Ski Fitness: At Home, Pre-Ski Workout

Whatever the state of your overall fitness, skiing uses muscle groups you don’t necessarily use in your everyday life and it’s never a bad idea to begin preparing your body a few weeks before you hit the slopes.

Do this workout a few times a week in the weeks leading up to your ski holiday and your legs will thank you when you outrun all your mates on the slopes and last a full day on the pistes without getting fatigued!


Whilst some people panic and have visions of grueling pain during workouts, rest assured that you don’t need a personal trainer or a gym membership in order to build strength to get the most of your ski season holidays.

This easy-to follow, at-home workout plan is designed by top physiotherapists at Bonne Santé Alps to be modular – meaning that you can adjust it to suit your current fitness levels – whatever they may be – and still see genuine improvements that will pay off in spades during your next ski holiday.

Whether skiing or snowboarding leg strength and knee stability are paramount and research shows that proper ski exercise preparations can help to prevent injury.

To adjust this fitness routine for your needs control not only the number of reps and sets you do but also the fluidity of each exercise – breaking one exercise down into multiple, separate movements can make it easier to perform without pushing yourself too far.

Many of the exercises target single legs independently, so there’s no excuse for having a weak left leg (and poor right turns on the pistes).

While this workout is a great place to start (and the optional burpees at the end will get your heart rate going), having good core strength and cardiovascular fitness will also go a long way to improve your skiing so make sure to check out our other ski-fitness workout routines here.


Today we’re going to show you a few exercises that you can do to strengthen up your legs and your knees before you come on your holiday on the slopes.


Squat-sit and hold

The first exercise we’re going to do today is a squat.

Start off with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forwards. Sit back like you’re sitting into a chair and bring your arms forward for balance.

You want to try and hold this for as long as you can. Maybe start at 30 seconds or 60 seconds before you come back up.

Tips to look out for are knees staying forwards, or slightly out to the side, and not letting your feet collapse in. So you want to keep your knees inside and forwards and bring your arms out in front.


Stepping Lunge

Exercise number two today is a forward stepping lunge. This is really good for working on your unilateral strength and your stability.

Start with your two feet together and step one foot out as far as you can go.  Put your hands on your hips, and keep your knee nice and strong.

You can do this in one single movement or you can break it up into small movements.

You want to try keep your knee pointed outwards as you do it and try minimize the amount of wobble that it does.


Heel Raises and Drops

Exercise number three today are heel raises and drops from a step.

You can use as step at the end of your stairs at home for this or a portable step like I have here.

So you want to go over to it, and you want to hold on for balance as this is a strengthening exercise.

Put the balls of your feet on the edge of the step, lift up and lower them down.

You want to make sure that you’re lifting straight up and not lifting forward.

You’re going to do about eight to 10 reps of this and three sets.

You may not have as nice of a view as I do here, but you will once you get to the slopes.

You can progress on to doing a single leg if you are able to.

This is a really nice exercise as it strengthens your calves into a stretch, so it does both the strengthening and the stretching.


Lateral Step Ups

Exercise number four is going to be a lateral step up.

This is really good for working on your dynamic movement and on your stability going sideways.

So you need to get a small step and put it into some space in your room.

You can start off slow with this exercise. You’re going to bring one step up. The other one up and down on the other side.

You can start off slowly with this exercise to get used to it, and then you can start adding a bit more jump into it, so you can do whatever rhythm you like and you can speed it up.



Our last exercise today, exercise number five, is a Burpee.

This one’s optional. It’s especially for those of you who want to push their fitness before they come out on the slopes.

You’re definitely gonna need more space for this, so you want to move your steps out of the way.

You’ll start off at the end of the mat, two feet together.

You’re going to jump on to the floor, do a bit of a push up, push back up and jump.

So, down, push up and jump up.

You can do this exercise for time or for reps and keep trying to push as far as you can.


Thanks for watching this video today, guys. These are some exercises we think you “knee’d” to do to get your legs strong, to get the most out of your ski holiday.

We recommend you do these exercises three or four times a week to keep you mountain fit for years to come.

As always, please consult your GP before beginning a new exercise routine.

Kene E.

Written by

Kene E.

Originally from Canada, Kene had never been snowboarding before a holiday to Val d'Isere 12 years ago. He's literally lived there ever since.