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Home Sport-Specific Winter Sports Get Fit to Hit the Slopes

Get Fit to Hit the Slopes

Get Fit to Hit the Slopes


With snowboard and ski season almost here, you should be serious now about getting fit before hitting the slopes. Many people think that skiing in itself is exercise enough, but if you jump into the sport without getting in shape first, you could experience a debilitating injury. Even if you do make it through the first few sessions without breaking, twisting or popping something, you will still be so sore and miserable that you won’t really enjoy the trips.

Weekend skiers end up suffering the most injuries because they sit at desks or behind counters throughout the week and then head to the slopes on the weekends. These ill-prepared slope runners then tackle tough courses and take nasty falls or make high speed twists which they are not physically capable of handling due to a lack of exercise.





Preparing Your Ski Exercise Program

You should actually begin your ski fitness program at least eight weeks before the start of the season so that you are sufficiently prepared. Lower body and core strength are what should be targeted the most along with building cardio endurance. According to the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, skiers should develop good joint movement in order to compensate for sudden directional changes and prevent injuries.

A good strength training program should include exercises that build your lower back and abdomen muscles since all snowboard and ski turns, as well as balance, come from the motions of your trunk. Crunches, straight leg raises, declining sit ups and other hyperextension exercises are good for core strengthening and preventing back injuries on the slopes.

Lunges, squats and hamstring curls are good to include for strengthening the lower body. The leg muscles take most of the impact of moves and jumps and if they are not sufficiently developed then the knees end up compensating which can lead to knee injury. 

Various stretching exercises should also be performed to not only give flexibility to the muscles, but also mobility to the joints. Two of the most common ski injuries are hamstring pulls and damage to the meniscus joint cartilage. 





Once at the Slopes

Skiing, like any sport, requires some stretching and warming up before you participate. Therefore, whenever you hit the slopes you should warm up your muscles and ligaments. This is especially important since you are performing a physically active sport in cold weather. Cold muscles contract and if you head off down a run without first warming up, you stand a good chance of pulling a muscle or ligament.





If you aren’t participating in a strength training program then you still have time before peak season to get a fitness program started and physically prepare yourself. If you already have a fitness plan in place, you might want to analyze and rearrange it to include more exercises that will benefit you while skiing or snowboarding.

Have fun on the slopes!







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