How to get your legs in shape for skiing
Ski season is fast approaching, and so it’s time to start thinking about if your legs will be in good enough shape starting out this ski season.
Unless you live in or near a ski area, you likely only get 10 days or so maximum on the slopes each season. There’s no reason to be miserable for a few of those because your legs are not in shape!
Living in Colorado, I want to make sure that my fitness is up to par for this winter so that I can have an amazing time out in the mountains. We’re making it a point to be around this winter, and I want to enjoy it to the full.
Here is how I am getting my legs in shape for skiing this winter.
Understanding skiing fitness
Before I give you the circuit workout I have been doing that has been kicking my butt but is absolutely amazing, I want to help you understand the type of fitness you need to be targeting.
I am no physician or trainer, but I do enjoy learning about this stuff and applying it to my own life. This specific bit of knowledge I learned from a ski coach in Jackson, Wyoming via the magical internet.
There are two types of fitness:
Concentric fitness is focused on active strength. You are actively shortening the muscle in an attempt to break it down so that it can repair itself stronger. This is the curl part of bicep curls, where you actively bring the weight up.
Eccentric fitness is the type you need for skiing, where you can basically think of it as your muscle catching and lengthening. This is the letting down part of a bicep curl, where you are are resisting gravity.
In skiing, you are essentially catching yourself and reacting to the terrain instead of powering through. Because your knees are bent, you are in an almost constant state of squat, where you are holding up the rest of your body.
Hence, instead of working just on active concentric fitness you need to make sure you are doing eccentric strength training so that you will not be exhausted by the end of the day or multiple days.
Skiing leg strength training routine
I have been doing this training circuit for the last week. I consider myself in pretty decent shape, as we live in Colorado and do a lot of hiking. I also cycle 20-30 miles a week back and forth from the gym, so I use my legs a lot.
Here is the circuit:
- 10 standing squats (body weight)
- 10 lunges on each side
- 10 jump squats (jump then into a squat)
- 10 jump lunges on each side
This may not sound like a ton, but you will be sore afterwards. Do as many as you can with 30 seconds between each circuit. Because it will make you so sore, don’t go over 10 circuits per workout for your first week.
Once you are a week in, then step it up to 15 circuits with 30 seconds in between.
You’ve probably been doing squats for years, but in case you need a reminder:
The same with lunges. You have probably done these a lot, but here is a reminder. I put my hands on my hips to steady myself:
Just like a regular squat above, but you explode out of your squat to jump in the air then go directly back into a squat:
These are the ones that will really burn your buttocks and your hips:
Don’t overdo it
Like any new workout regiment, the important thing is to not overdo it. I recommend doing this workout 3 times per week and on your off days do an upper body workout (lifting, pullups, pushups) and aerobics.
While this circuit will get your heart pumping, nothing substitutes like a good run or time spent cycling.