As a Personal Trainer for the past decade, I've spent a good amount of time attempting to design the best ski workout for men and women.
Normally, when I'm contacted by someone interested in getting ready to hit the powder, I ask them about their current leg training exercises, core training exercises, flexibility exercise program, and any injuries they may have.
Most of the time, the exercises they are doing are actually increasing their risk of injury.
Exercises like wall sits and endless crunches need to be put on the shelf. They may aggravate joint pain (especially in the knees and lower back) and may hinder your ability to recruit and activate the right muscles that will help you ski without aches and pains.
To help you prepare for your next ski trip, I'm including 3 leg training exercises for skiers. I've taken these exercises directly from my Off-Season Ski Program, a fitness e-book download appropriate for men and women of any age.
Get Ready for the Best Ski Workouts
Ski Exercise #1 - Walking Lunges
There's nothing too fancy about this one (we get to those later), but it is an important leg training exercise for recruiting the muscle fibers of the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
The stronger these 3 muscle groups are, the easier it will be for you to cushion your landings and hold your skiing posture for longer periods of time.
The walking lunge will be performed by taking a large step forward and reaching toward your sneaker.
Take special care that your front knee does not move forward beyond the plane of your toes.
As many of you will have various ranges of motion and mobility, only drop as low as is comfortable for you.
Ski Exercise #2 - Lateral Leaps
The lateral leap exercise helps with strengthening the outside of the hip and forcing you to practice cushioning your landings as you move from side-to-side.
Level 1 will be performed by starting off in a balance position while in a slight crouch while on the outside leg. Take a large step out to the side, shift your weight to that foot, secure your balance and repeat.
In Level 2 you'll leap from side-to-side rather than stepping.
Ski Exercise #3 - Skier (Runner) Stretch
This is a stretch often used by runners, but is part of the secret to being able to enjoy skiing for more than just one full day.
The focus here is on the mobility of your hip. The better movement you have here, the less stress there will be on your lower back.
Start this stretch from a kneeling position.
Take one big step up bringing your foot outside the hands.
Slide your opposite knee back and then slowly lower your elbow close to your ankle.
How to Use Your Ski Exercises In Your Fitness Program
Remember, if you're not currently engaged in a fitness program, you should consult your physician before starting one. If you're "cleared for takeoff", then you'll want to include these lower body exercises and stretches at least twice per week as in the full version of the Off-Season Ski Program.
Be sure to start long before your ski trip so that you'll actually be able to enjoy the benefits of your hard work in the gym (or at home).