5 best gym exercises to stay in shape during ski off-season

December 4, 2014

It's easy to lose muscle mass when not active on the slopes. How can you stay fit? With these five best gym exercises to stay in shape during the ski off-season.

5 best gym exercises to stay in shape during ski off-season

Incorporating some easy-to-do exercises into your regular gym routine is a great way of keeping your muscle tone firm during the ski off-season. You'll be ready to hit the slopes in tip-top shape when the next season's first snowfall arrives.

1. Single leg eccentric leg press

This exercise involves lowering weights on a leg press machine with one foot, but lifting the weight back up with both feet.

  • Don't use the maximum weight your legs can carry, but rather about half of what your maximum is for both legs.

Because skiing has a lot of eccentric work, this exercise boosts your stability and endurance during the off-season. Maintaining the strength you gained during ski season is essential for progression the following year. It also helps you avoid potential injuries by keeping your muscles strong and keeping your movements under control on the slopes.

2. Pump squats with medicine balls

This exercise involves doing squats while you clutch a medicine ball to your chest.

  • Make sure you get low enough and do quick squats, moving up and down an inch or so each time.

Since squatting is a huge part of skiing, building these muscles is crucial to maintaining good form. Next ski season, your lower back and legs will thank you for the care you’ve taken throughout the year.

3. The reverse treadmill

Keeping up your cardio on the treadmill is important as well. Using a treadmill is recommended in order to keep your heart ready for any strenuous activity. However, for skiers, the treadmill can be beneficial in another way.

  • Hop on the treadmill and slowly walk backwards. Don’t do it for the cardio benefits like you usually would, but work at a slower pace.
  • Squat so your knees are nearly 90 degrees as you pace backwards. If you need to rely on the armrests at first, that’s completely okay. This mimics the stance you take while skiing and is beneficial to keeping your muscles sturdy and improving your balance.
  • The stance and workout should take the same toll on your muscles that leaning into the hill does.

4. Jump squats

This exercise is great for the quick exertion you need when skiing a challenging hill.

  • Once again, have your knees and ankles the width of your shoulders.
  • Next, squat down, then jump to straighten out in the air. Try to land lightly on your feet.

5. Romanian deadlift

Increasing your hamstring strength is going to help you on the slopes. You’ll feel the difference on the first day. In order to do the Romanian Deadlift you should:

  • Start with adding weight to the barbell that you’re comfortable with.
  • Put your ankles against the barbell, with your ankles positioned directly under your shoulders.
  • Grab the bar with your hands over it, then lift to your thighs, without using any arm strength. Make sure your hips, back and knees are slightly bent.
  • Then, pull up some more and lock your position—before letting the weight drop.

Whether you're a novice or seasoned skier, keeping up your physical strength and stamina is a good way to spend less time getting back in the fitness game at the beginning of each skiing season. These skiing exercises will help you be in the best possible skiing condition by the time snow is falling. What's more, they'll help to prevent muscle and tendon injuries. Plus they'll enable your body to heal faster should an injury occur.

As always, if you're unsure about how to do these exercises, ask a trainer at your gym. Done incorrectly, these exercises have potential to do more harm than good. As well, if you're over 40, you may want to consult your family doctor beforehand.

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