When I was younger I used to believe that the only workout for skiing was skiing. But as I got older I found that I had more back issues early so I started doing a simple preseason ski workout to strengthen my core. Now I feel so much better and stronger in the early season. Core strength is crucial for skiing, particularly in the bumps and in difficult conditions.
This basic workout is not “hard core” and will work for average skiers with average fitness levels. It can be done in 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times per week. I try to do it every other day in the preseason and keep it up in the winter on days I don’t ski. The only equipment you need is a core or abs ball, some 10 lb dumb bells, and a resistance band kit. You can buy all it for about $60. You can do most of the workout while watching TV.
In the beginning, do short sets of 10 and work up to longer sets of 25. I prefer to do long sets (vs. multiple short sets) because during a ski run you typically ski for up to 5 minutes at a time. I also try to move quickly from one exercise to another to keep my heart rate up.
Start on the core ball with a set of crunches. Then get on the ball in a push up position with your shins supporting you and do a set of push-ups. If you hold the up position for a couple of counts, it will strengthen your abs. Once done with the push-ups, stay in the up position and pull your feet up, rolling the ball towards your upper body in the process. Do a set of 10 or more of this very ski specific exercise and think of skiing bumps. Your abs will be barking by the end.
After I’m done, I do a series of 10 dumb bells arm exercises – forearm extensions, rows, military press, shoulder shrugs. Then go back to the ball and do bicep curls while seated on the ball. Finish the arms by bridging on the ball (ball goes between your shoulders) and doing bench presses with the dumb bells.
Next I go to the resistance bands. I like the kit that Black Mountain Products offers on Amazon.com. Stand on the band and do a set of squats. Then change to the door anchor and ankle attachment. Start standing away from the door anchor and standing on one foot. Move the other leg with the band on it directly away from the door to work your hip flexor. Then work your abductors and rotator, doing sets and working the band laterally away from the door with a set in each direction so that you do one set pulling your leg across the other and one pushing it away from the other leg. Finish with the bands by sitting and doing leg extensions. Repeat with the other leg.
Then I move to the floor and finish with more ab work. Lying on my back do a set of double leg raises and then another set of crunches on the floor. I finish with planks. I do a front plank for 20 seconds and then move to side planks for 30 seconds. Then I repeat on the other side. I do several sets of these until I can’t hold them without shaking. Increase the time you hold the all the planks by 5-10 seconds a week. The goal is to be able to hold them for 90 to 120 seconds each by December.
I finish by doing my pre-ski stretching routine for 5 minutes followed by a glass of water and then a well-earned beer.