23 March 2020 from Danielle in Tips

Slightly panicked about the possibility of spending all summer stuck inside? Don't worry, we're all in the same boat. Luckily, there are a few quick exercises you can do every day so your body is ready to hit the slopes by the time your ski holidays start. Exercises for skiing tend to focus on the leg and core muscles, so we’re recommending squats, standing scales, side planks, mountain climbers and swimmers, which should be supplemented with some kind of cardio training. No need to lug yourself all the way to the gym – a quick run-through of these exercises only takes about 20 minutes and can easily be added to your daily routine!

1. Squats

Squats will help you build those ever-important thigh muscles so you can start the ski season off without the classic thigh burn. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outwards and your arms straight out in front of you. Slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Try to keep your back straight and more or less parallel with your calves. Straighten up. Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions each.

Squats help you get in shape for ski season

2. Lunges

Lunges are another important stretch for your thighs. Take a giant step forward, taking care to keep your back straight and your weight centrally distributed, without putting undue pressure on your knees. Hold for a second with your legs at a right angle, then straighten up and repeat with the other leg. Do 2 sets of 10-20 reps. You might also consider adding some extra weight to increase the workout.

Lunges work your thigh muscles

3. Side Plank

Everyone hates planks, but they are also super useful for strengthening your core muscles. Lie on your side (preferably on a yoga mat, otherwise ouch!) putting most of your weight on your forearm. Push your hips up so your body forms one line, like the eponymous plank, from your shoulders through your pelvis and down to your knees and ankles. For a fun twist, raise one leg in the air. Hold the position for 60 seconds or as long as you can, and then repeat for the other side.

side plank
We hate doing planks... but they're useful!

4. Mountain climbers

What better exercise for preparing to go to the mountains than an exercise that’s called the Mountain Climber? Get into position as if you were doing push-ups, with your hands on the ground and your body in a flat line from your knees up to your shoulders. Now pretend you are running: raise one foot up to your chest, then in one motion switch feet. Keep repeating for 2 stints of 30 seconds each, ensuring you keep your body as straight as possible throughout.

mountain climber exercise
Mountain climbers... perfect for ski training!

5. Swimmers

In addition to helping your back muscles, the swimmer exercise will also help your glutes, which will come in handy on the more challenging slopes. Lie spread-eagled on the ground, alternately raising and lowering your arms and legs without touching the ground. You should be raising your right arm and left leg at the same time, and vice-versa. Do 2 stints of 30 seconds each.

swimmer exercise
The swimmer exercise looks ridiculous but it works

Don't forget cardio training in your pre-season workouts

No pre-season skiing workout is complete without a cardio component. A few months before the slopes open this winter, try jogging, cycling, swimming, roller skating or hillwalking a couple times a week and you’ll notice the difference once you step into your skis. You should be aiming to spend about 60 minutes at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate (usually 110-130 bpm). Don’t forget to stretch!

Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!