It is recommended to start training 6-8 weeks before the season starts, doing these exercises 2-3 times per week along with a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular training 2-3 times per week as well.
5-10 minutes of slow to moderate cardio (i.e. bike, Stairmaster). If you do not have access to a gym, take it outside! Walk or take a slow jog. If space is limited, jumping jacks or jumping rope are excellent for elevating the heart rate and warming up your body.
- Front planks and side planks.
This will help with ski form. Front plank instructions: Lay on your stomach with your elbows directly under your shoulders with your palms flat and lift up your body as one unit and hold for 60 seconds. Imagine your body as a straight line from your neck through your back to your feet. Side plank: Lay on your side propped up on your forearm which is flat on the ground and perpendicular to your body. Make sure your elbow is under your shoulder and make sure your legs are straight and stacked upon one another. Lift your body up as a unit and hold for 60 seconds. For more of a challenge: Alternate lifting your right and left leg up during that time. Both plank pictures below.
- If you have access to resistance bands or a cable machine, this one is good for strengthening the core and preventing lower back pain.
- The lift
Secure band or cable machine at ankle height. Stand sideways to where band is anchored and there is slight resistance. Rotate your torso upward and away pulling the band across your torso and until your feet pivot and you are facing the opposite direction with your arms extended in front of your body. Return to the starting position in a fluid-controlled manner. Your shoulders should remain square and your hips aligned. Complete 15 reps and switch sides. (hint – this should not be a jerky motion. Instead focus on using the core muscles to rotate your body through the movement.)
- The plunge
Secure resistance band or cable at shoulder height. Stand sideways to where band is anchored and you can reach up to grab it with both hands. Pull band down and across your body and turn while keeping your arms straight. Your back and obliques are powering the turn. Do this 15 reps and switch sides. Picture below.
- The lift
- Lying Leg Rotation for hip rotation and stability
Lay on your back with your arms out flat away from your body and your legs straight up in the air. Rotate both legs from side to side. Do 15 reps. Can bend knees slightly if having any lower back pain.
- Leg extension with hip roll
This strengthens your hips and knees. Stand on your right leg. Lean body forward at hips and straighten your back while lifting your left leg behind you. Then rotate that left leg slightly outwards away from your body and return to standing tall. Repeat 20 reps and switch legs.
- Hip Taps
Works on hip strength and balance. Start with your feet hip width apart and on your left leg only which is slightly bent. Extend your right leg in front of you and tap your heel to the ground, then rotate it out to your side and tap the inside of your foot down, and then rotate it behind you and tap your toe to the ground. Then return to center. Do each of these positions 15-20 times. Picture below.
- Squats to reverse lunge
… to work on ski stance and strengthen those quads. Stand feet hip width apart and squat down and then come back up to standing. Then finish with stepping back into reverse lunge with left leg. Do this 20 times and switch legs. Squats and lunges are always good leg exercises to help with skiing. If you want a challenge: Make this a jump squat to start.
- Resistance band walks
This works on legs and hips to help prevent knee injuries.
- Angled or skate walks
Using a moderate resistance band attach it around your ankles. Step forward at an angle or diagonally ahead of you and to the right until tight resistance is felt. Alternate then by going diagonally forward and to the left. Repeat 20-30 times until fatigued. Picture below.
- Lateral or side to side walks
Keeping the resistance band around your ankles with feet hip width apart, step out to the right until tight resistance is felt. Continue 20 times then switch sides and step to left.
- Angled or skate walks
- Box jump
Helps you move quickly. Stand hip width apart in front of a box or bench. With a slight bend in your knees, jump up with both feet onto the box in front of you. For a challenge: Do this with an added medicine ball or weight. Do three sets of 7-10 with 30-40sec rest in between.
- Lateral bounds
This works quads and glutes and helps with the high energy burst with skiing. Stand with feet hip width apart and slightly bent. Jump to the side and land on one leg (swinging your arms with you). Then jump back to the other leg. Repeat 15-20 times on each leg. For an extra challenge: Do this with a resistance band around your quads.
Various Other Squats to Add:
- One legged squat with weight
Helps build strength and stability and prevent knee problems. Stand feet hip width apart and extend right leg behind you with it slightly bent. You will have 15-20lb dumbbells in each hand and squat down with your left leg then return to standing. Do two sets of 15 and switch legs.
- Goblet squats
Helps with speed and turns. Hold 20-30lb dumbbell with your arms at chest level and squat down with your feet hip width apart and slightly turned out. For a challenge: hold for 5-10 seconds at bottom or add more weight.
Complete your workout and lower your heart rate with 5-10 minutes of walking or the bike. Don’t forget to stretch and roll out with a foam roller if you have one.