Resolutions to be a better skier? 11 Exercises to Boost Your Ski Fitness

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If you’ve ever been to Jackson, then you know this place is chocked full of strong men and women.  We spend as much time as possible focusing on our bodies so that we can do the sports and activities we love so much.  We all know we need exercise, but spending at least 1 hour each week focusing on exercises that are dedicated to your sport will help your body transfer the training when you need it most.  These 11 exercises will not only get your muscles trained , but will help your mind map these body movements into becoming a stronger and better skier.


These exercises were curated by Erin Corbett and Nick Krauss from Core Pilates in Jackson, WY.  These two exercise gurus run ski fitness classes weekly, (M, W at 5:30), and pilates all day every day.  If you’re only in town for a week, don’t be shy, CORE has drop in classes throughout the day.  Check out their website here, Core Pilates of Jackson Hole.  These exercises are focused in a pilates studio, but each exercise has descriptions for those of you who are using traditional gym equipment.

Warm up:

Erin recommends a traditional Pilates warm up to get your core engaged, starting with pelvic curls, spine twist, and single then double leg stretch.

Nick likes to do what he calls a dynamic warm up.  These are consecutive mind body focused isotonic movements. You can find out more details on that warm up here.

1. Scapula Squeeze:

Grab a resistance band or two.  Set your shoulder blades flat along your back, move your shoulders away from your ears and pull your arms apart from each other.  Muscle Focus: (Rhomboids) between the shoulder blades.  This should help combat computer hunch, and get your arms and upper body ready for an athletic stance and some well placed poling action.

ski fitness - 272.  Range of Motion Bosu Ball Foot Circles

Place one foot in the center of a bosu ball, and slowly tilt the ball downward in a circular motion towards the floor.  Do the fullest circles that you can with each foot, try to do 10 circles with each foot.  This exercise will help you gain ankle strength so your uphill ski can carve just as hard as your downhill ski.


3.  Ladder Work

This is hopscotch on steroids.  With one foot at a time jump back and forth in and out of the ladder as you move forward step by step.  This is also working on ankle stability and leg strength.  Work up to doing this for 2 minutes.

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4.  Single leg dead lift

Grab a rotating disc for this exercise to help with core strength, or if you don’t have one available, just do it without the disc.  With arms overhead, stabilize one leg and lift your other leg and upper body parallel to the floor for 30 seconds on each side.  This will work on gluteus mead strength, and core with the disc.  This will give your booty some of that extended strength to make it down the hobacks in one shot.

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5.  Single Leg Split Squat

Yup, this is a pretty classic torture device for skiers and their bootys.  Grab some weights you can hold above your head for a minute, a stability ball, and get ready.  Balance one leg behind you on the ball, and bring the weights above your head for some single leg squats.  Be sure your knee doesn’t go in front of your toes, you should feel inner thigh and gluteus. Work up to 10 squats on each leg.

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6. Lunge to pistol squats, I dare you!

This method uses a pilates chair to maintain the core engagement, and keep your hamstrings, glutes, and pelvic stable.  You could use a box to step onto, while maintaining your back and body in a straight line over your back leg.  Pistol squats are seriously hard, but the pay off with leg strength is big. Work up to 10 lunges on each side, and pistol squat follow through if you can.


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Pistol Squats:

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7.  Skating

If you don’t have access to a reformer, you can step on towels, paper plates or anything that will slide on the gym floor.  Squat down like a speed skater while keeping a flat back, booty out, and skate your legs away from your center line, and then back in.  Muscle focus are the gluts, and the ski pay off is lateral strength for a stronger turn.  

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8.  Side Splits

These can again be mimicked with a towel, plate, or anything that slides on the gym floor.  Slide one foot away as the other stays in the same place.  These will engage your inner thighs as you slowly move your legs back towards each other.  This will help you make sure that one ski doesn’t get away from you in the deep pow.

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9. Jump board, or Jumping Squats.

The jump board or jump squat is a great way to get your legs firing with the right muscles for skiing.  A jump board puts gravity on your side, and allows you to properly engage your core while jumping, and lets you use the right muscles without the pain of gravity on your knees.  If you don’t have access to a jump board, doing jumping squats will suffice.  You know the drill, squat, then pop up as high as you can, try landing toe, ball, heel on the way down to lessen the blow on your knees.  ski fitness - 23_Fotor_Collage10.  Side overs

The sole purpose of these to get your obliques to fire while turning.  These can be done on a stability ball, or in any environment when your feet are steady, and only your upper body moves.resized side overs ski fitness11.  Jumping Beans Bosu Ball

These are so fun, and so hard.  Jump from ball to ball trying only to land on one foot, this is a more dynamic movement for quads, gluts, hamstrings, calves, core, everything! This exercise mimics the motion of making each turn and will get your legs seriously ready for action!  Time yourself on this exercise and work on increasing speed in a 2 minute time period.  resizedski fitness - 01_Fotor_CollageFinally it’s time to stretch.  Nick recommends Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), which is 2 second intervals of stretching and flexing that muscle.  Find out more about AIS here, or call CORE at (307) 413-0267 and get training from a specialist. Fitness, stretching, and focusing on our bodies is SO important for all skiers, simply focusing our breath, giving time, and energy towards our bodies is something that we could all spend more time on.  Happy 2015, and may this be your best year yet!


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