Skiing Exercises For Off Season Conditioning

Ski season has made its final bow, but your skiing exercise program should continue.  In fact, the off-season is the perfect time to tweak your ski workout routines.  The best skiing exercises are those that have a direct transfer of training to your sport.

Skiing Exercises and Transfer of Training

Alpine skiing requires a unique mix of dynamic balance, coordination and agility.  Many skiers enhance these competencies during the season, but lose them once the lifts stop turning.  Given the short ski season, these skills rarely find a permanent home in your muscle memory.

“But I keep my muscles in tip-top shape all year round,” you argue.  That’s great, but there’s one problem.  Your brain prefers to memorize dynamic movement patterns, as opposed to isolated muscle actions.  This theory of motor learning is called the dynamic pattern theory.  Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky refined a parallel theory, he called it the principle of dynamic correspondence.  Based on this philosophy, the best skiing exercises have a similar “movement direction” to the sport.  This refers to the linear or rotational nature of the activity.

“Region of force production” describes where the movement initiates. Skiing movements initiate in the feet and ankles.  “Rate of force production” is the speed of force, and “dynamics of movement” measures intensity.  Consider all these factors when you devise your skiing workout routine.

Bosu Foot and Ankle Work

The dome-shaped Bosu apparatus provides an effective modality for balance and lower leg ski training.Bosu Ball for Ski Conditioning

1. Stand on the upper right side of the dome, with your knees relaxed and your feet parallel and separated to the width of your normal ski stance

2. Shift your weight so that most of it is on the little toe of your right foot and the big toe of your left.  This simulates the movements used in a carved turn to the right.  Then, flatten both feet.  Shift your weight so that your weight balances on the little toe of your left foot and the big toe of the right.  Perform 10 repetitions, then perform the same movement on the upper left side of the Bosu Ball.

Ladder Drills

Comprised of rope or a PVC material, agility ladders measure 15 feet long and have about 10 rungs.  To use the ladder, place it on a flat ground and perform one- and two-legged hopping, skipping and jumping movements.  These drills demand rapid foot movements and weight transference, performed with your torso facing directly ahead.  This transfers directly to alpine skiing.  This video shows how to do several helpful ladder drill exercises.

Lateral Balance

Lateral balance facilitates coordinated weight transference from one ski to the other.  The skier shuffle drill develops high-speed lateral balance.

1. Start with your lead foot inside the first ladder rung and your trail foot outside, but directly the ladder behind the lead foot.

2. Rapidly shuffle and switch your legs’ positions.

3. Maintain the shuffle until you reach the other end of the ladder.

4. Repeat from the opposite end.

Stability Ball Hamstring Bridge

Hamstring weakness impedes technique and increases susceptibility to an ACL tear.  The stability ball hamstring bridge comes to your rescue.

1.  Lie supine.  Bend your knees and place your feet on the ball.  Separate them to pelvic width apart.

2.  Peel each vertebra from the floor until you reach a bridge position.

3.  Remain in the bridge and bend and straighten your legs. Perform 12 reps.

4.  Articulate each vertebrae into the floor and return to the start.

5.  Perform three sets.

These ski workout routines with the Bosu Ball, agility ladder and stability ball will help you maintain your skills during the off season. Perform them three times a week.

How do you condition for off season?  Please share with us if you have tried any of these exercises and if you feel they help keep you in tip top skiing shape.