Skiers following a run down a mountain
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The best skiing fitness guide: Pre-ski exercises & tips to get you ready for the slopes

You’ve booked your lift pass, cleaned your boots, and checked that your salopettes still fit. But are you feeling fit enough to get the most out of your trip to the slopes – or are you worried you’ll be too exhausted to enjoy the après-ski?

With simple skiing exercises – in strength, cardio, and mobility – and some pre-ski prep tips, you’ll quickly gain the skiing fitness to slalom with ease, reduce the risk of injury, and experience daring descents without instantly feeling out of breath.

1. Start preparing several weeks out

When ski season finally arrives, you don’t want to cut your day short because of tired legs, or worse, get injured skiing out on the course. Setting aside two to three days out of your week to train for at least 30 minutes will help build up both your endurance and strength. Any amount of training before skiing can make a difference, but to really get in shape try training at least 6 to twelve weeks before you plan to hit the slopes.

2. The ski workout for strength

It’s easy to see that skiing and snowboarding are full-body workouts with a particular focus on lower-body strength. All those trips up and down the mountain will demand a lot from your glutes, quadriceps (front thighs), hamstrings, calves, and ankles. As such, the best exercises for skiing activate all of those muscles (as well as your arms) by mimicking the actions you take when you ski or snowboard. Incorporate the following into your workouts in the weeks leading up to your trip:

  • Walking lunges with weights in either hand: Lunge forward holding equal weights in each hand, ensuring the bending knee nearly touches the floor. Do this on alternate legs until you have completed 10 on each side, then repeat three times.
  • Squats with forward raise: Find a circular weight, dumbbell, or kettlebell that you will be comfortable lifting. Then squat down to a 90-degree position holding the weight in both hands. As you squat, raise your arms horizontally out in front of you. As you stand out of the squat, lower your arms back down. Repeat this 10 times for three sets.
  • Single arm row: Find a flat bench and place a dumbbell on either side. Place your right knee and hand onto the bench, ensuring your back is straight and parallel to the floor. Then pick up the weight with your left hand. Your starting position is when your left arm is out-stretched towards the floor. Pull up your arm to a 90-degree angle, thinking about pulling the elbow to the edge of your chest. Then release back down to your starting position. Repeat this 10-12 times on each of your left sides, then on your right side too; this is one complete set. Repeat each set three times.

3. Cardio for the mountain

A solid cardio regime to get your lungs and heart pumping will have you ready to carve up fresh powder. Choose activities like cycling, running, swimming, or interval training where you can raise and lower your heart rate like you would on the slopes. If you prefer to work out in a group, join a fun and challenging cardio class or find a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session near you. At David Lloyd Clubs your options include BLAZE, which combines cardio training with strength and combat skills, as well as IGN1TE, which will spark your body into life and get you in ski shape in no time.

4. Mobility for those smooth runs

Skiing and snowboarding are not only about strength and endurance. They also demand full-body coordination, fluid motions, and plenty of flexibility in the joints and muscles. That’s why mobility exercises are an important part of any ski trip preparation.

The key to effective mobility training is to focus on quality over quantity, and this is where an expert coach can really add value. Our experienced Personal Trainers know how to create bespoke training plans that not only incorporate functional, everyday movements for mobility but can also factor in your individual fitness goals – such as that imminent trip to the top of the mountain.

5. Make skiing fun for the whole family

Skiing is a great way to keep active and is something your whole family can enjoy together. If you are planning to take little ones with you on a ski holiday, there are things you can do ahead of time to get them prepared. Try building fun activities in your kids’ schedules that challenge them physically. Activities like school sports, swimming, biking, dance lessons, or fitness classes are all great ways to improve their strength and coordination. The key is to have kids choose activities they like and can keep up with year-round. Then when ski season comes around, your kids will have the skills and stamina they need for a full day on the slopes.

6. Ski at your best with good nutrition

We all look forward to relaxing and enjoying delicious food and drink après ski. But you should also think about how you can fuel up before you start your ski day. It’s a good idea to jump-start your metabolism with a breakfast packed with protein and carbohydrates to keep your energy up. Even bringing small snacks, like trail mix or granola bars, can help keep up your performance on the mountainside.

7. Do not forget rest and recovery

Whether you are an early riser or an afternoon skier, you need a good night’s sleep to keep your momentum up on the slopes. Showing up under-rested means you are more likely to make mistakes, or even injure yourself. Recovery is also equally important. Your muscles go through it after a full day skiing and will need time to recuperate. A trip to the sauna after skiing not only warms you up from the cold, but it can also reduce muscle soreness.

You can also use yoga and Pilates to stay nice and supple before and after your trip.  Gentle stretches do wonders at the end of each day skiing and leave you ready to go the next morning. Combining both good rest and recovery will help you stay energetic for an entire ski-filled weekend.
There’s no feeling like gliding down the slope, and it’s all the more enjoyable if you have the strength, cardio, and mobility to make the most of it. So, don’t wait around – quickly reach peak skiing fitness at your nearest David Lloyd Club.

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