Ski season is finally here and now’s the perfect time to begin strengthening your ski muscles. The healthiest muscles are muscles that are both strong and supple. This article
explores the key muscles we use in downhill and cross-country skiing (as well as snowboarding) and yoga poses (as well as other exercises) to strengthen these muscles.
Next article we will explore how to stretch these same “ski muscles.”
The key muscles we utilize while down hill skiing are our “squat” muscles (hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus). We also need strong back muscles to keep our
upper body upright in this continue down hill squat. Because the torso rotates side to side following the knees and skis we need strong obliques (see below about core muscles). Lastly,
the shin muscles (tibialis anterior) are in constant activation in our ski boots due the flexion at the ankle.
1. Chair Pose
2. Locust Pose
*in the gym or at home its also great to do squats, wall-sits and reverse calf raises.
The key muscles we utilize while cross-country skiing are our hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. We also need to strengthen the shoulders (anterior and posterior
deltoids) as well as our latissimus doors (our “lats”) for pulling the poles.
1. Warrior One/High Lunge Pose
2. Bird Dog Pose
*in the gym or at home its also great to do planks, plie squats, boxer shuffles and rows.
The key muscles we utilize while snowboarding are similar to down-hill skiing but with a little turn out in the front foot. This requires engagement of our internal and external hip rotators.
There is also a little bit more rotation in the torso while snowboarding (see below about core muscles).
1. Warrior Two Pose
2. Garland Pose
*in the gym or at home its also great to do squats, plie squats, and wall-sits.
All three skiing activities require a strong core. Strengthen deep core (transverse abdomens) with plank and side planks. Strengthen your ability to rotate side to side by strengthening your obliques (oblique crunches or sit-ups, twisting cycle abs and mountain climbers to opposite knees). And remember your back core with back strengtheners such as Locust and Bird Dog postures mentioned here.
Due to the fact that all three forms of skiing outdoors in nature during the winter and early spring months bring us such incredible amounts of joy – start practicing smiling (strengthen
those smiling muscles!)
Jennilee helped establish the hot yoga studio at Alpin Haus Fitness Center and soon after in 2016 joined as an instructor. Since 2017, she has been the Group Exercise Program Coordinator, leading a group of over 25 instructors. Jennilee was promoted to Alpin Haus Fitness Center Manager in March 2021.