Fitness Articles

Workouts for Skiers and Snowboarders

10 Sport-Specific Workouts for the Winter Season!

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Snow enthusiasts everywhere are counting down the days until they can hit the slopes. Both skiing and snowboarding are fun and exciting winter pursuits. But these demanding physical activities also pose high risks. Without proper training, you won't be able to keep up with your friends. Or worse, you'll suffer an injury that'll put you on the sidelines for the whole season. But with proper preparation, ideally starting 6-12 weeks before you hit the mountain, you can improve your balance, coordination and endurance while reducing your risk of injury. Our workout plan will help you get in shape for the season—and stay that way until the snow melts.

There are four fitness components that every skier and snowboarder should incorporate into his or her workout plan. Here's what you need to know about each one:

1. Core Training
Both skiing and snowboarding rely heavily on balance and core strength, which help reduce your risk of falls, improve your posture and enhance your performance. Your core comprises your abdominals, obliques, lower back and hips, which you can strengthen with targeted strength training exercises. These muscles also help your body remain stable and balanced during a variety of activities. In addition to strengthening your core muscles, it's a good idea to perform specific balance training exercises. These can range from simple beginner exercises like balancing on one foot to advanced moves involving a stability ball, BOSU ball or balance board. Train your core muscles 2-3 times per week (both pre-season and during the winter), trying at least one balancing exercise per session. Rest for one day between core workouts to allow those muscles to recover and repair. Strengthen your core and improve your balance with any one of these "snow" workouts: 2. Strength Training
Besides using your core, snow sports rely heavily on strong muscles and joints—especially in the lower body. The body mechanics of snowboarding and skiing involve using the knee and hip joints repetitively, which means that the muscles surrounding those joints (hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, and more) need to be strong and have endurance. Skiers also need upper body strength in the triceps, shoulders, and back because of their use of ski poles. One technique that may help skiers and snowboarders build the both strength and endurance in these muscle groups: Use lighter to medium resistance and a higher number of repetitions to help train your muscles for strength and endurance that these sports require. But "high reps" doesn't mean 50-100 repetitions with three pounds of weight. You should still pick a weight that is challenging enough to fatigue your muscles within 10-15 reps. To help build greater strength and endurance, drop the weight by 20%, for example, after you've reached failure and try to squeeze out a few more reps. Or you could try supersets, which means trying two to three different exercises for the same muscle group in a row (without resting), such as squats followed by lunges followed by a leg press. Strength train these specific muscle groups 2-3 times per week (both pre-season and during the winter). The workouts below feature sport-specific exercises that you can add to a well-rounded strength training program:
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • For those of you who have tried these workouts Does anybody think these workouts would be good for non skiers or snowboarders? - 5/15/2016 2:01:56 AM
  • Nice. I was looking for snowboarding workouts. - 2/11/2014 10:22:14 PM
  • Thanks for the article. But don't do either. - 9/12/2013 7:44:16 PM
  • Starting late with training but looking forward to getting back on my board in the next couple of weeks. Major workout even taking it easy.... - 1/1/2013 8:47:29 PM
  • I'll have to wait til NEXT Ski season to be in good enough shape to ski. It was brutal last time I tried. I so love the feeling of heading down the hill, but the pain and weakness of being this overweight with fibromyalgia made it impossible.

    I WANT to get back on the slopes! I will get back on the slopes!

    Thanks for one more reminder of why I'm working so hard on getting into shape.

    - 12/13/2011 11:28:05 PM
  • Skiing in the winter is my THING! Thanks so much for this informative article!! - 1/6/2009 8:59:43 AM
    This is GREAT! I just moved to Colorado and haven't gotten to ski in years and can't wait - problem... I haven't skiied in years! haha... and I've got an extra 40 lbs now... so these are fantastic and I will be adding them into my strength and cadio workouts! - 11/25/2008 10:50:20 AM
  • I would think those of us looking forward to winter activities are probably already doing these things.
    Unfortunately, I'm getting a total knee replacement in December (I'm only 30), so I'll be missing out on X-country skiing this season. My workouts are limited to swimming and pilates.
    With my new knee, though, I'm going to rock out ski season next year. Maybe I'll actually do downhill! - 10/17/2008 1:19:03 AM
  • This is perfect. I love to ski and was looking for a workout to help me get prepared for the season. - 10/16/2008 10:20:41 AM
  • Great article. I think YOGA is so important in being a fit person. - 10/14/2008 7:01:45 PM

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