3 Off-Season Exercises to Build Your Best Ski Self

Want to start getting into your best shape for the ski season right now? We asked PSIA-AASI Eastern Division member and author of Be Fit to Ski Sue Kramer to share her three favorite off-season exercises so you can build your best ski-self.

Here’s her go-to workout:

1. Swiss Ball Plank

Place the ball on the ground and walk your feet into the plank position with your arms at 90 degrees to the floor. From this position the following exercises will develop core strength. Adjust the amount of difficulty by changing the number of reps and sets (volume) as well as type of exercise (intensity).

a.  Roll the ball forward by about 30 degrees and then back to the starting position, 8-20 times per set.

b.  Roll the ball at a 30-degree angle to the right and then to the left, 8-20 times per set.

c.  Roll the ball at a 30 angle to the right, hold for 5 seconds and then make tiny circles. Do this 5-10 times and repeat this to the left side. One set.

d.  From the starting plank position, do push-ups. Focus on keeping the ball directly under the shoulders and moving slowly down and up. A set consists of 5-20 reps.

2. Squat Kicks

Start out with the feet more than shoulder width apart and slightly turned outward. Hold a ski pole, wooden dowel or weighted bar horizontally at shoulder height throughout the exercise.

a.  Squat down as low as is comfortable (Position 1) and maintain lumbar curvature. From Position 1, shift weight toward one leg, rise up and kick the lighter leg forward. Switch sides. One set consists of 8-15 kicks to each side.

b.  Begin with a Squat Kick. From the kick, step diagonally forward into a diagonal lunge position. Bring other leg back into Position 1. Repeat to other side. A set consists of 5-10 to each side.

3. Balancing Act

Single-leg exercises have been shown to reduce one’s chances of knee injury by improving the sensitivity of receptors in muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. The premise is to use light weights, and start out by standing on one leg, then graduate to balancing on a balance disk, and then to a BOSU ball.

a.  Stand on one leg and do basic arm strengthening exercises like bicep curls, overhead press and forward press. (For the adventurous skier who likes skiing trees or bumps, having a healthy shoulder joint is beneficial in the event of a mild brush up with a tree or shoulder-first tumble).

b.  Before graduating to the balance disk or BOSU ball, repeat the same routine but add a knee bend with each repetition. The reps and sets should be as you’d normally do them. I do up to 15 reps per set.

c.   Another variation is to do these exercises with your eyes closed. Without visual references, sensory receptors are challenged to maintain balance.

See more exercises, and find out how you can order a signed copy of Be Fit to Ski, A Complete Guide to Alpine Skiing Fitness.