Try These 8 Ski Exercises To Prep For Your Next Ski Holiday

Skiing is a very physically challenge sport and therefore requires adequate physical preperation if it is to be performed both safely and with enjoyment. In this article we will talk through the physical characterists required for skiing and then look at how you can improve these physical characteristics through both resistance training and cardiovascular training.

7 min read
Sean Klein
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
Last updated

Get weekly roundups of the best training tools in your inbox, every Monday.

No spam – just thoughtful training advice

In This Resource
  • Why Physical Preparation Is Important For A Ski Trip
  • Injury Mitigation
  • Holiday Enjoyment
  • Technical Progression Unlocked
  • Physical Characteristics of Skiing
  • Lower Body Strength and Muscle Endurance
  • Good Balance
  • Strong and Resistant Glutes and Lower Back
  • Core Strength
  • Powerful Legs Which Can Take Impact
  • General Endurance
  • Training Emphasis
  • Suggested Weekly Training Plan
  • Session Design Using These Exercises
  • Session 1 - Full Body Resistance Training
  • Session 2 - Low Intensity Steady State
  • Session 3 - Full Body Resistance Training
  • 8 Exercises to Use In Your Skiing Training Plan

Why Physical Preparation Is Important For A Ski Trip

Injury Mitigation

Skiing can be a very dangerous sport, especially for those who are performing the more extreme style competition skiing. However it can pose a risk to recreational skiiers who perform very little physical activity throughout the year and then demand their bodies to perform physically difficult tasks days on end. This is especially true as we age, when injury can be more challenging to recover from.

Holiday Enjoyment

Waking up with a great deal of delayed onset muscle soreness after your first days skiing isn’t fun. We all know those early morning walks carry skis in our ski boots are difficult enough, even without having to deal with pain in the muscles in our legs. Being physically prepared for skiing can help prevent the prevalence of this muscle soreness, helping you focus on finding flow and enjoying your skiing to the maximum.

Technical Progression Unlocked

Making technical improvements to your skiing can be challenging enough as it is, but when you’re dealing with physical fatigue it can be nearly impossible to think about improving your technique. If you are physically prepared for your ski trip you will be better able to focus on improving your technique, rather than just getting through the day.

Physical Characteristics of Skiing

Lower Body Strength and Muscle Endurance

Skiing requires both strong knees and quadriceps, being in constant knee flexion for a sustained period of time can be challenging for a lot of people. This is why having a strong and endurant lower body can be highly beneficial for recreational skiiers looking to enjoy their week.

Good Balance

Skiing requires good balance on two feet and one foot, this is because we are constantly shifting our weight from one foot to the other when using the correct ski technique. Having good balance will help building competent technique that will allow you to flow whilst on the slopes. Poor technique can create a lot of tension in the body and take away from the about of fun you have on the slopes. A good test of your balance is your ability to perform Ski Jumps , if you cannot perform these, aim to make this possible before your next ski trip!

Strong and Resistant Glutes and Lower Back

Falling is pretty common when you go on a ski trip, it’s just likely to happen at some point, therefore having strong and resistant lower back will be of great benefit to help deal with these falls. I actually have a friend who had a severe injury while skiing, the doctor said that the gravity of the injury would have been much more severe if he were not in such good physical condition. The often unseen benefits of resistance training, like increased bone density, can have a huge impact not only in day to day life but also when it comes to sports like skiing.

Core Strength

The core can be tough to define, and a lot of us have different ideas of what it is, that being said, we all think roughly think about the abdominals, the obliques, the erector spinea, and all of these are important when it comes to skiing. The core musculature allows us to move as one system through tying all the major muscle groups together. This often results in a general feeling of physical competence not only when performing day to day tasks but also when on the slopes.

Powerful Legs Which Can Take Impact

The quadriceps and the glutes are constantly in a flexion-extension rebound through a short range of motion when skiing, this is often powerful extension which is especially important when tackling more challenging slopes and moguls. This is why having the ability to create powerful extension will be important. The ability to take impact in the knees and hips is also crucial, again this is for the more advanced skiiers, when dynamic loading of the knees and hips occurs the body needs to be ready for this type of physical task.

General Endurance

Skiing requires some general endurance, it usually takes up the vast majority of the day, and although it does not put a great of stress on the cardiovascular system, if you have very poor levels of cardiovascular fitness you will certainly feel this on your ski trip. This is why performing low intensity steady state cardiovascular training can be highly beneficial when preparing for your ski trip and also for your general health.

Training Emphasis

Now we have defined the physiological characteristics for skiing, we can select training emphasis based on these:

  • Lower Body Strength Exercises (Squat, Hinge)
  • Balance Exercises (Balance)
  • Power Exercises + Landing (Jumps)
  • Core Exercises (Core)
  • Light Cardiovascular Work
  • Suggested Weekly Training Plan

    Monday - Full Body Resistance Training

    Tuesday - Rest

    Wednesday - Low Intensity Steady State

    Thursday - Rest

    Friday - Full Body Resistance Training

    Saturday - Rest

    Sunday - Hike / Long Walk

    Session Design Using These Exercises

    Session 1 - Full Body Resistance Training

    A1) Goblet Squats

    A2) Ski Jumps

    A3) Deadbugs

    B1) Wall Assisted Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift

    B2) DB Bench Press

    B3) Suitcase Holds

    Session 2 - Low Intensity Steady State

    A) 45 Minute Bike Erg @conversational pace

    Session 3 - Full Body Resistance Training

    A) Seated Jumps

    B) Deadlifts

    C1) Squat In Lunge

    C2) Tripod Stance Row

    C3) Plank

    8 Exercises to Use In Your Skiing Training Plan

    If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you – based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle.

    This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

    Sean Klein


    Programme is a workout app that plans every workout for you

    Programme learns from your past workouts, training experience and available equipment to create your optimal workout plan that adapts to your progress.