vastly improve your overall ski performance and enjoyment.