7 of the Best Pre-Ski Holiday Exercises

Winter sports require excellent balance and control, and to achieve this we need strength, flexibility, power and endurance from our head to our toes.

Quick reactions are essential and we need to be strong and robust to cope with the tumbles, which inevitably happen to most of us, on an average ski holiday.

Unfortunately, the majority of us turn up physically unprepared. This can increase our risk of injury and also dampen our holiday enjoyment when struggling with the inevitable muscle soreness after only a few days on the slopes.

So, whether you ski, snowboard, or cross country ski, if time is invested in fitness prior to your holiday, you’ll perform better and feel happier on your holiday. Here are our top 7 exercises…

1. Cycling

Road cycling as pre ski holiday exercises

This can be on a static bike or a pedal bike. Cycling is an excellent way to improve both your cardiovascular fitness and to strengthen your legs, both of which are essential for winter sports preparation.

Try to increase the time and distance as able, aiming to do at least 20 minutes three times per week. If you are already a member of a gym you may wish to also use the X trainer, stepper or the rowing machine.

2. Supported Wall Squats

An athletic woman performing supported wall squats on a concrete wall

Standing with your back against a wall in a natural alignment and your feet shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet forwards about 20 cm and slide down the wall to bring your feet directly under your knees, as though you are sitting in a chair. Hold this position for 5 seconds then slide back up the wall. Repeat 10-30 times.

3. The Plank

Lying face down on the floor, bring yourself up onto your elbows and toes, trying to keep the rest of your body completely straight. Don’t let your back arch, especially as you start to feel yourself fatigue.  Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and repeat 4-5 times. Gradually build up the time and number of repetitions but remember to not arch or over bend your back.

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4. Stairs/ Step ups

A woman's feet and ankles in grey and orange trainers doing step ups as part of her pre ski holiday exercises

Try to repeat stepping up and down on a single step 20-30 times. Then swap the leading leg over. This exercise can be made harder by adding weights in your hands or stepping up to a higher step or box.  Always make sure the step or box is secure.
Also, where possible try to always use the stairs and not the lift and to walk and not stand on the escalators.

5. Lunges

An athletic woman performing a lunge exercise on astroturf

Stand with your hands on your hips, step your right foot forwards and slowly bring the left knee as close to the ground as you can, then come back into standing, complete 10 times, then swap to step forwards with the left leg. Try to keep your back straight and don’t lean forwards or over to one side, also avoiding your knee going too far over your toes.

6. Arm (Tricep) dips

An athletic man doing tricep dips on a park bench

Sitting on a chair, slide your bottom to the front of the chair with your hands either side.  Slowly lower yourself off the front of the chair, so your elbows bend to 90 degrees. Then push down through your arms straightening your elbows.  Repeat 20-30 times. Try not to use your legs or hips too much and focus the work on the back of the arms.
This exercise is essential for the beginners, who tend to spend a fair bit of time getting up from the snow!

7. Box jump

A man and woman doing box jumps as part of their pre ski holiday exercises

Find a sturdy box or a gym step, stand astride it and jump up onto the box and then down 10 times (please make sure whatever you are jumping onto can take your weight and is secure!).

Depending on your current fitness level this may be an exercise to progress onto but can be great for your cardiovascular strength and to help you prepare for the sudden changes in snow conditions.

Repetition is key

If you want to continue your exercise regime whilst on your ski holiday, head over to OVO Network to see a selection of hand-picked properties in the French Alps with facilities such as gyms, hot tubs, saunas and more!

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