Most holiday skiers expect their bodies to perform at their best on a ski slope even if they spend only a couple of weeks on one every year. This hardly gives you time to build up ski-specific strength, which means some creative thinking in the weights room is needed. "I find that the big, compound exercises such as the squat are best for building strength," says Angus Morison. "There are ways to make them more ski-specific, such as upping the reps for more endurance."
Knees are traditional weak spots for skiers, but that's another reason to do compound moves because your knees, ankles and hips will be trained to stabilise themselves under heavy loads. "I’m one of the few skiers not to have a history of knee trouble," says Morison.
Add upper-body work into the mix and you’ll call on the core to transmit force and stabilise the moves, allowing your whole body to absorb impacts rather than just your legs and lower back.
Start doing the three moves in the Skicross Gym Workout in the gym a month before you go skiing. We also have ski exercises to get you ready for the slopes and knee-strengthening exercises to add to your training routine.
Skicross Gym Workout
1 Explosive bent-over row
Sets 3 Reps 10
- Bend over at the hips and let the bar hang down.
- Draw back your shoulder blades.
- Pull the bar to your chest explosively.
Morison says: "This dynamic move trains the fast-twitch fibres in your back for split-second changes in direction and impact when you’re hammering down the piste."
2 Squat 21s
Sets 3 Reps 7
- Draw your shoulder blades together, then lower into a full squat for seven reps.
- Go into half-squats for seven reps, then do seven more full squats.
- Keep your knees in line with your feet and push back up through your heels.
Morison says: "Turning this classic move into a 21-rep thigh-stripper will help you develop strength endurance and allow you to stay strong in jumps and through mogul fields."
3 Close-stance deadlift
Sets 4 Reps 10
- Keep your back flat and your shoulder blades retracted.
- Keep your core braced throughout.
- Start the lift by pushing with your glutes and push up through your heels, keeping the bar close to your shins.
Morison says: "This is a great skiing-specific strength builder because your feet are in a skiing stance but you can still lift a heavy weight for good gains."
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.
Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.