If you fail to prepare your legs for skiing, then you could end up spending your ski vacation hobbling around, unable to enjoy good runs. Debilitating injuries are common among skiers. Seasoned skiers know that hitting the slopes without doing leg exercises will leave you in pain for the first few days.
The following workout utilizes bodyweight exercises which are not overly laborious so you can do these daily if you want. You should, however, do them at least 3-4 days a week until you hit the slopes. Getting started now will ensure that your legs are fit and your endurance level is high come peak ski season.
Be sure to do warm up exercises, such as running in place or jumping jacks, before beginning these workouts to prevent muscle pulls and other training injuries.
Lunges are excellent exercises to get your lower body in shape and can be done in several effective variations. However, for skiing, we will concentrate on jump lunges which are geared more to skiers and their movements.
Get set in a low lunge position with one foot forward, knee bent, and with the other foot back, knee bent. The thigh of your forward leg and the shin of your hind leg should both be parallel with the floor. Your arms should also be bent at a 90° angle only opposite to your legs (if your right leg is forward, your left arm is forward). Your back should be held straight and your core controlled throughout the exercise.
When ready to begin, jump up and quickly switch leg and arm positions. Try to stay as low as possible, only jumping high enough to switch legs effectively. Start out with 4 sets of between 20 and 30 reps and increase as you develop stamina.
Rapid Run-In-Place with Variables
Another good endurance leg conditioning exercise is the rapid run-in-place. Not only will this bodyweight exercise improve your endurance, it will also prepare you for more precise movements on the slopes.
Get into a grappling position with knees slightly bent, feet about shoulder width apart and arms bent at 90° with hands held forward. Concentrate on strictly controlling your core throughout the workout.
When ready to begin, start running in place as fast as you can while maintaining a wide stance and knees bent. Complete 4 sets with each one containing a 30 second rapid run followed immediately by a 30 second variable exercise (such as jumping jacks, pushups squats, jumps, etc). Which variable exercises you choose is up to you, but you should do 2 sets for the upper body and 2 sets for the lower body to keep development balanced. Don’t take more than a 1 minute break between sets.
Pivoting Square Jumps
For this exercise you’ll need to set up 4 cones or other similar objects in a square approximately 5 feet apart. Get set by standing with your left foot at one of the cones and facing towards the center of the square. Hunch down slightly into a grappling position with feet spread shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
To begin, jump or lunge sideways until your opposite (right) foot rests at the next cone. Pivot a quarter turn which will place your back towards the center of the square and jump to the next cone, your left foot resting just short of it. Pivot again for a quarter turn until you are facing center and then lunge to the next cone. Pivot a quarter turn with your back towards center and jump to the cone that you started from. Repeat this exercise for 5 sets going clockwise and then 5 sets moving counter-clockwise.