Train Like a Skier for a Lean Physique

8 Key Components of a PEAK Ski Conditioning Program

Ok – as I sat down to write this I began to think…………..”maybe people do not want to train or focus on skiing all year long – like ME!  Gosh people – what are you thinking!?  LOL!”   However, I do know that MOST people want to be healthy, have more energy, enjoy their friends, family and activities.  Yet, occasionally, we struggle with our fitness, lose motivation, get bored doing the same thing and then “fall off the band wagon”.    Learn the key components of a PEAK Ski Conditioning  program to spicing up your workout!

Skiing is sport that requires dynamic balance, so no surprise that balance training is our number one fitness component!  Balance training is often neglected in everyone’s training program and if we don’t use it we lose it!

Balance is the body’s automatic response that enables a person to maintain equilibrium through a series of constantly changing postures.

  • Skier Benefits:  Injury prevention and performance enhancement.  When you are better balanced over your skis you are able to efficiently access all the skiing skills – edging movements, rotary movements and pressure control movements.
  • Health Benefits:  Improved posture which improves muscle balance, leading to more efficient movement; kinesthetic awareness, or the “feeling” of proper body positioning is developed; improved response times and a decrease in unnecessary movements; and fall prevention.

The next three are key fitness components  will help ANY person achieve a fit lifestyle, set them up for success on the mountain and are building blocks for more comprehensive ski specific athletic conditioning.

Cardiorespitory Fitness:  The ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues and the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement.   Aerobic training  requires oxygen; uses large muscle group rhythmic, continuous movement for longer than 90 seconds, raising your heart rate and keeping it elevated for the duration of the workout.  Anaerobic training is movement that lasts less than 90 seconds and does not require oxygen.  Examples are sprints, stairs, plyometrics (power development exercises).

  • Skier Benefits:  Total work capacity improves allowing you more runs down the mountain without running out of gas, easier transition to higher altitudes, prevents acute mountain sickness, increases enjoyment, less fatigue, improved balance.
  • Health Benefits:  fat burning, improved stamina, lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, quicker recovery, more energy, sleep better, stronger heart and lungs, improved eye sight because of better blood and oxygen flow to your eyes.

Strength Training is the ability to exert force and building block for enhancing power – skiing is a powerful sport.

  • Skier Benefits:  Bump runs will produce less fatigue, you can fight compressive forces of high speed GS turns, pole across the flats, stay balance in crud and injury prevention.
  • Health Benefits:  More muscle, less fat,  strong bones and muscles, burn fat all day, daily activities are easier, enhanced self-esteem, prevent/delay osteoporosis, joint stability and increased metabolism.

Flexibility is a joints ability to move through a full and normal range of motion.  It can include static stretching, yoga, Pilates and foam rolling.

  • Skier Benefits:  Minimize injury potential, fall recovery and performance improvement.
  • Health Benefits: Improved circulation, greater range of motion, protect you body from injury, decreased back pain and stress, physical efficiency, increased enjoyment and great supply of blood and nutrients to joint structures.

Anyone incorporating the above four fitness components into a regular exercise routine will develop a strong foundation and have set themselves up for an enjoyable day on the mountain.  Progressing from a strong foundation, now the individual can begin refining the conditioning components that are essential in becoming a proficient skier with better proprioceptive awareness, balance in motion and enhanced coordination.  BONUS, conditioning components are FUN!

Dynamic Balance:  Challenge our balance by adding movements and/or unstable surfaces to increase the difficulty.

  • Skier Benefits:  The body learns to regain balance in similar ways as on the snow, fall recovery and the ability to efficiently access all skill movements in skiing – edging movements, rotary movements and pressure control movements.
  • Health Benefits:  Develop functional strength and balance in motion, increase confidence and decrease the risk of falling.

Muscular Endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated contractions for an extended period of time.

  • Skier Benefits:  Long bump run without fatigue and quicker reaction times.
  • Health Benefits: Ability to sustain higher intensity muscle contraction and teaches the muscle to resist fatigue.

Agility is the ability to stop, start and change direction of the body or body parts rapidly in a coordinated and controlled fashion.  Think of the rhythm and flow of a slalom run.

  • Skier Benefits: Better maneuverability through moguls, steeps and off-piste with ease and little wasted movement.
  • Health Benefits:  Move quickly and efficiently, improved reaction time.

Power:  is the ability to generate muscular force quickly with explosive movements; is the combination of strength and speed.   By training the muscle to contract quickly while overloaded you gain explosiveness and control under tension.

  • Skier Benefits:  provides large amounts of force which is produced rapidly and repeatedly; increased coordination and reduces stress torque and forces on the joints.   A skier needs this specific power for uneven terrain, moguls, jumps, landings and steeps.
  • Health Benefits: Move more effortlessly, fluidly and powerfully.

As you can see, non-skiers and skiers can benefit from a PEAK Ski Conditioning Plan!  So, WHY NOT train for skiing?  Non-skiers you can achieve “more days in your life and more life in your days’!  Thus, compounding your FUN, adventures and enjoyment of activities!  As for skiers,  you get more VALUE for that lift ticket price!  You can ski more runs, longer days, have fun doing it AND come back with the same amount of energy to do it all over again, the next day!

Ultimately, conditioning with a goal in mind gives purpose to what you are doing.  In this instance our goal is to kick off the upcoming ski season in our best physical condition EVER.  Plan your training and work your plan to achieve your goals.  Set a date to accomplish your goal – skiers our date to accomplish this goal is Thanksgiving.  Allow yourself a chance to get progressively better, daily, by making sure each workout fits into the overall plan with specific long, medium, and short term goals.  Cycling balance training, fitness and conditioning components throughout a year-long PEAK Ski Conditioning program provides variety to your exercise, prevents boredom and continues to challenge your body for improvement.  The beauty of focusing goals on improving our fitness level for skiing is our other goals to become healthier, leaner, less fat, reduced stress and improved body image – all improve, too.  Remember:  “To see change, you must change!”  Try something NEW, like ski conditioning, for your fitness routine.  Get Out.  Get Fit.  Have FUN!

If you  have any questions or would like more details on a personalized fitness or ski conditioning program contact Jennifer Lockwood.  Receive weekly fitness, nutrition, health and ski related blogs by entering your information to the right.   June Ski Conditioning classes begin June 3rd in the Portland Metro area:

Ski Conditioning

Jennifer is the owner of PEAK fitness NW, 20 year Certified Personal Trainer, 7 year PSIA Level III Alpine Instructor at Mt. Hood Meadows and 20 year Ski Conditioning program developer.  She can be reached at or 503-913-8385.

2,162 thoughts on “Train Like a Skier for a Lean Physique”

  1. LeonardHam