The snow will be here before you know it. Start getting your body in shape now for the 2023/24 ski and snowboard season. Even if you are not a skier or snowboarder, these are easy common sense exercise tips anybody can do any time of year.
These exercise tips are from a senior physiologist with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association, Tschana Breslin, and from Telluride Ski Resort.
Increase Overall Aerobic Fitness
Both skiers and snowboarders benefit immensely from increasing overall aerobic activity to prepare for the season.
Trail running and regular jogging, road and mountain biking, and cross training are favorites.
Hiking uphill is a great activity, but hiking down is great for leg work, which is key for skiers and snowboarders.
If you live in a city, as I do, where there are few hills to climb, trade a trail for a staircase. Skip the elevator.
Quad Dominant Workouts
Skiers and snowboarders need to keep the quads strong and resilient.
All types and variations of lunges, squats, wall sits and step-ups help build quad strength to manage the toughest of terrain.
Skiing and snowboarding are quad dominant sports, so it is very important to keep the hamstrings strong to prevent injury.
Do extra hamstring exercises in order to decrease the over dominance of the quads.
Keep hamstrings strong yet flexible through leg curls and straight leg dead lifts with weights in both hands.
The core is essential in gaining and maintaining overall fitness and strength. An overall abs workout is important, but don’t forget the rest of your core.
Back extensions, barbell rotations and stabilization techniques like the ‘plank’ build great core strength.
Starting position: Lay on your stomach. Lift your body off the ground onto your elbows and toes. Contract your abdominals and relax your shoulders. Repeat.
A favorite among yogis, Breslin recommends holding the ‘plank’ position from 30 seconds to 2 minutes per day.
Calves and Shins
Those first days on the slopes are tough on the calves and shins, so try these quick exercises to get them into shape.
Calf raises – stand in an erect position and lift off floor with your toes. Do 2-3 sets of 20 reps.
Or grab an exercise band, place one end around top of foot and one end around a bench. Flex 5- 10 times. This is called dorsiflexion, and will get calves and shins in super shape.
Upper Body Strength
Although not a huge focus for winter sports, upper body strength is still essential to overall fitness.
Breslin swears by both push ups and pull ups for intensified upper body strength.
This push up/pull combination is one of her favorites for the U.S. Snowboard team athletes: Stand next to a pull up/chin up bar, jump up on the bar and do a pull up, jump down to the floor, lower into a push up position and do a push up.
Repeat 5-10 times, as fast as you can with out a break, and watch that heart rate elevate as well.
These are good exercise tips year-round, and for any sport regimen, not just for winter and snowsports.
See you on the slopes. My motto for ski and snowboard season is that the best things in life are downhill.
This article was published originally in 2015 for the 2015/2016 ski and snowboard season and has been updated for the 2023/2024 season.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA), a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and a current member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA).
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter also is editor of the webzine SeniorsSkiing, which focuses on the 50+ winter sports enthusiast.
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