Aussie snow season may have been a dud this year… not due to the usual lack of snow, but well… COVID. And while the current state of the world didn’t quite offer the opportunity to shred the white stuff, it’s not too late to get snow-fit, and for good reason. Training properly for snow sports provides and incredible base of agility, strength and endurance. Plus, it’s a great way to balance winter hot chocolates and comfort food.
Mix these exercises into your workout routine to build your snow specific fitness, or put them together in the one session. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps of each movement as a guide, but adjust according to your fitness level to give yourself a challenging workout.
They’re also mostly iso-approved, so need need for and extensive gym set-up, although they can always help.
1. Jump Squats
Jump squats are going to assist in training your legs up to quickly adapt and recover from rapid changes in terrain such as sudden raises or drop-offs. For the more advanced skiers and boarders, they’ll give you the tools to take control of your take offs and landings during terrain park jumps.
2. Box Jumps
This is a great one for explosive power in the legs, particularly for snow boarders. The Australian ski slopes aren’t always sloped, meaning there are moments when a traverse is a series of bunny hops linked together. Find a box (or bench) and practice jumping up from the floor.
3. Calf Raises
Calf strength is especially important for turning on the snow. Snow boarders in particular rely on changing from “heel edge”, to “toe edge” on their board as they carve their way down a hill. Practicing this specific movement will give your calfs the endurance needed to handle longer runs.
4. Pistol squats
Otherwise knows as a single leg squat, pistol squats are not only great for building strength, but they improve balance and stability. This is a hard movement, so start assisted by holding onto a bar or band to begin with. This is a great one for skiers, who’s legs aren’t attached to the one piece of equipment at even levels.
5. Russian Twists
Targeting the torso, this rotational movement helps build strength in the abdominals, transverse abdominals (obliques), and lower back, which are all used constantly when moving down hill, in the terrain park, and through back country.
6. Tricep Dips
This might seem out of place, but being able to get up off the ground is just as important as staying up, and a fall is bound to happen if you’re trying hard enough. This motion will help build arm endurance and strength, making it easier for you to get back on your feet, and can even be useful when getting off a fast moving chairlift.
Deadlifts are a great movement for engaging important muscle groups, most notable the posterior chain (muscles running down your back and legs). If you do only one exercise on this list, this is the one to do. Work with a coach on perfecting the technique on this lift, as when it’s done properly, it will target all the muscle groups needed on the slopes, and beyond.
8. Agility Cones
This is a great movement to practice in many sports, but great for skiers and snow boarders due to its ability to build endurance and coordination throughout the leg. It’s also a banger for creating stability in the knee joint. This may feel silly to start with (as it is basically exercise twister), but start off with two legs and build to using one leg at a time.
9. Push Ups
This is another movement that may seem out of place in a snow fit workout, but you’ll be thanking us when you have the strength and ability to bounce right back up after a fall (or “adjusting your boots” if that’s what you want to call it).
10. Burpee Box Jumps
The burpee box jump brings it all together, and can be used as a specific training movement that targets most of the large muscle groups you’ll activate on your snow trip. Starting with your fall and get up (the burpee) and including the explosive power movement through your legs (the boxjump). This exercise will induce fatigue when done quickly, but will increase your endurance and resilience on the slopes.