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8 Strength Training Exercises for Skiers

Own the Slopes This Winter with 8 Strength Training Moves

Before you hit the slopes this season, it's smart to add some strategic Cybex strength training to your gym routine - it can make the difference between a ski season that lasts until spring and one that lasts until lunch.

Lower Body Skier Workout

Build the muscles that will get you down the hill

“You should start challenging yourself aerobically and building the big muscles that’ll get you down the hill.” - Pip Hunt, pro skier and trainer six year competitor on the Freeskiing World Tour (outsideonline.com)

Working on your glutes and quads will help you build stamina and hold your position, making your runs more efficient and enjoyable.

Plus, for more advanced skiers, it will help you “develop explosiveness so you can ski fast and push hard on your turns,” says Alex Moore, high performance strength and conditioning coordinator at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

Hamstring strength is also important for stabilizing the knee joint and reducing the risk of ACL injuries, which tend to happen when you are out of position or tired.

Muscles to Exercise for the Mountain

Lower body muscles for squatting, balance, rhythmic movements

Why Workout for Skiing & Snowboarding?

  • Ski more powerfully
  • Increase stamina, hold form
  • Enjoy longer runs and fuller ski days
  • Be less prone to injuries
  • Better able to absorb shocks going over bumps
  • Prevents wear and tear on knees

4 Lower Body Builders to Try

  1. Leg Press: Using body weight, work up to 2 minutes of continuous repetitions 
  2. Leg Curls: 3 sets of 15-20 reps 
  3. Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 15 - 20 reps 
  4. Calf Machine: 2 sets of 15 - 20 reps

“Two visits to the gym or a single jog around the block in the week before departure isn't enough preparation. To ski well your body demands the use of muscles that are seldom used in everyday life.” - Julian Griffiths, BASI trainer and owner of European Snowsport (Ultimate-Ski.com)

Upper Body Exercises for Skiers

Increase your power and control

Upper body strength is essential for maintaining control, balance and power. Think of it as your steering system.

"If you stay forward and in control, you drastically decrease your chances of hurting yourself or your knees." - Brant Moles, professional skier and coach (MensFitness.com)

Training this area will help you master your turns, dodge trees and other skiers, and avoid the injuries — shoulders, back, arms — that result from falling. You’ll also look a whole lot better coming down the slopes if your arms aren’t flailing and your skis aren’t controlling you. 

Muscles to Exercise

Upper body poling for arms, torso and back

Why Exercise the Upper Body for Better Skiing & Snowboarding

  • Improved balance
  • Greater power
  • More control
  • Prevent injuries

4 Upper Body Builders to Try

  1. Pulldown: 3 sets of 8-12 rep
  2. Chest Press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  3. Rotary Torso: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  4. Back Extension: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Cybex helps you do what you love - longer, stronger, safer, smarter. Train now and all through ski season to make the most of those perfect powder days.

Ski & Snowboard Exercises from Cybex

The Cybex Research Institute presents exercises that will help prepare a skier or snowboarder for success this winter.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVVrhC7fbjk

Try Other CRI-Approved Workouts

Video Transcription

Wall Squat on the Bravo Functional Trainer

We're going to look at an exercise that's a new take on an old standard. If you remember we used to do wall squats as a way to develop some endurance in our quads. Well we're going to use the Cybex Bravo Functional Trainer in a new version of the wall squat.

So Bret is going to show you how to adjust the arms. The first thing he's going to do is take the handle and put it into a vertical position, then lower it as far as he can toward the floor which on the vertical support is number 15. Next he's going to take the support pad and set it in the lowest position with the pad fully retracted.

Now Brett's going to find his wall squat position, grabbing the handles and getting into a nice tall stable posture with his upper body. And we're going to do what's called the reciprocal motion here. So we are going to swing the right arm up and then as the right arm comes down the left arm comes up. So here we're working the shoulder muscles in a nice posture, and I'll bet if he does this for another 30 seconds those quads are really going to start to burn. Great endurance for the legs, good strength building for the upper body for good overall exercise. Especially if you're a Nordic skier, you'll see how this pattern replicates some of that motion.

Workout for Mogul Skiers

For all of you mogul skiers there's maybe just one thing that you complain about at the end of the day and that's your aching back. You know we take a lot of beating and pounding when we're out there skiing in the bumps and one thing that you can do is to work the posterior chain of your back muscles. A great exercise for that is a Superman Exercise or an Alternating Superman, and we can do that on the Bravo Functional Train in a standing position.

Placing the support pad in the low setting in front of the leg hold the handle with one hand and put an ankle cuff on the opposite ankle. You'll notice that the handles are in the lowest and inside horizontal positions and that will enable him to smoothly do this movement. So what he's going to do is, standing on his left leg, he's going to raise his left arm above his head and at the same time pull his leg back into extension.

This is a Standing Superman Exercise on the Bravo Functional Trainer.

Using a Leg Press for Skiing & Snowboarding

The Eagle Leg Press is probably one of the best devices you have at your disposal to get your legs not only stronger but more powerful and building more endurance. But the first thing we want to do is show you ways that you can get set up in this machine that will really take advantage of what it has to offer and get you ready for what you want to do.

The first thing is the adjustable back support. It has five settings on it, and you could lean it all the way back, which is kind of comfortable, but it would put you in more of an upright position. So what we want you to do is set it in the middle or even a little bit further forward and that's going to get your spine at an angle relative to your body. That's similar to what you're going to do out of snow.

The next thing that you want to do is once you adjust the position of your foot plate to get a comfortable starting position for your knees, you want to figure out where you want to put your feet vertically on the foot plate. If you bring your toes up higher towards the top with a plate, that's going to work your glutes and your hips a little bit more. And if you bring your feet lower down on to the plate, that's really going to focus the attention on your quad. So if you're really looking to build quad strength and endurance this may be the way you want to do it.

The last consideration is how wide your feet should be. Think about it if you're a skier: how wide are your feet on the snow? That's how you want to position your feet on the foot plate here, maybe a little bit narrower, but if you're a boarder your feet tend to be a little bit wider. So Brett's going to move his feet apart a little bit and that's going to replicate that boarding position. Just getting yourself set-up right on this machine is going to make the exercises that much more effective.

Plyometrics for Improved Leg Power

Hey skiers and riders, we're talking about developing leg strength, power and endurance, and one great way to improve your leg power is with plyometrics and a great way to do that is on the Eagle Leg Press. The Eagle Leg Press allows you to even do jumping exercises, which can really improve your leg power. So Brett here is going to show you how to do some plyometrics on the Eagle Leg Press. A couple of things I want you to notice is he can really push off of the foot plate, and, when you land, you're going to land on the balls of your feet, make that landing nice and soft.

Do this one day a week heading into ski and snowboard season and you're going to be in really good shape for the snow.

Build Leg Endurance for the Slopes

All right, skiers and boarders, we're back on the Eagle Leg Press and we're talking about a basic leg press exercise for muscular endurance. We know that one thing that happens is as we get tired our legs get really shaky and we want to build some endurance so that we can get out there and last the whole day long.

You know, when we think about endurance exercises, a lot of the times we're thinking reps: 15 reps, 20 reps. Well how long does that take? Maybe 20 or 30 seconds. That would be a pretty short run if you're on the hill and you're trying to get from top to bottom. So how long does it take you to get from the top to the bottom. Maybe a minute? Maybe a little bit longer? Well, that's how you need to be thinking about endurance training on the Eagle Leg Press: don't think reps, think time. You're going to set the machine at your body weight and start with a minute. I think Bret here has been going for about two minutes so far. Start with a minute at bodyweight, work up to a minute and a half, work up to two minutes. How long can you go? If you can do three minutes at your body weight, then you're building endurance for the snow.

Control Your Posture While Skiing & Snowboarding

One of the most important muscle groups that's often overlooked are the plantar flexors, the gastrocnemius and soleus - those are the muscles that help us get up on our toes. You know, they're really important because when we're digging in, skiing or boarding, it's those muscles that help control our posture and help us apply force to the skis and snowboard.

Well the Eagle Calf Machine is a great tool for developing the plantar flexors, but we're going to do it with a twist. Brett here is set up in the machine and, as you can see, instead of having his knees straight, his knees are bent and this replicates the position you'll be in when you're on your skis or snowboard. From here, he's going to push forward from his ankles, working his plantar flexors and, you know, this is like a seated heel raise, but we do that on the Eagle Calf Machine and you can really load this up and get an effective exercise for those calf muscles and you'll appreciate it after a day on the snow.