This is how I spend my time waiting for this winter’s first big snowfalls to arrive: Working out in order to be “ski fit”, when the first big dumps finally coat the mountains with tons of fresh powder. 🙂

Whether we are backcountry skiing in waist deep powder or on hard-packed snow on groomed pistes – there’s absolutely no doubt that we need strong and enduring legs in order to really enjoy long and powerful runs.

Less obvious but just as important are strong and stable core muscles, providing a solid platform for the rest of our body to perform from. Those muscles work like maniacs especially when skiing in challenging terrain, absorbing blows, controlling rotation of the trunk, preventing our upper body from being thrown too far forward or backward when hitting moguls or bumps, stabilizing the spine and generally helping us maintain a well-balanced athletic stance on our skis when charging down the hills.

A good sense of balance is another key factor for maintaining control under any circumstances. We constantly have to work on keeping our balance when being confronted with unforeseen changes of the snowcover, such as icy passages, drops, bumps or quick transitions from steep to flat. I made single leg exercises part of this workout as they are a good way to challenge our balance and all the muscles involved in not losing it. They also help to eliminate strength imbalances. I also integrate exercises on unstable surfaces to work on my proprioceptive skills and train my body to quickly react to changing conditions.

During a typical ski day our body is confronted with hours of highly intense intervals of exercise, interrupted only when we are sitting in the lift in order to get back up that hill again or to grab a quick bite to refill our power tanks. If you don’t want to stop early and miss out on beautiful rides in the late afternoon’s sun, better make your body get used to this kind of exertion.

This is currently my favorite ski workout routine, as it combines exercises for strong legs and a stable core, balance and stability training, as well as a cardio and agility component.

Check it out and see if you like it! 🙂

 

After warming up, start your work out with this block of cardio and agility exercises.

Perform each of the following 7 exercises for 20 to 30 seconds and then immediately move on to the next.

1 Agility Dots

Integrate agility dots in the warm up of your ski workout
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Hop with both legs to and fro, left and right, forwards and backwards, again and again changing your direction
– Try to make your jumps as quick and smooth as possible

 

2 Single Leg Lateral Hops

lateral jumps - to work on coordination and building up lateral strength in the knee
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Standing on one leg jump from side to side
– Once you have finished 30 seconds with one leg, immediately switch sides and continue with the other leg for another 30 seconds

 

3 Single Leg Ventral Hops

ventral hops help build control and coordination over your legs, focussing on building up strength in the glutes and hip flexors
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Standing on one leg jump backwards and forwards
– Once you have finished 30 seconds with one leg, immediately switch sides and continue with the other leg for another 30 seconds

 

4 Lateral Box Jumps

lateral box jumps will help you bash bumps more easily next time you are on the mounatin
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Start standing beside the step
– Jump up on the step with both feet and immediately down on the other side
– Try to land as softly and silently as possible

 

5 Isolation Squat Jumps

train your legs to react to changes in the terrain with isolation squat jumps
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Start from a squatted position
– Make sure your back is straight
– Make a little jump upwards with both feet, immediately returning to the squat and then jumping up again
– You may bop up and down a bit in the lowest position, just before jumping up again
– Try to get your legs burning! 🙂

 

6 Jumping Lunges

jumping lunges are a great cardio and leg strengthening exercise
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Start from a deep lunge
– Jump upwards, bring you back leg to the front, and the front leg backwards mid air
– Immediately jump up again, as soon as you’ve reached the deepest position of the lunge
– Make sure to keep your front knee behind your toes and your upper body strong and upright

 

7 Low Squat Jump Twists

low squat jump twists are a great way to prepare for skiing on moguls
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Start from a squatted position
– Now jump on the spot, only turning your lower body from one side to the other
– Try to keep your upper body as stable as possible

 

Ok, this was the cardio / agility / coordination part of the workout. Let’s focus on leg and core strength, as well as on balance now.

 

Swiss-Ball squats

Making sure you have something to hold on to in case you lose your balance, try to stand and squat on the ball for 3-4 minutes, switching from time to time from squatting dynamically and holding a low squat position for a while.

(I started doing this exercise close to a sling trainer fixed on the ceiling. This way I could grap the slings, whenever I felt I needed to stabilize myself.)

 

Squat on stability ball
© njoyrides, picture was taken in M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • Have your training partner help you onto the ball or use the sling trainer or something similar to hold on to
  • Don’t let go before you are sure you have found your balance
  • Get down into a squat position, slowly get higher and squat down again

Please make sure to remove all obstacles around you!

 

Russian Squats (with Balance Pad and Dumbbells)

Two sets of 15-20 reps, pause for 30 sec. in between

russian squats with dumbbells on a balance pad
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Grab a pair of dumbbells, heavy enough but not too heavy, to allow you to do 15 to 20 reps per side
– Place your back foot on a bench
– You may place a balance pad underneath your front foot to make things a little bit more challenging (You should only do that though, if you are familiar with this exercise. Try without weights at first.)
– Make sure to keep your upper body upright and straight
– Think of lowering the knee of your back leg down towards the floor
– Make sure your front knee does not fall inwards or outwards but remains stable in one line with your ankle
– Once you’re done on one side, switch to the next

 

Squatted Band Walks

Two sets of 1 Min, pause for 30 se. in between

work your thighs and glutes with band walks in a squatted position
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Place a powerband around your ankles
– Come down into a squat position
– Move sideways first in one, then in the other direction
– Keep doing this for 1 minute, without straightening your legs in between

 

Single Leg Deadlifts

Repeat for 1 minute, then switch sides

great exercise to train your back, glutes, thighs and balance
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Stand on one leg and firmly root your foot, especially toes and heels
– If you want to, hold a dumbbell in each hand
– Keep your back long and straight
– Now hinge your hips, pushing your bottom backwards and lifting your free leg back and up, while your upper body goes down
– Squat down with your standing leg
– Straighten your leg again and bring your upper body back up by squeezing your glutes
– Chose a light weight dumbbell until you get this exercise technique right

 

Back extension dumbbell rows

2 sets of 15 reps, pause for 30 sec. in between

this exercise works the entire posterior chain: backextension dumbbell rows
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it: First Set

– Keep your upper body steady in a horizontal line to the floor and only move your arms
– Bring your upper body in on line with your legs (horizontal to the floor) and hold it there
– Squeeze your shoulder baldes together and draw the dumbbells upwards, keeping your elbows close to your body and pointing towards the ceiling. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body and to squeeze your shouldeblades together

 

How to do it: Second Set

– Lower and lift your upper body, as well as move your arms
– Holding the dumbbells in your hands with extended arms, squeeze your glutes and extend your back
– Once your upper body is in on line with your legs (horizontal to the floor), squeeze your shoulder baldes together and draw the dumbbells upwards, keeping your elbows close to your body and pointing towards the ceiling
– Lower your arms and upper body down again and repeat

 

Swiss Ball Hip Extension and Leg Curl

2 sets of 10-15 reps (per side)

Hip extension and leg curl with a swiss ball
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Lie down on the floor, the lower part of one leg placed on a stability ball, the other leg pointing straight to the ceiling
– Engage your glutes and lift your hip, till shoulder, hip and knee are in one diagonal line
– Make sure not to let your hips tilt to one side
– Bring the heel of the foot on the ball towards your bottom, while keeping a straight line from knee to shoulder
– Lower yourself back down and repeat
– If the single leg version is too intense in the beginning (cramps at the back of the legs are not exactly uncommon), start with both legs on the ball. It’s still very effective!

 

Side Plank with Adduction

1 set of 30 seconds per side, don’t pause in between

work your core and insides of your thighs with variation of the side plank
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Start from side plank position with your wrist directly underneath your shoulder
– Keep your elbow slightly bent
– Plant the inside of your upper foot firmly onto ground, while preventing your ankle from collapsing to the inside (you want to feel the pressure on the inside of the sole of your foot, your ankle should not touch the ground)
– Now extend your lower leg backwards, tap the floor, before bringing the knee of your lower leg forward
– Repeat this movement for 40-50 seconds, then switch sides
– (you should feel this exercise on the inside of the upper leg)

 

Superman

2 sets of 40-50 sec, pause for 30 sec. in between

great exercise to work your back
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Lie down on your belly, arms and legs stretched out
– Suck in your belly towards your spine and keep it engaged and strong during the whole exercise
– Now raise your chest, arms and legs off the floor by engaging your hip extensors and the muscles in your upper back
– Move your arms and legs simultaneously slightly up and down without touching the floor

 

Side Plank with Abduction

1 set of 30 seconds per side, don’t pause in between

this side plank trains your core, outside of your legs and glutes
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Lie on your side, resting on your elbow, legs straight
– Position your hand directly underneath your shoulder (If this is umcomfortable for your wrist, you can as well get down on your elbow. In this case your elbow should be below your shoulder)
– Lift your hips off the floor and keep them in this position
– Seen from above, your body is a straight line from head to feet
– Lift your upper leg to the height of your hip, lower it and bring it back up again
– Once you finished one side, immediately switch to the next

 

Pillar Ball Twist

 2 sets of as many reps as you can manage, pause for 60 seconds in between

great core exercise that will challenge your obliques
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Come into plank position, while placing your feet and shins on a stability ball
– Make sure to engage you core muscles and keep your upper body as stable as possible
– Avoid a hollow back!
– Slowly and with control turn your hips and legs to one side, so that your hips, knees and feet are facing in one direction, while your head and upper body still face the floor
– Slowly return to starting position
– Repeat the movement in the other direction

 

Single Leg – Butt Up – Knee Tucks with Sling and Med.Ball

2 sets of as many reps as possible, pause for 60 seconds in between

Full body exercise that especially challenges your shoulders and core muscles
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

– Start from plank position with one foot placed in a sling trainer or similar, with the loop/ ring on knee-height
– Try with both hands on the floor first. If that’s too easy, place both hands on a medicine ball
– Bring your free leg on the same height as the one that is suspended in the sling
– Bring your bottom as far up as possible, while drawing both knees towards your chest
– Lower yourself down again whileextending your legs
– Make sure to avoid a hollow back, when extending your legs!
– Repeat this movement as many times as you can manage with a good technique
– Once you’ve finished one side, let your arms, shoulders and core rest for at least 30 seconds before repeating the exercise on the other side

 

That’s it already! I hope you will enjoy this workout and even more so the many long and beautiful ski-days that have yet to come! 🙂

 

One last thing before you start: Make sure to stop exercising, whenever you are in pain or feel too tired to complete the exercise with a good technique. Only add instability-tools or weights, when you already feel very confident performing the exercise.

 

Please note: The exercises on this website are physically intense. In order to reduce the risk of injury, you should go through a thorough warm up routine, before beginning any fitness program. Always pay close attention to what your body is telling you! Should you be in pain or feel uncomfortable performing any of these exercises, stop immediately. If you are in doubt or feel insecure, please check with your doctor to determine  if the exercise program is right for your needs.  As with all exercise programs, please use common sense when performing these exercises. Make sure the equipment you use is safe and there is nothing in your surroundings, you could hurt yourself with. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. Njoyrides will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of our fitness program or information shared on our website. Thanks for your understanding.
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