Getting ready for ski season takes a combination of exercises that helps you improve your cardio stamina, muscular power and endurance. You can create exercises that mimic the demands of skiing in the privacy of your home or at a gym or fitness center. Bend, jump, twist and turn to get ready to hit the slopes in top shape.
Your time on the powder will be aerobic or anaerobic, depending on whether you’ll be doing downhill or cross-country skiing. Downhill skiers should mix aerobic workouts with sprint training to mirror the start-and-stop heart and lung use they’ll experience throughout the day. Cross-country skiers will burn more fat calories and use slow-twitch muscle fibers, so aerobic workouts will be more appropriate. Use a shorter leg stride and quicker movements for cardio workouts if you’ll be skiing downhill, and longer strides and more rhythmic movements to create aerobic conditioning if you’re a cross-country skier. Focus on building an aerobic base your first two weeks, then move to sprints as you near your ski time.
A Gazelle exercise machine is a good choice for developing muscular endurance for cross-country skiing because it uses a similar motion.
Explosive & Reactive Power Training
You use explosive power when you make one quick movement, such as jumping, and reactive power when you combine two muscle movements, such as during kicking and turning. Whether you ski downhill or cross-country, you’ll emphasize reactive power more than explosive power, so exercises that require you to coordinate up-and-down leg movements should form the bulk of your power training.
Start with explosive power exercises like squats, box jumps, deadlifts and box squats your first week. Move to reactive power exercises such as quick lunges, reactive squats, skipping and using a rowing machine. For box jumps, place a platform slightly lower than knee-height in front of you and jump onto it with both feet. Repeat six times. Squats mirror the sitting position you take skiing downhill. Lower and raise yourself slowly for explosive power. Use less weight, lower yourself less and jump up for reactive power squats.
Strengthen your obliques the month before you ski to help you turn when you’re going downhill and assist your legs as you propel yourself cross-country. Your obliques are located on the sides of your stomach area. Work them using exercises such as Russian twists, oblique crunches, bicycle kicks and across-body cable pulls.
Perform Russian twists standing or sitting, hold a weight at arms’ length and slowly turning side to side. To perform bicycle kicks, g et into a crunch position on the floor with your shoulders off the ground and knees pulled toward you. Reach toward your left knee with your right hand as you kick your leg forward, repeating this cycling movement 10 to 12 times.
Start with aerobic, explosive and core exercises during your first 10 days of exercise, regardless of what type of skiing you’ll be doing. Work at a steady pace to build cardio stamina and muscular endurance. Begin mimicking the movements you’ll make during skiing after 10 days, with more of an emphasis on reactive power exercises. Add interval cardio training, using a pattern of working hard for one to two minutes, followed by a two- or three-minute break, if you’re a downhill skier.