There are almost 10 million skiers in the U.S. But we’re to bet that a vast majority of those people don’t ski year-round.
When your favorite sport takes place in a specific season and under specific conditions, it can be hard to stay in shape. But the skiing season is only so long, and you may only have time for a short trip. You don’t want to spend all of your skiing time this year catching up on the progress you’ve lost during the off-season. You need to know how to practice skiing at home.
You can use the offseason to strengthen muscles, stay healthy, and keep your gear in good condition so that when you hit the slopes you’re already doing good skiing.
These skiing tips will help you develop a workout routine that strengthens the right muscles and create a diet that keeps you in excellent shape with enough energy for a full day on the slopes. You’ll also get information on getting over the mental hurdle that you may experience on your first day back.
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How to Practice Skiing at Home: Your New Workout Routine
Your workout should focus on the muscles that are most used during skiing. This is obviously the legs as they’re the ones you frequently use to squat and adjust your weight while skiing. Your core also takes an important role as it helps you maintain balance and even helps you have better reaction times with quick turns and shock absorption.
We may have just mentioned your legs and core, but deadlifts are actually one of the most beneficial exercises overall. While they may have less to do directly with skiing, deadlifts contribute to overall health in an undeniable way.
Deadlifting improves the core (important for skiers), burns excess fat (who wants to be carrying around excess weight while they ski?), and increases cardio abilities. It’s a non cardio exercise that strengthens the heart so that you’ll find you have more endurance for long ski days when the season begins.
Box jumps also improve cardio health while increasing leg strength. This will make your floating, seated position while skiing more reliable and you’ll have the strength and endurance for lots of turns.
Find a surface just a few inches above your feet. Stand about a foot away. Bend your knees and jump onto the surface. Jump back down and repeat the process. You may be surprised how quickly this activity tires you out, but if you keep it up you’ll be able to make more and more jumps.
When you wear ski boots and skis, the way you stand is seriously altered. Weight is repositioned in a way that you’re not used to. While this position is conducive to good skiing, it can be hard to maintain when you’re out of practice.
The best way to strengthen those muscles and get used to those positions is with wall sits. Simply put your back flat against a wall and bend your knees to a right angle. Keep your knees right over your ankles for the best support. Your thighs and glutes will burn after just a few seconds, but the longer you can hold it the more comfortable you’ll be skiing.
Squats and Jump Squats
There are two kinds of squats that will build your leg strength similarly to wall sits. One is a little more static while the other is very energetic. Both are beneficial.
To properly perform a normal squat, keep your legs shoulder-width apart. With your heels on the ground and your knees behind your toes, bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Engage your core and keep your hands on your hips. Rise and repeat.
A jump squat begins the same way. Shift your weight to the balls of your feet and jump upward. Repeat.
Lunges and Jump Lunges
Just like squats, there are different kinds of lunges that prepare you for different kinds of endurance and sudden activity.
Again with your legs shoulder-width apart (we’re sensing a theme here), step one foot forward into a lunge. Your front leg should make a right angle at the knee and the knee of your back leg should be nearly touching the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds and then push off from the back leg and switch sides. Do this in at least twenty reps.
A jump lunge is performed largely the same way but instead of simply pushing off, returning to standing, and switching sides, you jump up from the lunge and switch your legs in the air. Once your position is switched, make sure to return as low as your initial lunge before you jump again. This will help you get the full benefit of the exercise.
You can make your squats and lunges into a whole exercise routine. Once you finish all your sets of each individual exercise, rest for fifteen seconds. Then repeat the whole set again. For a full workout, do the whole set six times.
Build Oblique Muscles With Russian Twists
Your oblique muscles in your sides help you make clean, strong turns on the mountain. Many exercises, including ones for the core, ignore them, but this move targets them specifically to build strength.
To do a Russian twist, sit on the floor with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Grab some kind of weight and hold it a little bit away from your chest. Keep your arms slightly bent throughout the exercise.
Turn your body as far as you can in one direction away from your legs. Touch the weight to the ground. Return the weight to facing forward and then turn in the other direction.
Eventually, if you get really good at this exercise, you can add even more engagement by lifting your feet off the floor but maintaining that right angle in your legs. Remember not to grip with your hip muscles, but instead, use your core strength to keep your legs up.
Lateral Hops With Tuck Hold
This exercise is the one that most closely mimics a quick-paced ski down a mountain. So it’s great to practice skiing. You want to do it as long and quickly as possible so that you’re building the endurance to do a run without breather stops.
Just like skiing down a mountain, it’s about having quick reaction times and the ability to adjust to uneven ground.
With a wide stance, jump side to side or laterally over a low object like a sandbag or foam roller. Jump softly and quickly for about 30 seconds. Rest for fifteen seconds and repeat again. Do it as many times as you can maintain a good form.
Flexibility is so important on a mountain. You might not be doing splits like a ballet dancer, but stretching regularly will still greatly improve your skiing.
You need to be flexible so that you don’t end up sore after a long day of runs. Get into a regular stretching regimen now and do it before and after every ski day to limber up.
Long-term flexibility may also be your savior from season-ending injuries. If you take a nasty fall, your body may get twisted and turned in all kinds of uncomfortable ways. You don’t want a pulled muscle or snapped tendon from your body being forced into a position it isn’t used to. You can prevent this to a degree with regular stretching.
Do flatbacks, butterfly poses, quad stretches, and deep lunges to access all kinds of muscles in the legs.
Your Best Skiing Diet
To be in the best health for ski season, you should also keep good health during the rest of the year. You can do all the workouts in the world, but if your diet doesn’t support your exercise regimen, you won’t be able to keep up the work or stay strong when you start skiing again.
Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet with lots of lean protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, and nutritious fruits and vegetables.
Some great protein options are chicken, fish, nuts, and legumes. High-quality complex carbs include oats, whole grain bread and pasta, and brown rice. Some great fats are avocado, olive oil, and greek yogurt. Dark leafy greens are great sources of iron that can help your immune system in a cold climate.
Keep up this healthy diet year-round, but make sure that you eat enough of it all that you aren’t at a calorie deficit. A healthy amount of fat on your body will help keep you warm, and without enough calories, you won’t be able to safely complete your off-season workout or your in-season skiing.
Practice Your Balance
So much of good skiing is about learning to shift your weight and maintain balance. During the off-season, why not find other activities that focus on that skill in order to practice skiing off season?
Some activities that activate similar muscles and promote balance include rollerskating, skateboarding, surfing, and even dancing. While it may not be exactly the same, training your brain to trust your own balance is a huge part of the battle when becoming a good skier.
You can build strength all you want, but there’s also a mind game present in skiing that you have to get over in order to get good. Take a few more risks with balance in your other activities. See how long you can stand on one foot at random moments in a day. Learn to trust yourself and earn that trust.
Caring for Your Equipment
Your skiing gear relies on you for care and support just as much as your own body does. Instead of waiting in long lines at the ski shop for repairs during the height of the busy season, put effort into maintenance during the warmer months.
Where to Store It
Most people choose a garage, basement, or attic for storing their skis during the off-season. While this may be typical, it isn’t necessarily correct. If you want to keep your ski gear in good condition for many years, you need a better environment for them.
A temperature and moisture-controlled environment is best for skis. So, you should keep them somewhere you frequent so that you can keep an eye on what the climate of the room is like. Good locations include the closet, under your bed, or hung on a wall.
You can bring your skis into a shop for a regular tune-up any time of year, but there are special treatments they can go through in the summer to ensure that they last in storage. They’ll sharpen the edges for you (as they may have become dulled during your last ski trip), grind the base, and apply wax to keep out moisture during the summer.
You may need to get some excess wax removed right before winter, but the ski shop should let you know any other maintenance you should worry about when you go to pick your skis up.
Buying New Gear
There’s no better time to invest in some new ski gear than during the off-season. During this time you’re much more likely to find deals. Take note during the season of what’s ready to be replaced, and then go shopping in the late spring or early summer.
Check for scratched goggles, bent poles, and any warm clothing that’s getting a little worn out. Overly worn clothing loses its insulation and won’t be able to keep you as warm on the lift.
Check your socks too to make sure that they’re in good shape. Wool socks can become victim to moths and other bugs up in the attic, and you don’t want to be skiing in anything that has holes in it.
Ready for the Season
By keeping your body and gear in shape, you’ll be ready to hit the slopes this winter as soon as they open. You can learn how to practice skiing at home by following the advice and exercise instructions in this article. You don’t need snow to stay in good condition.
Looking forward to the skiing season and want to know how long it takes to learn? Check out this guide for starting to ski as a beginner.