Sports Injury & Physiotherapy Clinic

Pre-Season fitness training for skiing

This is the time of the year when people start to think about their annual ski trip. Even if you are heading off soon for your skiing holiday it’s not too late to start getting yourself fit for your trip.

Skiing is demanding on our cardiovascular system, the heart and lungs. Even more so adding the fact that you are at a higher altitude than normal, which adds to the loading on your body. It’s an all body work out for muscles and joints but of course predominantly for the legs.

In addition to this that to maximize your time away you might well be skiing from when the lifts open until the last run down. It would be unusual to spend 7 hours a day for six days in a row doing some intense exercise that you haven’t done for a year and think that you are prepared!

The following ideas on exercise and training will help you prepare better to get more out of your days, make you less tired when you are there and also prevent injury.

Cardiovascular training

Or fitness training for skiing is best attained through any exercise that elevates your heart rate and makes you breathe more deeply and rapidly. A progressive running programme, building up over the weeks is the best way. If you are not already a runner then start a walk run programme, examples of these can be found on the internet.

Biking, especially mountain biking will enhance your cardio vascular training as well as arm and leg strength and balance. Joining a spinning class or circuits class is a good idea if the weather is poor or your time is limited.

Strength training

The lower body is the most important particularly the quads, the muscles at the front of the thighs. Exercises to include are:

  • Squats: 3 sets of 10 reps. you can increase loading with weighted pack on your back.
  • Leg press; 3 sets of 10 reps. Increase resistance gradually
  • Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Calf raises: 3 sets of 10 reps. You can increase loading with weighted pack over time
  • Wall sit: 90 degree knee bend and old 1 minute increasing to 2
  • Leg curls: Hamstring strength with increasing weight. 3 sets 10 reps
  • Upper Body: Free weights or theraband can be used to provide resistance:
    • Biceps and triceps curls.
    • Push-ups

Core stability

The plank and side plank.

Support your weight on your elbows and feet and keep your body in a straight line.

Use an exercise gym ball and incorporate to all your other strength training.


Flexibility is paramount in injury prevention. When you have worked muscles they shorten adding to load on your joints. Try to incorporate this into your daily life not just following exercise. Pay particular attention to the muscle groups you have strengthened to regain length. Always stretch when you have warmed up. A 20 second hold with 3 stretches to each muscle group is good. Pay particular attention to the following:


Standing holding onto something for balance. Pull the ankle of one leg to your bum while keeping your thighs together and body straight. Pull the leg up behind.


Standing with one leg out on a low table in front with knee straight and bed forwards to feel the stretch. Repeat with other leg.


Standing with hands on wall and legs back behind with feet flat and facing forward, knees straight. Slowly push forward to increase the stretch.

Existing Injuries

If you have an existing injury or niggle then it’s important to get it sorted before you go, it will probably only get worse if not and spoil your trip.

Have a great time, ski safe and enjoy.

Contact us to book an appointment with Heather to get yourself ready for the ski season.

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