Training tips for your skiing holiday

Senior Physiotherapist at Bupa UK
09 November 2016

If you’re planning to hit the mountains for a spot of skiing this winter, it’s worth thinking about your fitness before you go. Being physically prepared can help you make the most of your holiday and reduce your risk of injury. Skiing is very demanding physically, especially on your legs, so it’s a good idea to strengthen some specific muscles before you hit the slopes so you can get the most out of your holiday. I used to live and work in a ski resort so I know this first hand!

In addition to the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week, experts also advise that you do exercises to increase your muscle strength on at least two of these days. Below are five exercises to incorporate into your normal workout routine or to do regularly at home, in the months running up to your skiing holiday.

An image showing two friends going skiing

1. Bodyweight squats

Standing with your legs shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and slowly lower your body down as far as is comfortable. Try to keep your heels down as if they are strapped into your ski or snowboard boots. Push you weight through your heels rather than through your knees. Hold this position for a five counts, then push through your heels and stand up straight. Repeat. Skiers need strong quadriceps muscles, so squats are brilliant for building this strength.

Infographic of bodyweight squats from Bupa

2. Side squats

Skiing is all about turning and going sideways, not straight down the mountain. Because of this, you need strong muscles on the outside of your legs – these are called your abductors. Keeping your back straight and facing forwards, lunge sideways slowly, lowering your body down onto one leg. Try and keep your knee facing straight ahead and control the movement slowly. Go down only as far as you feel comfortable, supporting your weight with your hand on your knee if you need to. Push back to the standing position and then lunge to the opposite side.

Infographic of side squats from Bupa

3. Spinal twist

Being flexible will help you get more out of your skiing. Lying on your back, raise one leg. Keeping your knee as straight as possible, slowly rotate that leg to one side, across your body to meet the floor. Keep both shoulders on the floor and try and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Infographic of spinal twist from Bupa

4. Skipping rope

Jumps, moguls and off-piste skiing require both cardiovascular fitness and strength, so have a search in the loft for that old skipping rope and get started! To increase your fitness, you may also want to give HIIT (high intensity interval training) a go. We have videos for beginner, intermediate and advanced level.

Infographic of skipping from Bupa

5. Single leg jumps

Mark out a cross on the floor, either with tape or string. Stand on one foot and jump criss-cross to each corner. Repeat on the opposite leg. Varying the speed and the distance of the hop will help to develop good balance and agility. Because skiing is all about quick reactions, this blog exercise will improve your balance and agility, so hop to it!

Infographic of single leg jumps from Bupa

Sally Davies
Senior Physiotherapist at Bupa UK

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