The Ultimate Guide to Getting Ski Fit
Skiing is a lot of fun, but it’s also a physically demanding sport, and a day on the slopes will give your body a good workout.
Skiing is a lot of fun, but it’s also a physically demanding sport, and a day on the slopes will give your body a good workout. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a expert skier, your skiing can always be improved if you have a plan for getting yourself fit and ready for the slopes before you go, as well as while you’re there.
A key aspect of skiing is the physical impact on your core, hips, and legs, which you’ll be working constantly as you work your way down the mountains. Strengthening these key areas, for example, is a great way to improve your ability to ski without actually skiing, and the same goes for many other things, like cardio work, eating right, stretching and practicing activities that mimic the action of skiing.
But getting in top shape for your skiing holiday need not be daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a complete guide on everything you can do to best prepare yourself to ski and get ski fit, from the moment you book your trip until you finish your last run, so you can be sure you’ve ticked every box. Covering cardio, weight loss, strength training, eating right, similar activities, balance, and warm-ups, we’ve got every base covered. Click on a section to jump straight there.
- Section 1 – Improve Cardiovascular Health
- Section 2 – Lose Weight
- PRO TIP
- Section 3 – Strength Training
- Section 4 – Eating Well
- PRO TIP
- Section 5 – Similar Sports
- Section 6 – Balance & Flexibility
- Section 7 – Warming Up & Down
Probably the easiest and most accessible thing you can do to get your body ready for the slopes is to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular health is a core aspect of overall wellness and working on it means you can spend more time skiing and enjoying yourself, and less time resting. And not only that, you’ll also find that it’s easier to get up the next day, as you need less time to recover.
The best ways to increase cardiovascular health are activities like running, cycling (whether it’s stationary or on the roads), rowing and cross training.
Check out these articles for more info:
- Runner's World's Get-Going Guide to Running
- The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Bicycling
- Concept2’s Training Guide to Indoor Rowing
- A Beginner's Guide to Cross Training
Losing weight might seem a bit obvious, and it certainly goes hand in hand with your cardio work, but it can have a huge effect on your overall physical ability. A combination of eating well and exercising regularly will mean you feel fitter and sharper, and can better manage your balance and bodyweight – crucial as you’ll be swerving and cutting through the powder.
Just cutting one thing out of your diet, and adding some more activity to your day 2-3 times a week can have a noticeable positive impact. For some ideas about what to do, check out these articles:
- Lose Weight Fast: How to Do It Safely
- 5 Weight Loss Tips for Any Time of Year
- NHS: Set Your Weight Loss Goal
- Weight Loss: Strategies for Success
"I can't rate the Skifit App highly enough. I recommend it to all my clients and I do it myself regularly from September onwards." - BeFitApps.com - Alison Culshaw | Professional Ski Instructor, Off Piste Performance
We all know what the soreness feels like when you use muscles that haven’t been taken for a spin for a long time. If you’re serious about getting your body ready for the demands of skiing, then targeted muscle training is something to look at.
Skiing (along with many similar sports like ice-skating) requires sustained effort from your ankles, knees, quads, glutes, and core, so working out and increasing strength in these areas will mean you’re a much more athletic skier, capable of skiing better, skiing longer, and recovering faster.
Mix these exercises into your routine to get your muscles ready for the powder:
- Breaking Muscle's Three Weeks to Ski
- Workout Circuit to Improve Skiing
- WeLove2Ski's Ski Fitness Guide
- 5 Best Gym Exercises to Prep You For the Slopes
Also worth a look:
Getting your diet right isn’t just done for losing weight. If you make sure your body gets a good balanced diet of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, you’ll go a long way to improving your overall athletic ability, whether you’re overeating or undereating. Another big side you’ll impact is your recovery after exercising, meaning you can train harder each time.
For some simple advice on what to eat, and how to eat, here are some good resources:
And for a good idea of how to eat whilst you’re out there:
"Get a bike. Not an electric bike! People who cycle a lot are consistently the ones who turn up to ski in the best shape." - Mark Seaton | International Mountain & Ski Guide, MarkSeaton.com
One of the best ways, and often one of the most overlooked ways, to get ready for lots of skiing is by practicing other sports that involve similar movement. Sports like ice-skating, surfing, rollerblading and skateboarding all engage your core, hips and legs to keep you stable and balanced, and are all great ways to mimic the action of skiing.
If skateboarding or rollerblading is a bit daunting just for some skiing prep, try going to your nearest ice rink and having a go at skating a few times – even just moderate practice will help your balance, and your confidence.
Check out these guides for more detail on how to practice similar sports:
- Top 10 Ice Skating Tips for Beginners
- Beginner's Guide to Surfing
- The Beginner's Guide to Inline Skating
- Beginner's Guide to Skateboarding
You might not think so, but stretching can have a hugely positive impact on your overall physical health, aside from the many mental benefits. Nowadays many top athletes turn to yoga to improve their balance, strength and flexibility, and to protect against injury.
For skiers, practicing yoga (or any similar stretching routine) will mean your muscles and joints are better able to recover from the stress of skiing, as well as reducing your chance of muscle strains or pulls. Even the pro skiers expect to fall every now and again, and one who regularly practices yoga will have a more flexible, less tense body, and will minimise the risk of injury.
For some specific advice on yoga poses for skiers, check out the below:
- 6 Yoga Poses for Skiers
- DOYOUYOGA's 10 Yoga Poses for Skiers
- 6 Yoga Exercises Every Skier Needs to Know
- Yoga for Skiing and Snowboarding
Once you finally arrive and are about to start skiing, it might be the last thing you want to do (and equally, after a great day on the mountain, your first thought might be to head to the bar) but a good warm up and warm down will both maximise optimise your time spent skiing, meaning you will be able to enjoy it much better.
Taking just ten minutes to warm up and stretch your key muscles before heading to the slopes, and doing the same after skiing, means you’ll perform better, last longer and you’ll be doing what you can to avoid injuring yourself.
Take a look at some of these guides to see what kind of warm up routines to try:
- Chemmy Alcott's Ski Fitness Warm-up Exercises
- Your Ski Coach's Daily Warm-up Routine
- Ski Fitness - The Warm-up
- Daily Pre-Snow Warm-up Exercises
Other handy resources: