Health and Fitness for Skiers

Health and Fitness for Skiers




The Key to an awesome day on the slopes!


By Leanne Sklavenitis

Online Health & Motivation Coach


Health Benefits of Skiing/Snowboarding

- You
will work every major muscle group.
- Helps combat chronic diseases – including heart disease.  Regular exercise helps prevent or manage high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and certain types of cancer. 

- It is an excellent cardio workout whilst strengthening your heart and improving circulatory system

- Fresh Air!!

- Helps improve your mood – chemicals in the brain boosted leaving you happier and more relaxed.  Also improves confidence and self esteem and even helps prevent depression.

- Helps manage your weight –The more intense the easier to keep weight under control. 

- Boosts energy levels – regular activity helps you breathe easier.  Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps the whole cardiovascular system including heart, blood vessels & lungs.

- Helps promote better sleep – Boosting your physical activity during the day helps with a good night sleep improving concentration, productivity and mood. 

- It is FUN J - Skiing/snowboarding is fun.



Why Being Fit is Essential!


-       Being fit enhances technique and enjoyment for both skiing and snowboarding and can make the difference between an exhilarating day of efficient, non-stop riding/skiing and a frustrating day of picking yourself up out of the snow.

-       Injury is less of a risk because the efficient skier/snowboarder uses smaller functional movements and muscles to turn instead of large unnecessary ones.

-       When snowboarding or skiing the body must constantly move and adjust to a variety of stimuli including equipment, terrain, snow conditions, obstacles and other skiers.

-       The fitter you are also greatly affects balancing ability.






Strength Training

Having a strength component to prepare your body for skiing is crucial.  This phase should involve exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts and body weight resistance exercises such as pull ups and press ups.  This base strength preparation phase should last between four and six weeks, depending on your fitness levels.



Due to the aerobic and interval nature of the sport, skiers should undergo some aerobic training. This is best conducted in the form of explosive and agility work, completing short bursts of aerobic activity with a rest period. Exercises involving short sprints, agility ladders and vertical cones/poles should be high on the agenda. This will also increase quickness and reaction time.


Core Development

Core training is one of the most important elements of any skiing fitness program. Effective core development ensures you are strong and build strength and mobility into the trunk (abs, lower back and the many smaller, stabilising muscles within) and therefore able to support quick, powerful dynamic movements.  Solid core development is vital for teaching your body to move dynamically in skiing or any sport, and it is a huge factor in preventing injury and staying healthy.   An important one and the most simple is single leg training.  Single leg training reduces available surface area and halves the body’s contact with the ground.  Also, skiing requires rates of force production generated by a single leg.


Appropriate exercises include single leg backwards lean, opposite leg and arm reach and resistance exercises such as single leg shoulder press and single leg squats. Exercising on unstable surfaces should be incorporated into all snow sport training programs.


By becoming stronger and more mobile in your trunk area, you take the strain off of your limbs, and your movements in general become more powerful and more efficient. When trying to tackle moguls or skiing in the trees, this type of strength is crucial!


The stability ball plays a vital role when training skiers. Its versatility coupled with the fact that you can really stimulate the core makes it one the most effective exercise tools for skiers.


The exercises below are just a few to get you started and are great for skiing.


The Skier Crunch

This exercise mimics the absorption motion of skiing on a horizontal plane. It uses the hip flexor muscles in your legs as well as your entire trunk for balance and stabilization.



Start extended with your body straight, toes on the ball, hands straight below your chest. Maintaining perfect abdominal squeeze, roll the ball up under your hips, so you’re balancing on the top of your toes. Hold for two seconds and extend. Maintain that squeeze!   Work up to two sets of 15 with perfect form, and then try it with only one leg.  With advanced athletes, you can vary the pace and also vary the angle of the crunch to mimic the "angulation" motion used in initiating a turn in skiing.

The Back Scratcher

Besides mimicking certain aerial manoeuvres of skiers and snowboarders, the Back Scratcher exercise builds strength into the hamstring and the backside of your body, while continuing to challenge the stabilizer muscles of your trunk. For those who ski a lot, this is a great way to maintain muscle balance between the quads and the hamstrings, and therefore an excellent tool for injury prevention!


Start with heels on the ball, shoulders on the ground (spread arms for balance, if needed).   Use your trunk muscles to straighten your body like a board.   Maintaining pelvic stability, curl your legs while rolling the ball toward you until the toes of your shoes are pressed against it.   Hold for two seconds and straighten.
Work toward two sets of 12 with perfect form, then try it with only one leg on the ball.

When You Arrive At the Slopes - Other Important Tips!
 - Start the Day Right!!!

Warm up and Stretch
before hitting the slopes and when finished.  This can help avoid spraining or tearing a ligament.  Stretching afterwards will help to minimise any pain.  Pay particular attention to the leg muscles.

Breakfast – hearty and an absolute must!
Include some protein including eggs, beans or dairy.  Fibre is also important including whole grains, vegetables and fruits, whole grain cereal or oats with low fat milk.  Stay away from sugary cereals, syrups, pastries and white bread because they are digested quickly and leave you hungry and tired in a few hours.
If you don’t like breakfast split it into two smaller meals.

Water  - It may be cold but you need to hydrate regularly.


Lunch & Snack ideas - Ideas for lunch and snacks throughout the day – grazing is great for metabolism and long lasting energy for the day!

- Small can of tuna or salmon in spring water / - Lightly spread muffins and crumpets
- Salad or vegetables /- Chicken / - Fish / - Dried fruit and unsalted nuts
- Natural yoghurt  /  -  Fruit smoothie / - Vegetable sticks with low fat dips
- Fresh or canned fruit  / handful of nuts / - Vegetable soup  /  - Low fat carrot or banana cake


Sleep Well – Ready for another awesome day!!!


-          Fatigue is just one symptom of too little sleep (7-9 hours is recommended).  Poor sleep can impair cognitive function and mental performance, making you less efficient on the slopes.







For a FREE ski fitness report –


If you would like to receive a FREE monthly Health & Fitness Tips Newsletter check out the website below.




Leanne Sklavenitis


HALT (Healthy Active Lifestyle Training)

Mobile:  0412 446 932

Email:  /  Website:


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