Laura May WilliamsJust as you might brush up on your language skills before a trip to the continent or trim down for a beach holiday, it makes sense to ensure you are in good shape before your ski holiday. Not only will an effective fitness programme make you feel stronger and safer on the mountain, but it will help offset the potential weight gain from the highly calorific mountain cuisine!

The benefits of following a pre-ski fitness programme speak for themselves.

  • More time on the snow
    The fitter you are the more endurance you will have and the quicker you will recover.

  • Improve your performance
    Being in good condition ensures your fitness is not a limiting factor in making technical gains.

  • Avoid injury
    Improving your balance, reaction times, ability to resist the forces working against you, flexibility and capacity to stave off fatigue, all work together to help you avoid a fall. A weight loading fitness programme, will also make your bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments stronger making you better able to deal with an impact.

  • Fat loss
    Overall fat loss will ensure you fit into your salopettes and make you feel lighter and more agile .


Total ski fitness

There are several variables in defining your pre-ski fitness needs, including your current condition, skiing experience and goals. For anyone wanting to really improve, ski off-piste, tackle the moguls, or simply increase confidence and last all day; then it’s important to work on the following five key elements that combine to make total ski fitness:

1. Balance, co-ordination and agility

 TRY: Single leg forward reach x 10 each leg


(Make it harder: hold a dumbbell in reaching hand /stand on a wobble board)

Work up to 3 sets


2. Cardiovascular

TRY: Pick a cardio exercise (eg cycling, running, rowing machine) and work up to 4 sets of: (30 sec hard efforts followed by 60 secs rest) x 4 – 6. Take 2 – 3 mins rest between each set.

3. Muscular strength and endurance

TRY: Straight leg hip raise x 10 (use a stability ball, box or chair)


Immediately followed by Bent knee hip raise x 10


(Make it harder: do both exercises one legged)

Work up to 3-4 sets

4. Plyometrics

TRY: Alternating jumping forward lunges x 10 (jump high and switch legs in air) immediately followed by Squat jumps x 5


(Make it harder: add a 10sec hold in the squat position)

Work up to 3 – 4 sets

5. Flexibility

TRY: Spinal twist (lie on back, knees bent, arms out in T shape to side, lower knees to one side and look opposite way, try and keep shoulders glued to floor) – hold 20 /30 seconds, repeat x 2 – 3

Note: Only perform these exercises if you are in good health and preferably seek the guidance of a qualified health and fitness expert for advice on correct technique.



This article was originally produces for Ski Solutions. Quote Ski Solutions for an introductory personal training session for £22 (London based) or 25% off online programmes for home or gym by Fit for the Slopes.