The 13 Week Workout You Should Be Doing Now If You’re Hitting The Slopes This Season

Train your abs, legs, and glutes with this at-home routine.

Ski and snowboard season might seem far away, but getting ready to hit the slopes begins before the lifts open & can help you perform your best and avoid injury, from first tracks to après-ski cocktails. Building up the endurance to be on the Sierra slopes for a full day is similar to training for a long-distance race or marathon bike ride. Whether you are training for the deep powder runs at Kirkwood or the wide open acres of skiing at Mammoth, skiers in the Sierra Nevada have every reason to start working now for a season of fantastic runs.

Phot Credit Pixabay

How do I increase my stamina for skiing?

How do you prepare to ski? First, you must strengthen your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and hip muscles as much as possible. Focuses on balancing. Work your core and muscles around your hips that help support injured joints like the knees and shoulders. Think not only strength but stamina. Backcountry skiers especially in the Sierra Nevada will endure leg draining days climbing and carving up the backwoods canyons. Strength will protect you on the run, stamina will make certain you can last till your next trip home.

The muscles in your lower body stabilize and support your knees, so keeping these muscles strong reduces your chances of a knee injury. And a strong core is also crucial because it’s your “center of gravity.” It helps stabilize your body so you can confidently tear up the mountain.

You need to work on these core muscle groups as you prepare for ski season.

  1. Quadriceps: “quadriceps are probably the most used muscle group in skiing. These muscles hold you in position as you ski and provide protection for your knees. Great exercises for the quadriceps include squats and lunges.”
  2. Hamstrings and Glutes: “When skiing downhill, you typically hold your body in a flexed position, leaning forward from the hips. This position requires great strength from your hamstrings and glutes as they help stabilize your body. Work your hamstrings and glutes with deadlifts, one leg deadlifts, step-ups, and hamstring rolls on a Swiss exercise ball.”
  3. Inner and Outer thighs: “Your inner thighs work like crazy to keep your skis together. Your outer thighs keep your body stable and help you steer. Some great exercises are side lunges, inner and outer pushes on the abductor and adductor machines, Swiss exercise ball squeezes for the inner thigh or sliding side lunges using disks.”
  4. Calves: “Because your knees are bent as you ski, your calves (specifically the soleus) help you stay upright, so you don’t fall over (your boots help too). You can work this muscle by doing seated, or standing calve raises.”
  5. Abs and back: The core strength to prevent back injury can not be ignored in the preseason. The stress of bending and flexing on your back requires a strong core. Work these muscles with exercises like bicycle crunches, V-ups, medicine ball twists, pully system wood chops, back extensions, lat pulls, and dumbbell rows.”
  6. Arms: Along with your back, arms help push off with your poles while stabilizing your shoulder joints. Be sure to work your biceps and triceps with the rest of your body.
Photo by Visit Almaty:

Here is a daily workout routine focused on many of these core muscle groups – Repeat these set 3x day or add them to your current weight and cardio programs 3x a week.

  • Dumbbell Deadlifts — 20 seconds –
  • Bodyweight Squats — 20 seconds
  • Skater Hops — 20 seconds
  • Jumping Lunges — 20 seconds
  • Plank — hold for 30 seconds
  • Side Plank — hold for 30 seconds on each side
  • Take a breather, then repeat 3x

Equipment Needed: A set of medium-weight dumbbells. Here’s how to choose the right weight for you.

1. Dumbbell Deadlifts — 20 seconds

This move works your hamstrings, which are the primary stabilizers for your ACLs—they’re the “first line of defense” for many knee injuries, explains Scholl, because they can “pull” your body into a safer position. For more balance work, do single-leg deadlifts if you can keep good form.

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding the dumbbells in front of thighs with palms facing the body.
  • With a slight bend in knees, push hips back and slowly slide weights down legs toward the floor while keeping spine long and abs tight.
  • Push through the heels to return to standing. “Squeezing your buttocks on the way up will help engage your glutes and hamstrings.
  • Continue for 20 seconds (aim for ten reps).

2. Bodyweight Squats — 20 seconds

Squatting with proper form can help train your legs to move correctly when you’re skiing, too. “When knees go too [far past your knees when you’re skiing], your upper leg bone (your femur) puts stress onto your knee joint, and if you’re in this position during impact, you stress your ACL,” explains Scholl. The impact might mean hitting a branch or a full-on tumble—either way, you reduce your injury risk if you’re keeping good form.

  • Start standing with feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Sit your butt back into a squat without letting your knees pass your toes. Make sure your weight is in your heels, and keep your chest up.
  • Continue for 20 seconds.

3. Skater Hops — 20 seconds

“Skiing is a lateral weight-shifting motion, and most of our daily activities and gym exercises fail to work on this side-to-side motion,” says Scholl. Bonus: Squatting deeper and keeping your butt back also adds glute work.

  • Starting at the left of your space, squat slightly, then jump to the right as far as you can, leading with and landing on your right foot. Swing your arms across your body to help you jump further.
  • Land on your right foot and try not to touch your left foot as you bend your knee (almost into a mini squat).
  • Jump back across left to land on your left foot. Try to jump as far and fast as possible while staying balanced.
  • Continue for 20 seconds.
Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery: Lady doing Lunges

4. Jumping Lunges — 20 seconds

Jumping lunges are a fantastic lower body exercise that increases the intensity and difficulty of the basic lunge by adding a jump. The addition of a plyometric jump not only challenges the quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves but also recruits your cardiovascular system.

  • You will start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Jump your left leg forward and your right leg back and land in a lunge position.
  • Jump up and switch your legs midair, so you land in a lunge with your right leg in front.
  • Continue jumping back and forth, pausing as little as possible for 20 seconds.
  • After a few weeks try adding 5 pound dumbbells in each hand. Continue progression as needed to build strength and endurance,
Image by Viktor Ristic from Pixabay

5. Plank — 30 seconds

Since planks work your core, that means they work the whole body, from your pelvic girdle to your shoulder girdle and your legs. The plank strengthens your spine, your rhomboids and trapezius, and your abdominal muscles, which naturally result in a strong posture as they grow in strength. Core strength helps you more easily maneuver your legs and arms to fine-tune your skills; it enables you to recover from off-balance situations.

  • Start with your forearms and knees on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Elbows should be stacked underneath the shoulders, your forearms straight in front of you on the floor.
  • Lift your knees off the ground and push your feet back to bring your body to full extension, so your body creates one long line.
  • Keep your core tight, your hips lifted, and your neck in line with your spine.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
Image by Hannah Wells from Pixabay

6. Side Plank — 30 seconds on each side

Side planks are another way to work on that core strength.

  • Lie on your left side, your right foot stacked over your left foot.
  • Using your left forearm, lift your upper body off the floor, so your body is in one straight line. Your left elbow should be stacked below your left shoulder, your left forearm straight in front of you. Raise your right arm towards the sky. Don’t let your hips drop!
  • Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Take a quick break, then repeat this circuit a total of 3 times.


Here are 8 Core Exercises to focus on or add two your routine in the final four weeks.

    • Start on your stomach with your hands held right by your ears. Focus your gaze on the ground to relax your neck while doing the exercise. Lift yourself so that you feel the lower back work. Activate your glutes throughout the movement.
    • Raising your arms and your hands stretched over the head increases the difficulty level.
    • Lay down on your back with your knees at a 90-degree angle to your feet.
    • Lift hips and back from the floor so that the body forms a straight line from the shoulder to the knee.
    • Tighten your glutes at the top position and avoid lowering your back.
    • Start on the ground with your stomach against the floor, resting on your forearms.
    • With the elbows directly under the shoulders, you lift the torso from the ground so that the body forms a straight line from the upper body to the heels.
    • Bodyweight rests on forearms and toes.
    • Make sure there is a straight line between the shoulder and the elbow.
    • With your body static, lift one leg and hold for 10 seconds; alternate your legs for one minute.
    • With the elbows and hands directly under the shoulders, you lift the torso from the ground so that the body forms a straight line from your upper body to your heels.
    • Bodyweight rests on hands and toes.
    • Tighten your stomach and raise one knee to the same elbow.
    • Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise with the other leg.
    • Lay on your back with your legs at a 90-degree angle and your lower back pressed against the ground.
    • Put your hands right on your ears.
    • Twist your body so that the left arm extends towards your knee on the right side.
    • Feel how the oblique abdominal muscles work through the movement, and remember that the arm and legs do not need to meet.
    • Start by laying on your back.
    • Lift your legs up so that you are at a 90-degree angle on your hip.
    • Lift your feet straight upwards, and your legs and butt will follow.
    • Lower your legs back to the ground in a controlled motion.
    • Repeat.
    • Stand in plank with straight arms and a straight l
    • Lift your left hand and touch your right elbow. Change. Then left hand to right hip. Change.
    • Stabilize your core and torso. It’s just your arms that should move in this exercise. Not the hips. If you fall from one side to another, move your feet wider apart to get a better balance.
    • Stand in plank with straight arms. Keep hands under your shoulders. (Feet together.)
    • Lift right arm and roll over to a side-plank. Make sure you don’t drop the left hip.
    • Come to a plank position and move directly to the other side by lifting your left hand and arm. 

Alternatives to Weight Training for Skiers.

Hiking is an excellent alternative to cross-training for skiers if you do it frequently. This will increase your stamina and have you prepared for skiing. Hiking will target the glutes, hips, core, and hamstrings. You get even more benefits if you decide to hike on uneven terrain.

Swimming – Swimming not only engages your legs, but also recruits your upper body and core, especially your lats — the muscles of your middle back — and triceps. Certain movements like dolphin kicks, flutter kicks, and more can help strengthen your core. And your lungs also really benefit from this sport

Basketball – If you don’t like the gym, basketball is an ideal alternative to cross-training. The game includes a lot of dynamic motion and speed, but also vertical and lateral strength. Basketball is an excellent aerobic activity with repeated short movements. It targets the hips, glutes, and ankles. 

Yoga -Although underrated, yoga and Pilates can do a lot for you. They are ideal for loosening the muscles and preventing injuries. This is the right choice if you are looking for a low-impact exercise that helps with core strengthening. You can strengthen the muscles without the risk of an injury. 

You will be ready to tear up the slopes in no time at all. Make your dream ski season a reality and stay healthy all season long.



Publisher of Sierra Rec Magazine. An avid hiker and explorer of mountain lifestyle and adventure. I love to discover new trails, hike along rivers and hang a hammock along the shores of a mountain lake. I often great people on the trail and have found some of my favorite places from the advice of people I meet in the Wilderness. I love the sierra and just like sharing what I know.

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